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.
Last night’s game was just another reminder of how as much as I love baseball, sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me.
For the second time this season against the Red Sox, Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was found to have a foreign substance on his person, presumably to help him pitch. (It was not the second time this season he was caught by cameras with the pine tar. His outing in Toronto was also enhanced by the sticky substance.)
After the first time against the Sox I felt pretty ‘meh’ about it. None of the players complained, good for him he got away with something. But last night irritated me on a few different levels. So let’s give thanks to Pineda for causing my first rant of the 2014 season.
Before the game John Farrell responded to a question about pine tar by saying “I’m sure I would expect that, if it’s used, it’s more discreet than the last time.”
Yeah, not so much.
I don’t have any idea if I should be mad that Pineda uses pine tar. Apparently everyone uses it and no one in the game usually cares. What annoys me is how everyone blows it off (including and especially the players) as if it isn’t a big deal when it is, regardless of how well it is hidden, against MLB’s rules. This isn’t stealing signs. This is something specifically against the rules. If you want the rule changed, you’re in a union, go talk to them. But the rule is there and if the only time it’s going to be enforced is when it’s so bloody obvious my legally blind father with a 10 year-old NON HD television can see it then I think that’s pretty ridiculous.
I’m also annoyed by the way the entire Yankees team was only too happy to throw Pineda under the bus the moment the game was over and the questions came out. Sure, he’s an adult, makes his own decisions, blah, blah, blah. And it was pointed out to me last night that dugouts between innings aren’t exactly libraries so it’s possible his manager, the coaches, his teammates and everyone else in there didn’t notice the giant, messy blob on his neck before he took the field in the second inning. But he’s done this at least two other times this season already. The media was all over it yesterday before the game. I absolutely do not believe that no one in the Yankees organization thought to maybe talk to this kid before the game and say “Gee, the spotlight is going to be on you, maybe cut the shit for one night, huh?” And if they did and he ignored them you would think that the reaction from, oh let’s say Joe Girardi would have been a lot more angry than it was. Girardi responded like it was no big deal (although in fairness Brian Cashman seemed a bit more miffed – probably just that his player was stupid enough to ‘hide’ it on such an obvious place).
The word ‘mistake’ has been bandied about quite a bit regarding this incident. No. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a purposeful decision. A stupid one, mind you I won’t argue with anyone that what Pineda did was ridiculously stupid, but a specific decision and not a mistake nonetheless.
As with most of my rants, I know I’m all over the place here. There’s a part of me that sympathizes with Pineda. He’s 25, English isn’t his first language, and he’s pitching for a team that, at least in theory, offers zero room for mistakes. Who knows what kind of pressure he’s feeling or what kind of support he’s getting? And what kind of mixed messages has he received? I mean,hell, if I can’t figure out why I’m supposed to be mad about pitchers using pine tar (given I keep getting told everyone does it), how is he supposed to know if he’s doing something wrong? He knows it’s “wrong” in the sense that it’s against MLB rules but as long as you conceal it well it seems to not be “wrong” among his fellow players, coaches and managers. So in a sense it’s easy to see why he thought he could get away with it.
The players need to clean up their own mess. It sounds a bit hypocritical to hear John Farrell and John Lackey and others essentially saying the only reason they brought the umpires into it was because of how blatant it was. Suddenly we have to defend the integrity of the game (or our own egos) just because everyone can see it? So if CC is hiding something between his fingers tonight and none of us ever get a look at it, does that make him better than Pineda because he hides his cheating better?* How’s this work? Do players get the rulebook and note the asterisks next to some of rules? “Pay no attention to the red asterisked rules, fellas. Those are just there for show.”
*In case a CC fan happens to read this, I’m not accusing him of cheating. But if everyone else is right, apparently chances are he probably is.
