The next person who tells me (in person, online, in a text…) that what Chase Utley did to Ruben Tejada last night was okay by the rules of MLB so we shouldn’t blame him for what ended up happening is going to make my head explode.
Utley didn’t just come in with a hard slide and knock out the shortstop. He waited until he was practically on second base, ran out of the base path and then decided to slide and wipe out Tejada. (As Ron Darling puts it in the video clip below, “(He) Didn’t even start sliding until he was even with the bag.”)
You can watch it here because this is apparently a video no one wants us to embed.
There’s a questionable slide and Tejada ends up with a broken leg. As if that wasn’t devastating enough, the icing on this cupcake is that eventually the umpires ruled that Tejada didn’t touch the bag, the neighborhood play wasn’t in effect and even though he was originally called out, Utley was safe. After the game the umps said that Utley would have been out had any of the Mets tagged him as he left the field, leading David Wright to say:
“Once obviously the player is called out, you don’t go tag him, especially when you’re lying there with a broken leg.”
The Dodgers ended up taking the lead in this inning and the Mets didn’t come back so they head to Flushing with the NLDS tied at 1-1.
What everyone who is a Dodgers fan or who just wants to annoy Mets fans will tell you is that what Utley did is perfectly legitimate under MLB’s rules. What I (and many other people) will tell you is that is utter bullshit.
It isn’t bullshit that it’s allowed in MLB. OBVIOUSLY it is. It’s bullshit that MLB allows it and that a player like Utley (who has done this before, just not with such horrible results) feels perfectly fine going in that way with the knowledge (regardless of what he says) that someone could get seriously hurt.
“We’re going to have to reevaluate the way we go into second base.”
That was five years ago. No reevaluation. No admission from MLB last night that something needs to be done. Just a young player in the playoffs for the first time in the hospital with what could very well be a career-ending injury. Joe Torre tried to sound concerned but if you read this transcript from last night his concern sounds more for saving Chase Utley’s reputation and defending the umpires than worrying about Tejada or any other infielders getting hurt.
So I’m angry and I have no solutions except to stop allowing players to tackle other players. We hear all the time how bat flips or watching a home run disrespects the game. None of those things will end up with a player being broken. How do you not believe going at someone with no protection and usually no way to avoid you is a legitimately clean play? Maybe it IS finally time that Major League Baseball does some evaluating? I’m not holding my breath.
This is how I was greeted tonight:
“So what do you think about whatshisname in the Herald writing that the Red Sox owe A-Rod an apology?”
I had no idea what he was talking about or who ‘whatshisname’ was. So I was forced to go look. And I found this from Steve Buckley:
Bottom line: Failing to acknowledge A-Rod Friday night wasn’t as bad as the stunt Dempster pulled in 2013. But it was a failure nonetheless, and the Red Sox owe A-Rod an apology.
While I am tempted to use salty language, I will try to refrain. At least for now.
But is Steve Buckley freaking kidding me? Is he trolling us all? Is he now turning into a Dan Shaughnessy click bait machine? I mean WHAT THE GOOD HELL?
Steve Buckley thinks that by not acknowledging that A-Rod is now tied for 4th place (With Willie Mays) on the all-time home run list that they have perpetuated some tragic miscarriage of justice.
Everyone knows what STFU means, yes?
(Also, I’d just like to say that if I ever meet Ryan Dempster he’s getting a hug, a kiss, and as many free beers as I can afford to buy him.)
I watched the game on NESN Friday night while also “watching” online via Twitter. A few reporters on Twitter immediately noted that Fenway Park did not mention the home run and seemed perplexed by this. My first thought about it was “Why antagonize the fans?” Seriously. The home run that A-Rod hit, his 660th, tied him with Mays for 4th place but more importantly in the moment it gave the Yankees the lead in a game they ended up winning. Red Sox fans already felt lousy enough. Why would their own team rub salt in that wound by making the fans cheer for the guy by announcing his milestone?
