09/29/12 8:10 PM ET
Barney rests and reflects on errorless streak's end
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
The Cubs second baseman did not start on Saturday, one day after being charged with an error to end his streak of mistake-free games at 141, which ties a Major League single-season record for second basemen, set in 2007 by Placido Polanco. Barney was three outs away from setting the mark before he was charged with a throwing error in the eighth inning on Friday against the D-backs.
"I had to make that throw," Barney said on Saturday. "The one thing I questioned myself on after it happened was if I had rushed it, and after looking at [the replay], I didn't rush it. I had the chance to make that play, and if the ball is on line, then [the runner is] out."
His approach through the entire streak was to play aggressive and try to make plays.
"You just can't hold the ball because of [trying to get a record]," he said.
Rookie first baseman Anthony Rizzo seemed more upset than Barney about the play, because he wasn't able to pick the throw.
"I think there were a lot of emotions that a lot of these guys have probably never had on the baseball side of things," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "As soon as he made that error, you could hear a pin drop. You couldn't believe it happened, especially that way. Everyone was quiet and reflected on what went on, and obviously the emotions carried on after the game, as well."
Rizzo stood by Barney during his postgame media session. Sveum said that just shows the type of player Rizzo is.
"There's no blame in anything like that," Sveum said. "It's probably one of the most unfortunate things I've ever been a part of in baseball for something like that come to an end. A first baseman expects to pick a ball like that. He'll probably pick 99 percent of them. The ball hopped over his glove, and he thought he had it, and couldn't believe it didn't go in his glove. It's very unfortunate."
Barney's bid for a Major League record fell short, but he does own all National League records for consecutive errorless games at second base, having surpassed Ryne Sandberg's former record 123-game errorless streak, allowing for multiple seasons, that ran from June 21, 1989-May 17, 1990. David Eckstein owned the previous NL single-season mark of 113-consecutive games set with San Diego in 2010.
Barney got a text message from Sandberg after game No. 124 of the streak. He received a few more texts from family and friends on Friday.
"It's crazy to be a part of that with Polanco," Barney said. "We were talking, and maybe something happened that was really special on Polanco's run that he was supposed to keep it. Baseball's a funny game that way.
"I feel blessed and fortunate to be a part of it with him," Barney said. "It's one of those things. Baseball's a funny game that way. What are the odds of it happening on that day? It did. You'll look back on it like it was supposed to happen."
Barney's 141-game errorless streak at second base spanned 1,154 1/3 innings since his only other miscue this year at second base, April 17 in Miami.
His streak featured more total chances per nine innings (5.30) than any other second baseman in baseball. During the 141 games, Barney also had more putouts (293) than anyone else in that span. The White Sox's Gordon Beckham was next closest at 259. Barney's 676 total chances trailed only Arizona's Aaron Hill (687).
Barney, Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro give the Cubs three potential Gold Glove winners. That would be quite the infield.
"They all have the makings to be able to do it, there's no question about it," Sveum said. "They do put in the work. We do have three core players who can play the heck out of the position."
Barney likes the idea of being part of the Cubs' core.
"I want to be on this team for a long time when things turn around, and I think that's what we're all working for," he said. "We'll see. I still feel I have a lot of work to do to be more productive, offensively, and be more valuable to this team. I feel I've made big strides, defensively, and even on the offensive side, I've grown. Hopefully, it just keeps getting better."
His plans for the winter? Travel with the family, work on improving his speed, and golf.
"I'll beat Dale [Sveum] in golf, and then beat him again in golf," Barney said. "That's the plan is to take as much money as I can of his."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.