In an ESPN.com article about this debacle, Ian O’Connor amusingly wonders if this will “sink” the Yankees season. But that isn’t the most entertaining thing about the piece. Normally, I avoid the comments but in some instances the schadenfreude is too much to pass up. My favorite comment came from someone named Joseph who wrote (and this is all cut and pasted, typos and/or misspellings aren’t mine):
I’m very disapointed in Cashman at the moment. i think he is letting the yankees get pushed around again. He shouldn’t have come out defiant. He should have denounced Farrell’s ploy for what it was: gamesmenship. He should have promised retalalition. Not say your sorry because Pineda’s only crime it seems was to try and get a grip of the baseball. The rule was designed to prevent people from doctoring the baseball not prevent a pitcher from being able to grip the ball on a cold night because that’s a safety hazard. Let’s be honest here John Farrel doesn’t give a darn about the rule. He just cares about giving his team an edge whether it is in the rules or not. Somebody should ask him if he thinks that Jon Lester should be suspended. Or if he thinks Clay Bucholtz should be suspended? My guess is that he’ll say no even though there is actual video proof that these guys cheated. If you suspend Pineda you have to suspend those other pitchers as well. Otherwise leave the kid alone.
Aside from old Joseph not knowing how to spell Farrell or Buchholz, he misses the point of why Pineda will be suspended and Lester and Buchholz only got spoken about in the media. No one on the opposing team called out Lester or Buchholz during the game (I almost wish they had. I mean I’d be interested to see how the umps reacted to the stuff on Clay’s arm and in Crabby’s glove.) which means there were no reprimands. Which brings me to another thing that makes no sense to me in MLB…why is it on the teams to police themselves? Why didn’t one of the umps approach the mound (or the Yankees dugout) and say “Yo, what up with the neck gunk?” It seems to me that MLB is as accepting of this practice as the players are – as long as the pitchers aren’t obvious enough to get caught.
The mixed message is annoying. If I’m going to be outraged, dammit, tell me why I should be!
I’d rather the media focus on how amazing the Red Sox pitching was last night – especially John Lackey. For schadenfreude, how about Derek Jeter’s absolutely horrendous defense or Mark Teixeira’s Golden Sombrero? All interesting baseball stories. Instead we get to listen to the likes of Karl Ravech say things like “There is no joy in Pinetarville” (he really said that – and then went on to say that John Farrell couldn’t really enjoy beating the Yankees last night because he knows his pitchers “cheat” too). And tonight we’ll be subjected to discussions about the length of Pineda’s suspension (10 games, equalling 2 starts – the iron hammer of Joe Torre seems a little weak) and concerns that the Red Sox opened a can of worms that their pitchers will have to pay for.
I mean hell, I’ve written almost 1500 words about the damn subject and I don’t even really know how I feel about it. I don’t like cheaters and I’m a bit of a good two-shoes when it comes to rules…so in theory I should be mad that Pineda pulled this again. But really I just wonder, if it really is being done by all of them, why more pitchers don’t get caught.
I’ll say this much, the theater of John Farrell coming out of the dugout, the umpire practically strip searching Michael Pineda and Joe Girardi almost dismantling an ESPN dugout camera wouldn’t have been quite as amusing had the Red Sox lost last night’s game. So I thank John Lackey for being outstanding and really wish the rest of it would just go away.
With the Rays and the Yankees winning last night the screws tighten a bit more on the Red Sox this week. Of course, one good week of baseball from the Red Sox and I can stop reading the whiny tweets of the New England sports media. I have to give props to the majority of Red Sox fans I know and/or follow around the Internet: Not a lot of panicking, just a lot of frustration…which is totally understandable. I’m not here to say “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this team” but I also think it’s premature to freak out right now, especially given the schedules for the rest of the season. The Red Sox recovered after their terrible start this year and they have time to recover right now.
Reading the news last night about Manny Ramirez’s arrest on a domestic violence charge was upsetting and disappointing. The sports media will be crowing (and already started last night) today about how they told us and we should have all hated Manny based on their telling us they couldn’t tell us why but we should have hated Manny all along. There’s a fine line between being a generally lousy person and beating up on your wife. I’m not ready to give any of the Manny-haters “credit” for their feelings because they never gave us anything more than “he’s lazy and he’s selfish”. Anyone taking glee out of Manny’s failings, especially this newest one, has issues much deeper than I care to get into.