While I’m ranting about it, I dig Willie Mays as much as the next person but we’re talking about 4th place here. Where is it written that we have to celebrate you for coming in fourth?
But I digress.
Regardless of how petty others might think it is, there is a large contingent of baseball fans, the majority of them probably Red Sox fans, who flat-out do not like A-Rod. We could point to his suspension for steroids for the entire 2014 season. We could talk about his interview with Peter Gammons where he claimed the only time he used was in 2001-2002 while he was in Texas and that he didn’t even know what substance he used. Or we could talk about how he announced to the world that he was opting out of his contract with the Yankees during the 2007 World Series. I could keep listing reasons why Alex Rodriguez is not popular in general, but specifically if there is a fan base renowned for hating him it’s the Red Sox fans. Steve Buckley, along with the rest of the baseball world, knows this quite well.
Some of our reasons are rational and some aren’t. Some are thin and stretch the limits of why we wouldn’t like someone and some of them involve the freaking 2004 ALDS and A-Rod slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s hand and then acting all surprised when the umpires got together and called his ball slapping ass out.
Red Sox fans do not like Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod knows this. Steve Buckley knows this. Most importantly, the Boston Red Sox know this. They didn’t ignore his home run on Friday to show solidarity with the Yankees. I’d like to think they ignored it to show solidarity with the Red Sox fans.
(For the record, Dr. Charles Steinberg claims the intent was to acknowledge it during A-Rod’s next at-bat but he didn’t get one in that game.)
There are many, many people who believe home runs 1-654 (we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for 2015 just for the sake of argument) are irreparably tainted. Good for you if you are not one of those people, but at least understand not only that people feel this way but why. And if you can’t figure out why then you with your head in the sand and your eyes blinded by Yankees pinstripes are part of the problem.
I will be terribly disappointed if the Red Sox do decide to apologize to him.
In my opinion, what the Red Sox did Friday night wasn’t to disrespect Alex Rodriguez it was to show respect to their fans. If A-Rod wanted respect he should have gone about it a completely different way. If anyone owes an apology it’s A-Rod. For pretty much everything he’s ever done. And he should issue it every single day of the rest of his life.
Because, really, screw that guy.
I’m currently working at an accounting firm which means I have very little in the way of a life until April 16th. While I’m watching the Cubs/Cardinals game on ESPN tonight, I will most likely miss 11 if not 12 of the 14 games being played on Monday – including the Red Sox/Phillies game at 3pm.
So I need you all to enjoy the hell out of Opening Day for me. I know you won’t let me down.
More to come this season. For now, please enjoy possibly the best video ever created.
Everyone has probably seen this today but I’m posting it anyway. I want it here because I want to watch it over and over again.
People will most definitely come.
In September of 2003 a friend and I went to a baseball card show solely for the purpose of meeting Kevin Millar and David Ortiz who were there doing signings. At the time they were both new favorites of the fans and not the icons they are now but we knew they were special and wanted to share our affection with them.
It was a fun, if not relatively expensive, day and the memories from it include getting my photo taken with Kevin Millar (at the time my favorite player on the team) and getting to see Millar and Big Papi interacting off the field the way we would become used to seeing them on the field, like two kids just enjoying the heck out of where they were in life.
The friend I attended with was someone I met online (Hi Pam!) and this was our first time meeting in person. We’ve since become close friends but you never know how these things will work out. Would we get on each other’s nerves? Would we find each other weird? The moment I knew we were destined to be great friends was when, after we met the players and just were walking around the event, she stopped to talk with someone who was promoting the idea that Major League Baseball should reinstate Pete Rose. Pam, who is quite the soft, spoken, gentle soul, lit into this man and gave him a lesson in why she didn’t think he belonged there. I knew right then we’d be lifelong friends.
Any baseball fan can tell you what a polarizing subject Pete Rose is when fans start the discussion. I’ve witnessed an argument that turned into a broken friendship over this very subject. I wish that was an exaggeration but it isn’t. The argument became so heated that other unrelated things came out and before anyone knew what was happening we watched the friendship dissolve right in front of us.
