So, have you heard that the Yankees and Red Sox are playing a series in Boston this week? Just another early April midweek ho-hum three game set right? WRONG! Following Tuesday’s 14-1 Red Sox beat down, Wednesday night’s game featured a different kind of beat down. This one featured hits with bats AND with fists. Yes once again, boys will be boys in Major League Baseball’s version of the Hatfields and McCoys. Let’s take a little trip down memory Lane (where we could use Mills Lane):
May, 20, 1976, Yankee Stadium – I was eight years old at the time and remember it as if it were yesterday. Lou Piniella made the mistake of trying to score from second base on a single to right field. Surely he knew that Dwight Evans had one of the best outfield arms ever, yet he took his chance. As he made his way to the plate, he found Boston backstop Carlton Fisk was waiting for him with the ball. So, his only recourse was to barrel him over. This one escalated into a donnybrook quickly. Bill “Spaceman” Lee got the worst of this melee, injuring his shoulder. Unfortunately, he was never the same pitcher again.
July 24, 2004, Fenway Park – This one could just be called: A-Rod vs. Tek. Alex Rodriguez took offense to his being struck by a Bronson Arroyo offering. Clearly incensed by the plunking, he was jawing with the hurler as he readied to take first base. In between the two was Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. Before anyone knew it, Rodriguez and Tek squared off, beginning with the catcher shoving his mitt in A-Rod’s grill. Of course both benches cleared and a brawl ensued. Keep in mind that later in the 2004 season, Arroyo and Rodriguez would cross paths yet again. It was the bottom of the eighth inning in game six of the ALCS with the Yankees trailing 4-2. Alex hit a chopper back to Bronson, and as he tried to avoid being tagged, he merely ripped Arroyo’s arm off swatting at the ball in his glove. A-Rod was subsequently called out, Boston won the game, and the rest is history.
October 11, 2003, I simply referred to this installment as Zim Zam! The ugly incident occurred one year earlier than the previous one (2003), and will forever be remembered for Pedro Martinez’s pushing Don Zimmer to the ground. It all began when Pedro, who was NEVER afraid of throwing baseballs near people’s heads, did just that to Karim Garcia. The following inning, Roger Clemens threw a pitch that Manny Ramirez was unimpressed with, and all hell broke loose. In the middle of the scrum, Yankees bench coach and former Red Sox manager Zimmer, sought out Martinez. As he lunged at the pitcher, Pedro brushed him aside like a rag doll, and the elder statesman took a tumble. This whole scene was an utter embarrassment, mostly for Martinez.
April 11, 2018, Fenway Park – I will called this one: If you raise your cleat, be prepared to take a seat! The seeds for this brouhaha were planted in the top half of the third inning when Tyler Austin slid into second base trying to break up a double play. While his slide was clean by the league’s letter of the law, he raised his cleat and clearly spiked Sox shortstop Brock Holt on the way by which was cheap. Was it dirty? Let’s just say it is not something major leaguers make a habit of doing, because it just isn’t right.
Fast forward to the top half of the seventh inning, and for Mr. Austin, it was time to pay the fiddler (which is also cheap). Red Sox pitcher, Joe Kelly, drilled him in the side of his back to exact some retribution. Notice I did not say drilled him in the head. Was it dirty? Well, in this situation Kelly did as pitchers have been doing for as long as the game has been played, hit him in the small of his back and sent him to first base. To me, I think both teams overreacted. I don’t think Austin’s slide was dirty, it was how baseball is played. Nor do I think the plunking was dirty, just the nature of how baseball’s business is done and Austin knew it was coming.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.
Feature photo: Boston Herald