Once again, Tim Wakefield is on the mound to attempt to gain his 200th win. I love Wake. I want Wake to leave the game on a high note. But right now it’s more important to me that the Red Sox get a win than it is he gets his 200th. I’d like both of those things to happen tonight but I’ll settle for just one.
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.
Labor Day is one of my favorite days of the year. I love the fall and have always looked forward to things like the new school year beginning, the new television season starting and things just, generally, changing from a long summer. My love of autumn doesn’t mesh that well with my love of baseball given September is the beginning of the end of the regular baseball season but even still it’s my favorite time of year.
Children going back to school and television fans getting new shows aren’t the only people who enjoy a fresh start in September. Thanks to the call-ups, there are many players in the minor leagues who get their first taste of the bigs in September. Just this morning, with the final regular season game in Pawtucket being played tonight, Ryan Lavarnway, Nate Spears and Kyle Weiland all got called up and will be in Toronto this afternoon. Ryan and Kyle have been called up before, but this is the first time for Nate. After playing in Portland in 2010 and helping Pawtucket make it to the playoffs this year, Nate will most likely see his first Major League at-bat in Toronto. (Nate isn’t currently on the 40-man roster so a move will have to be made before he gets officially activated.)
I’m always happy for the guys who get called up and given how much I’ve learned about Nate from Kelly O’Connor, who has been following his career much more closely than I (or probably ANYONE) for a few years now, I’m especially happy that he gets his shot this week. But the one thing that always interests me is how the fans of the Minor League teams react to losing players once the playoffs begin. I know plenty of people who follow the SeaDogs the PawSox and even the Spinners who don’t pay that much attention to the Red Sox. They live near the MiLB parks, they go to the MiLB games and aren’t concerned with what the “big” team is doing and they’d rather see their guys in the Minor League uniforms for the playoffs. If your team gets into the playoffs and then suddenly players start being plucked out to join the parent team (only to be sent packing for home once the regular season ends) it has to be frustrating. I imagine it’s frustrating for the players who don’t get called up as well given that they’re being left behind to take on the playoffs without their teammates. The playoffs for the PawSox begin on Wednesday and by all accounts Kyle Weiland was going to start the first game. Now he’ll most likely be sitting in the Red Sox bullpen in Toronto while Matt Fox gets the start for Pawtucket. While getting the big league time is what they are working for, I wonder how they feel about missing out on the playoffs (especially since they won’t be in the playoffs with the Red Sox this year)? I’d imagine for someone like Nate getting the call for the FIRST time, the excitement about actually getting called up outweighs any disappointment there might be in regard to missing the playoffs.
The PawSox play their final regular season game today at 1:05pm (all the women fans in attendance get a rose) and the Red Sox play their first of a four-game series against the Blue Jays at 1:07 this afternoon. In Toronto, Josh Beckett will be on the mound to, hopefully, put an end to the two-game losing streak. The Yankees just finished beating up on the Jays…I’m hoping this doesn’t encourage them to take out their frustrations on the Red Sox. I’d like a bit of carnage coming from the Sox this week.
“I was definitely not trying to hit him,” he [Lackey] said. “I was trying to knock him down for sure. You can see where he stands in the box. You’ve got to knock him off the plate a little. I threw a 3-1 pitch that he hit out. I was definitely not trying to hit him, but I was trying to move him back. You definitely don’t want to put a base-runner on in a two-run ballgame.”
and there’s this:
“I’ve been fined twice for hitting guys this year, and I’ve paid them because they were right,” he [Lackey] said. “But this one, I’m not afraid to tell you if I’m trying to hit somebody. I would’ve told him to his face.”
I totally buy it. While I get that Lackey has a history of letting his emotions come out at inappropriate times on the field and that it must have been frustrating to give up a bomb to the likes of Francisco Cervelli and then watch him celebrate at home plate as if he was Aaron Boone, the game was still close when Cervelli got hit and with the way things were going I have a difficult time believing Lackey purposely put a guy on base just because the guy was a jackass who hit a home run off of him. I’ll say this, though, I won’t be sad if before the series is over we have multiple photos of Jarrod Saltalamacchia holding Cervelli in a headlock.
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.