I don’t know that I’ve ever met any baseball fan whose stance on Pete Rose was “I don’t care.” (And please feel free to tell me you don’t care!) People seem to either absolutely not want him anywhere near baseball (Cyn raises her hand) or they bring up all of the other horrible people who are currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame (or in a position to be in the Hall of Fame eventually) and compare them to Rose. “Is gambling as bad as being a racist?” (Say hey, Ty Cobb) People bring up the players with domestic violence in their history, or the drug addicts or the players who collect DUIs the way we used to collect Garbage Pail Kids. Compared to their failings, Pete Rose defenders think gambling isn’t close to the worst a player in MLB could do.
Listen, I get it. Generally speaking people can be pretty terrible. Including, if not especially, athletes. So if we’re looking for 30 teams in MLB to fill their rosters with choirboys we will be extremely disappointed. No one, least of all me, is expecting these men to be perfect. I’d just like the bar to be set a little higher than, say, “At least he isn’t a murderer.”
While I am certainly in the camp of fans who are happy that 2015 begins the era of a Bud Selig-less MLB, one of my worries about a new commissioner was how he or she (she, ha-ha…I crack me up) would treat the Pete Rose situation.
Earlier this month, new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Pete Rose has sent him a formal request asking that his lifetime ban be lifted. Manfred has essentially said that he’s going to go over the Dowd Report and Bart Giamatti’s decision and mull all of that over along with giving Pete Rose’s argument consideration. This all sounds perfectly fair in my mind. Go over the evidence presented and make a decision based on a request his office received. So even though I find it completely logical to do it, why does it chap my ass so much?
If I think about it long enough I can figure it out. People are, for the most part, a forgiving group. Tell us your sorry and we’ll forgive you. Even if we never forget, more often than not you’ll get your second chance. So I think part of my concern is that Rob Manfred might be looking at Pete Rose, who’ll be 74 this month, and instead of focusing on what he did and that he agreed to the ban and then spent years denying he did anything wrong, he’ll think about an older man who only wants his accomplishments acknowledged and he’ll give in. And that truly annoys me to no end.
If you take a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame (which every fan should definitely try to do) you’ll find that Pete Rose and his accomplishments are well represented there. Now I understand Rose and his supporters want is that plaque. They want his face cast in bronze with his Reds cap on and a brief bio below in that elite group of his contemporaries and those who paved the way before him. In my opinion, he should have thought of that before he knowingly broke what was at the time pretty much baseball’s most serious rule (and then, after agreeing to the ban, lying about it for years).
I know people aren’t perfect and I really don’t even believe in striving for perfection. As long as you aren’t a jackass, we’re good. But in Pete’s case he knew from the get-go that what he was doing would run him the risk of losing what he loved…baseball. And yet he still did it and then lied about it for years. I have no problem living in a world where Pete Rose isn’t enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. ESPECIALLY because his achievements are there. What he did as a baseball player won’t be forgotten but neither will what he did to get himself booted out of baseball. Fair’s fair.
I was never really a fan of Josh Beckett’s. Young and cocky is definitely not the way to my heart. But that changed on the evening of Saturday, October 25, 2003 when I got a phone call from my sister demanding that I put on Fox to watch the end of Game 6 of the World Series.
Up to that point, I hadn’t watched on second of the World Series or any coverage around it. If you’re a Red Sox fan, you know I’m not exaggerating. 2003 almost made me give up baseball altogether and I knew if I actually watched the Yankees play in another World Series, let alone win it, I might never watch another game.
It was the seventh inning when my sister called and Beckett was cruising. The Yankees starter Andy Pettitte pitched seven innings and closer Mariano Rivera pitched two…but Beckett pitched all nine. By the seventh inning my sister was convinced no one was beating Beckett and she wanted me to watch the Marlins beat the Yankees right there on the field at Yankee Stadium.
