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A New Twist to an Old Rivalry
August 19, 2013 - Al Stephenson
When Sunday night baseball comes on, you don't have a choice in who you get to watch. While the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is considered the best matchup in baseball, I would be watching the Tribe if I had a choice. But it was Sunday night and no choice was offered, so I tuned in.
In the top of the second inning Alex Rodriguez came to bat. When his at bat was over, I was obliged to watch the entire ballgame, and if you know anything about Yankee-Sox games, they take forever. After A-Rod's at bat though, I had to see if anything else would happen. Turned out it didn't. I'm guessing however, that the Yankees will not soon forget about it.
For those of you who opted for other TV fare, let me set the stage. A-Rod led off the top of the second inning. Ryan Dempster's first pitch sailed behind Rodriguez. Was a message being sent? I'm guessing so. Many major leaguers don't feel that A-Rod should be playing considering baseball is trying to suspend him for over 200 games. The fact that the collective bargaining agreement allows a player to continue playing while appealing a suspension doesn't seem to matter. Dempster seems to be one of those players.
Had this been the end of the incident nothing much would have been made of it. Dempster though threw the next two pitches in tight and on the fourth pitch of the at bat, promptly plugged A-Rod in the ribs. Just in case, one would suspect, the message did not get through with the first pitch!
I have several thoughts on the matter, but we'll start with the reaction of the Boston crowd. They roared their approval on the first pitch and were even more overjoyed when A-Rod got plunked. Though I am sure the reaction would have been similar in any other ballpark (maybe not as loud - remember Red Sox Nation hates the Bronx Bombers) it still disturbed me. I am no fan of A-Rod, but I thought this was a bush move by Dempster. The fan reaction was no better.
It brought to mind a local high school basketball game that I attended several years ago. A player on one team was a hot dog by anyone's standards and thus was not well liked by the opposing school. At one point in the game this player came down the court only to be stopped at the top of the key by the opposing team's center. After the ball was passed to the wing, the center (a la Dempster) sent a forearm shiver to the neck of the hot dog, sending him straight to the floor. The center's crowd roared its approval and I was instantly disgusted. As mush as you would want to put the arrogant player in his place, this was not the way to do it and the fans should have been aghast not approving.
Personally I think Ryan Dempster should be punished for his actions. There is no place in baseball for this kind of vigilante justice. You don't have to like Alex Rodriquez to know that this should not have happened.
The view from my seat suggests that this incident is not over. Let's hope someone does not get seriously hurt when the retaliation does come.
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