We all saw what happened in the Yankees/Red Sox game on Sunday Night Baseball last night. First off to preface all of this, fans of teams such as the Baltimore Orioles can’t be happy that Alex Rodriguez is playing. Granted the collective bargaining agreement allows for a suspended player to play during an appeal, but the fact that Rodriguez is able to affect pennant races has to leave lots of people uneasy. Having said that, let’s go back to what happened in the game last night. What should baseball fans think, and on who’s side does justice reside in this case?
I can only really tell you what I think, and that would be that Rodriguez didn’t really do anything wrong – on the field that is. While I don’t feel that he should be playing right now, the fact is that he is playing. Once the game(s) begin, I firmly believe that what’s going on off the field should stay off the field. So that means that ARod’s at-bats shouldn’t be handled any differently than they otherwise normally would be. With that said, guys take purpose pitches all the time. If you’re going to go and do that, it shouldn’t come on a 3-0 count. Ryan Dempster had thrown behind Alex Rodriguez twice, and finally landed the pitch on a 3-0 count. On 3-0 a hitter is almost relaxing a bit in that he’s either planning on taking ball four or taking a strike. So he’s not really prepared to take one someplace on his body. Dempster came across as incredibly bush league by throwing behind him twice, and then finally hitting him on 3-0.
Furthermore, I have to question the home plate umpire (Brian O’Nora) in ejecting Joe Girardi, who came out to petition for an ejection of Dempster. If O’Nora thought enough to warn both benches, that tells me he thought it was intentional. So…shouldn’t Dempster have been ejected? That combined with the fact that Girardi was thrown out of the game for petitioning for Dempster’s ejection comes across as a bit of a loaded point.
Am I accusing O’Nora himself of having it out for ARod, or trying to help the Red Sox? Not at all. I just think he showed poor judgement in that entire situation, and probably failed to look past the tip of his nose to a point. Again, I don’t feel that ARod should be playing right now; it’s not fair to teams such as the Orioles, BoSox, and Rays. However IF major league baseball is going to allow him to play, they also owe it to him and to themselves to keep what goes on off the field outside of the white lines. Granted the Red Sox and Ryan Dempster were the ones who brought this onto the field, however it could have been handled much better by O’Nora. For the record, it’s also worth mentioning that the incident seemed to galvanize the Yankees, who ended up taking two-of-three from Boston. I suppose that I would say that if you’re going going to throw inside to ARod, go ahead and do it. But don’t be so intent on hitting him that you’re going to miss twice and then hit him on a 3-0 count.