I wasn’t as confidant as my sister. While she decided to spite watch the World Series in the hope that the ALCS had worn out the Yankees, I couldn’t bear it. But she finally wore me down and in the 8th inning I put on the game and it was the most glorious patch of baseball I had seen since the final inning of the 2001 World Series. (A joy that also was shared with my sister over the phone…we have a history of enjoying memorable sports moments that way even though we don’t live that far away from each other.) And after that game, Josh Beckett was a hero to me. A flawed hero, certainly, but a hero nonetheless right up there with Luis Gonzalez.
So when the Red Sox traded for him in 2005, I was overjoyed. Hmmm…that could be a little bit of revisionist history. Let’s go look at the archives* and see how I felt:
So I feel compelled to write something about Derek Jeter. Had I written this last week it would have been a rant about how Major League Baseball, all of the networks that air Major League Baseball and almost every Yankees fan I’ve ever encountered both in real life and online wanted me to be devastated that Jeter retired from baseball.
But this past week of playoff baseball has taken the aggravation out of almost this entire season of Jeter love.
The Kansas City Royals have played and won THREE extra-inning games to put themselves one win away from going to the American League Championship Series. The Kansas City Royals have played some of the most exciting baseball I’ve seen not related to the Boston Red Sox in just three games (and 34 innings). And there was nary a mention of Derek Jeter at any of these games save for the occasional viewing of that Gatorade commercial (that Deadspin made even better). Major League Baseball might not want to admit it but so far baseball is not only still living without Captain Intangibles but it’s thriving.
Okay, thriving only to baseball fans who enjoy the hell out of watching exciting baseball regardless of the size of the team’s fanbase – but tell the fans it’s all for them and eventually we’ll start to believe it.
And this was the issue most people had with the narrative that the baseball world was going to end when Jeter tipped his cap for the last time: We knew it wasn’t true.
I will not argue that Derek Jeter wasn’t a better than average player. (I will argue that had he played anywhere other than the New York Yankees he’d be remembered pretty much the exact way Craig Biggio is remembered – which isn’t so terrible, is it?) But he wasn’t bigger than the game just because he played with the same team for his entire career, never got accused of or caught cheating and played well on a consistent level for the majority of his career. Those things make him fortunate, possibly a good guy and a very talented player. They don’t make him the best player to ever take the field. They don’t even make him the last great player MLB will ever see. He was a good/sometimes great player who will most definitely make it into the Hall of Fame. The thing is, if you go to the Hall of Fame you will see an awful lot of good/sometimes great/really freaking amazing players already there.
According to the Baseball Hall of Fame website:
The Hall of Fame is comprised of 306 elected members. Included are 211 former major league players, 28 executives, 35 Negro leaguers, 22 managers and 10 umpires.
So it isn’t as if when Jeter gets the call his plaque will be hanging in there alone. There won’t be some angelic lights shining upon it to single it out from all the others (although I’m sure some folks, probably Jeter himself, would dig that). It’ll be there with all the other players in baseball who have made an impact on the game impressive enough to get elected to its Hall of Fame. Which is wonderful. Jeter’s parents should be very proud. And I’ll be happy for him and not begrudge him his place in baseball’s history one iota.
But he didn’t historically change the game and the the game isn’t worse off for his deciding to leave it. It moves on, like everything does, and so far it’s still wonderful.
So goodbye, Derek Jeter. You weren’t my least favorite Yankees player but I’m still not sorry to see you go.
I’m not going to write about the Red Sox today because, well, I just can’t. Okay, I will just say these two things: 1) It blows my mind that the fans and the media are writing things like “I guess they don’t care about winning” as if that is why every team goes through slumps…because they don’t care and 2) Unlike, seemingly, a lot of fans, I’m disappointed we have an off-day today because I really just want them to keep at it. I suppose, in theory, off days can be good for the team but I don’t feel like that’s the case this time. I’m eager for them to get back at it.
And that’s all I’ll say about the Red Sox this morning because I’m so mad about the New York Mets not being able to wear (and not fighting to wear) the FDNY/NYPD baseball caps for last night’s game that I had dreams about it all night.
