Rockies vs. Cardinals 9/27/09: The Photographer Who Caught the Catch That Probably Wasn't

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In just a moment we're going to hear from Craig Welling, a Denver blogger who snapped a photograph that was the source of much argument and consternation around the Interwebs last week.

First, some background. On Tuesday RFT sports blogger Aaron Schafer dipped into a brewing controversy surrounding the play that ended Sunday's Cardinals-Rockies game.

Fans of both teams no doubt recall the situation: Rockies up 4-3, top of the ninth. One out, Albert Pujols on first, Julio Lugo on third, Ryan Ludwick at bat. Ludwick hits a pop fly to center, Rockies second baseman Clint Barmes makes a back-to-home-plate running, diving, tumbling grab, then springs to his feet in plenty of time to double Pujols off first.

You can watch the play for yourself here and here, and see the box score here. For the Cardinals and their fans, the play marked a disappointing conclusion to a disappointing and deflating three-game set.

Back yet? Good!

As Aaron recounts in his piece, "A Hose Job in the Mountains?" Denver-area blogger/photographer Craig Welling posted photographic evidence suggesting that Barmes' highlight-reel catch may not have been a catch at all.

Here's the revelatory photo Welling published on his blog, Colorado Rockies Photos:

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Craig Welling
You have to peer in closely; if you do you can see, on the grass beneath Barmes' glove, just to the right of where his left knee meets his shadow, a baseball.

Can't make it out? Here's a closer look:
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Craig Welling
Want to see that same crop bigger and fatter and in more detail? Click here.

Adding to the intrigue, a game story in the Denver Post was accompanied by a photo that appears to show a clean catch...


...despite the fact that Denver Post photographer Hyoung Chang also had fired a shot that was far less conclusive -- a fact that was revealed in a subsequent Denver Post blog item that also brought Mr. Welling's photo into the fray:

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The debate quickly spread to St. Louis, with Post-Dispatch Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold linking to the Denver sites in his 10@10 blog column on Tuesday (you'll have to scroll down) and radio sports-talk guys weighing in. 

Not surprisingly, Craig Welling's blog has seen a wee spike in visitors this week.

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