Jesus, all hell broke loose yesterday at Fenway, and, quite frankly, I’m still recovering. I slept 14 hours last night since I’ve been having trouble waking up and need to get on a normal schedule. Of course, I slept 14 hours after staying up 30 in order not to sleep through the game. So now that I’m “newly awake,” and I’ve read Jim Caple’s ESPN.com article on the craziness, I think I’ve finally got a good and what was right and what was wrong in the game.
First off, the Fox coverage was just wrong. They missed pitches to stay on commercial too long (Bush league), replayed Pedro pointing at his head over and over in order to incite fans (classless) without discussing Posada’s mimicing motion back (unfair), and didn’t do a good enough job finding out what went on in that bullpen (bad journalism) leaving me with a terrible taste in my mouth and a disappointment that I was a Boston fan.
So in addition to the terrible coverage, which should cost Fox any award for sports coverage they could possibly recieve, there were obviously problems on the field. In the fourth, when Pedro threw at Karim Garcia (and yes, it was intentional), form the looks of it, he wasn’t trying to hit him in the head. Personally, I think that was meant to be thrown behind/above him, but I certainly expected a young right fielder to get out of the way, and certainly not to be awarded first for letting his bat get hit behind his head. Should Garcia have been mad? Yes. Should Pedro have thrown at him? Definitely not. So where does this leave us? The Yankess are pissed because Pedro almost hit their crappy stolen Indian, and he got awarded first. Hell, if I were the Yankees, I’d take it. Pedro showed little class in his action, and while the reaction was pretty normal in baseball, it immediately brought them down to Pedro’s level.
Moving on to the head pointing. Besides the fact that no clip of Posada doing it back was shown until the 9th inning, no one knows what was said. My personal belief is that Pedro said, “Did I hit him in the head? No, his head’s fine. If I had wanted to hit him in the head, I’d have hit him in the head!” Posada, of course, replied with, “Why don’t you try batting and see who gets hit in the head. You know Roger can do it right!” Bad moves on both sides. Maybe Pedro did threaten to hit them in the head, which would explain the Zimmer thing (will get to that later), but words are words, however classless.
What killed me was the Yankees fan sitting behind, who didn’t even know who Karim Garcia was, who claimed Pedro kept saying he was going to hit him in the head. I’m sorry, but even I know better than to open my mouth with a load of BS if it’s not founded on something. This goes beyond the fact she was a Yankees fan in Boulder. I expect slight ignorance because of that. That was just bad. I didn’t say anything to her because it would’ve been rude, which is probably what Pedro and Posada should’ve thought.
So when Roger Clemens threw high and inside on Manny Ramirez, it was not an attempt to hit him. Roger knows better than to get tossed from a game and risk suspension when he could pitch in game 7 and/or the world series. Manny, well I think he was scared. Roger is known for headhunting (see the Subway series and the Piazza incident) and I believe that Manny expected that ball to tail back at him. If you watch the replay, Manny ducked, closed his eyes and braced for impact. He didn’t see the pitch and he definitely overreacted. Personally, I think the story of the fray should’ve been the fact that no one threw a punch. Everyone out there was there trying to stop Roger and Manny from going at it… well, except Don Zimmer. Oh, and the fact that they cut off beer at Fenway after that when there was no fan involved was smart, but bad business in Boston. Personally, I think they should make the playoffs dry in Fenway, but that’s another diatribe.
On to Zimmer. Zimmerman, a new Steven Segal movie. Talk about a dumb idea. No one, and I mean no one, expected Don Zimmer, the 72 year old bench coach and hated former Red Sox manager who was once beaned in the head, leaving him with a metal plate up there, to charge Pedro while he wasn’t doing anything. That was classless. I originally thought Zim was just coming out to make sure Pedro didn’t do anything stupid. Now I know better. Ok, so Zim probably couldn’t have hurt Pedro unless he blind-sided him. And Pedro definitely shouldn’t have grabbed at the head, not that he had much choice. Personally, I think there should be armed guards at either dugout the rest of the series, just to make sure no one leaves when they aren’t supposed to.
So now onto the “fan.” First off, I find out today that he’s a grounds crew guy who teaches special ed. Talk about bad karma for the Yankees. They didn’t know he taught special ed. Obviously, there are two sides to this story, either one possible. I mean, I have my doubts about a groundscrew guy attacking a Yankee pitcher, but if he’s an avid enough fan to be cheering the entire game and riling up the pen, I could easily see a few words passed between him and Jeff Nelson and things breaking out. Espcially with the way the game was going. Of course, I can also easily see and annoyed Nelson being a jackass like he always has been. With Seattle, he supposedly verbally attacked annoying fans with reguarity. Not that any of these name-calling incidents ever escalated into an incident like yesterday’s.
If that had been a fan who had jumped into the pen and attacked Nelson, I wouldn’t have been surprised and would merely say he’s giving Boston a bad name and should be banned from Fenway for life. It wasn’t a fan. It was a member of the grounds crew. Now, I don’t know what happened, but I don’t think sanctions should be taken against either team for that one. Either the grounds crew guy was being annoying, or Nelson was overreacting, or the incident merely escalated. Anyway you look at it, anything Nelson said or did was out of line, even if it was merely asking “him to stop… waving a rally flag in our face.”
Anyway you look at it, it’s not going to be a pretty series. Personally, I love the rivalry. I enjoy rubbing in our victories to my Yankees fan friends. I enjoy arguing over the value players and which team has better ones. I love being able to sit with my Yankees fan friends and have an active banter go back and forth during a game. It’s not about hate (I mean it is), it’s about stepping it up to another level. Fans for both teams live and die with the success of their teams. We’re Esaw and Issac, and the Sox are just trying to find a sheep to slaughter. We’re James and Jim Belushi, and the Sox are just trying to get the Yankees hooked on drugs. We’re Michael and Janet Jackson, and we’re just waiting for the Yankees new nose job to get planted in some kid’s crotch. This is a family rivalry, and the crap we saw yesterday was way out of line on everyone’s part.
If you read that article I linked to at the top, there are some great quotes. I don’t care, at this point, who did what. I want to see Boston fans and Yankees fans rise above this crap and enjoy the rest of this series. If we end up petty and bitter like yesterday, it won’t be fun for anyone.