Ten years ago, on the night of the Home Run Derby, my niece Madison was born. At the HRD, Luis Gonzalez ended up being the winner and every year on the night of the Derby, I tell Madison about how Gonzalez won on the day she was born and then went on to beat the Yankees in the World Series. Last night, when I began talking about Luis Gonzalez again, she pointed out that we had our own Gonzalez in the Derby this year and wondered if, since it was her 10th birthday over the weekend, if he would win. We rooted for our Big Papi and for Adrian Gonzalez but oddly enough seeing Robinson Cano win didn’t upset either one of us.
I’m not a fan of Cano’s. I occasionally call him Baby Jeter and when I do I don’t mean it as a compliment. But I admitted to a few folks recently that I think my dislike of him comes more from a point of spite because of the way the fans and the media talk about him than it does a legitimate reason (short of “He’s a Yankee”). In any event, watching him winning, with all of his teammates (his Home Run Derby teammates, not his Yankees teammates) cheering him on and his DAD pitching to him, well, that didn’t really bother me. For the first time in a few, I enjoyed watching the Home Run Derby and saw it as the entertainment it is meant to be. (God knows I could live without Chris Berman yelling “Back! Back! Back!”, but all in all it wasn’t the worst way to spend the evening.)
It feels like half of MLB is at this year’s All Star Game, doesn’t it? Felix Hernandez was chosen, but because of the rule stating any starters who pitch on the Sunday before the ASG can’t be IN the ASG, he was replaced by Jon Lester. Jon Lester who is on the disabled list and can’t pitch (and they knew this when they chose him as Hernandez’ replacement). Lester has been replaced by Toronto Blue Jay Ricky Romero who, you know, can actually pitch. Hernandez, Lester and Romero are all at the All Star Game this week.
David Brown over at Big League Stew covers this in more detail, revealing the idiotic rule of not letting Sunday’s pitcher in the game as well as how stupid it is to purposely choose a player that the league knows won’t be able to play. I had no idea that CC Sabathia replaced James Shields in the ASG…Sabathia who pitched against Shields on Sunday and Shields pitching on Sunday being the only reason he wasn’t going to be in the game Tuesday night. How does Bud Selig not see how utterly ridiculous that is? (Yes, I will always be bitter about the freaking All Star Game “counting”. If Bud wants to “fix” things with it, there are many other places they could work on. Like the way the teams are chosen. I know I’m beating a dead horse AND banging my head against a wall, but still…)
Added to that (again thanks to Brown and the link here) we have one out of every nine players in MLB being called an All Star even if they aren’t playing…and collecting their bonus money for making the All Star Team. Derek Jeter, who bowed out of the game after being chosen by fans who really shouldn’t have chosen him, will make an additional $500,000 this year for being on the team, even though he isn’t. I mean, it’s like Selig is now going out of his way to do things to make the fans hate MLB.
That isn’t to say I don’t think CC Sabathia didn’t deserve to be chosen for the team. You could argue he did. But he wasn’t. I’m going to guess the rule is however they were voted in (and didn’t make it) is how they go down the line of who replaces ineligible players or players who bail on the game. Shouldn’t there be a rule in place that says you skip over the players who aren’t eligible if they are next in line? This isn’t pre-school…everyone doesn’t go home with a trophy...everyone should not be chosen for the All Star Game.
I can’t remember the last time I actually looked forward to an All Star Game (1999, I suppose. MAYBE 2005 and 2008 because Tito was the manager?) and there has been nothing to make me really look forward to this one. That isn’t to say I’m not happy for our guys on the team, especially Jacoby Ellsbury, but I just want real baseball back and the All Star Break is usually one long bore. At least I can thank the Home Run Derby for being entertaining this year.
Back in the days when I was employed and could liberally spend my money, I’d buy just about anything baseball-related that caught my eye. At one time I owned (what I considered) a beautiful, black Chicago White Sox alternate jersey because it was a baseball jersey, a team I didn’t hate, and I just loved the way it looked. I also owned a purple and black Colorado Rockies Darryl Kile jersey. It wasn’t so much that I was a huge Kile fan (I liked him well enough, especially given we were the same age) but more that I really liked the jersey and didn’t DISlike Kile.
So nine years ago today, while getting ready to watch Fox’s Saturday baseball, I was shocked and saddened when they announced that Kile had been found dead in his hotel room. My strongest memory is of Joe Girardi, then the catcher for the Cubs, coming out and asking Cubs fans (the Cardinals were playing the Cubs in Chicago that weekend) to, basically, not freak out because the game had been canceled. (I don’t believe they announced to the fans exactly why the game was being canceled, but my memory often fails me.)
The rest of the weekend, the media spent their time speculating that Kile’s death was due to drugs, or alcohol or both. (I remember talk of a joint being found in the hotel room. I have no idea if it was even true but I remember how they tried to make the appearance of marijuana some shocking information. “OOh he was smoking POT. NOW we know why he died!”) As I often do, I immediately began to obsess on Kile. I was watching everything they were showing on him and, again, his age really made it easy for me to connect to him.
The Monday following his death, I was up early watching Good Morning America as it began. Dr. Timothy Johnson was on telling how a weak heart, not drugs, was most likely the cause of Darryl Kile’s death. I can still see the graphic he showed where he was pointing to parts of the heart that were probably weakened in Kile. I remember this because, as I was watching, the house I was living in, my parents house, caught fire. It was a two-family house and my uncle lived downstairs and he ran up the stairs to us screaming “Get out of the house!” right in the middle of Dr. Tim discussing Darryl Kile. Everything else, while still vivid in my mind, went in slow motion. That day was one of the longest of my life and it marked a genuine change in me. It was the beginning of some good and some bad times for me and one of the lesser changes was my immediate affection for the St. Louis Cardinals.
After a couple of weeks sleeping on a cot in the basement of an uncle’s house, I ended up living with my godmother and uncle in their extra room. A room built on to the back of their house that they used as an extra room that had a futon in it for me to sleep on while I tried to figure out what move to make next. I lost just about everything, but at least I had a roof over my head, a place to sleep and a television with cable in my room. I watched a lot of baseball that summer, and paid attention to the Cardinals almost as closely as I did to the Red Sox. That was the summer I found the Red Sox Fan Forum over at redsox.com and the year I started making “Red Sox friends”. A lot of good and bad came from that summer.
When the Cardinals made the NLDS I watched every game. The Red Sox were out of it and I already was spending time hating on the Yankees so I needed something to feel GOOD about. When they lost the NLCS in five games to, of all teams, Barry Bonds’ San Francisco Giants, I was inconsolable. I was convinced that the Cardinals were going all the way for Darryl that year, but it wasn’t to be. (I moved out of that room in May of 2004. During my time there, baseball wasn’t very good to me. I was in a very unstable emotional state for my time there and that coupled with things like the Cardinals losing and the 2003 ALCS give me too many memories of crying in that room over something that happened in baseball. Thank you baseball gods for 2004.)
So it might be silly, but because of the timing of Darryl Kile’s death and something traumatic of my own that I can connect it to, I have a very special spot in my heart for him.
It’s been nine years since Darryl Kile died. I still have my Curt Schilling High Heat PC baseball game from 2001, I haven’t played it in years (and it probably can’t even play on the newer pcs) but Darryl Kile is one of the choices of player and I refused to give it up. (It was saved in the fire because it was in my laptop the morning of the fire. Amazingly, my laptop was blown out of my bedroom by the fire but the only thing that needed replacing was the power cord.) I am emotionally irrational about Darryl Kile and realize this. So today is really a sad day for me.
I don’t usually write about Darryl Kile because, honestly, it bums me out and I try to not bum myself out on my own blog, but the rain, the long-ass game, and my own melancholy these days made me feel like getting some things down. I hope Darryl’s resting in peace.