- Red Sox 7-Rays 1:
What’s most irritating about the aftermath of a bench clearing fight is the righteous indignation that follows amongst many of the commentators. It’s as if they recoil with horror as they cover their eyes with their kerchief and shriek: “Oh dear, they’re, they’re….fighting.” I happen to like bench clearing fights and I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this feeling. Of course if they happen too often, they get tiresome, but once in awhile, what’s wrong with teams asserting themselves and standing up to their opponents when they deem it necessary? This feigned disgust regarding such incidents is contrived and designed to ingratiate those that are acting as if they don’t like it to those that truly don’t like it in baseball’s offices (and I have a hunch that that number is quite small as well). If the fights are so outrageous, then why are they always the first thing that’s shown in every recap? Why is it dissected and watched again and again? It’s because people like watching them! No more, no less. In fact, there are times in which it’s necessary for teams to fight even if it’s going to cost them a game or some suspensions.
Yesterday’s Rays-Red Sox brawl stemmed from the back-and-forth between Coco Crisp and Rays manager Joe Maddon after a disputed series of slides and knee blocks. The Rays have been such whipping boys over the years, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that they’ve gotten into separate fights with both the bullies of the AL East in the Yankees and Red Sox. It’s as if the Rays are saying, “you’re not gonna push us around anymore” and are backing up their improved play with team unity on the field. The Red Sox are a team that stands up for their teammates and something like this can help foster some closeness on and off the field—-and they’re fun to watch!
As for the misnomer “bench clearing brawl”, how many punches actually connect during one of these scrums? It’s not like in hockey when it’s one guy against another; there’s so many bodies and so much milling around that no one can get their arms free to throw a punch with enough force that would knock down Woody Allen, let alone a baseball player weighing 200 lbs. Baseball players, in general, tend to think they’re tougher than they are anyway. Rays pitcher James Shields threw a punch that missed; Coco Crisp faded back and threw a jab that connected lightly with Shields; Dioner Navarro landed on Crisp and Jonny Gomes threw some sucker punches at Crisp, with Akinori Iwamura and Carl Crawford throwing a few of their own. There were bodies shoving and grabbing and pushing everywhere. This wasn’t exactly a “fistfight”, but two groups throwing a few punches and holding each other back.
Every team has about five guys that just like to fight and would do it at any time no matter the reason; then there are the guys who think they’re tough because they’ve gotten into a few bar shoving/shouting matches, but don’t realize that there are people out there who are legitimately tough and wouldn’t care if they killed the person they’re fighting with; after that there are the pacifists and team solidarity guys who run out onto the field because they’re “supposed” to run out onto the field and grab a dance partner to look busy and keep out of harm’s way.
For every Billy Martin, Ray Knight, Kevin Mitchell—-guys who were legit fighters—-there are about twenty guys who fancy themselves as fighters, but would get brutal beatings if they ever had a one-on-one with someone who knew what they were doing. In the end, what’s the big deal? It’s like the (legal) adult industries that no one is willing to own up to browsing, yet it’s a billion dollar business; most everyone likes watching bench clearing baseball incidents even if they say they don’t based on some transparent agenda of civilization but the truth is we watch them because they’re fun to watch.
- Padres 2-Mets 1:
A prime example as to why the Mets are hovering around .500 will be understood by
watching this game. Against a team that is a few faint heartbeats from needing a coroner; a pitcher who they couldn’t pick out of a police lineup; and after squandering opportunities to score runs without much effort or even the benefit of a hit, the Mets lost to the Padres on a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning.
It’s getting to the point where the Mets have to find an alternative to Carlos Delgado at first base and I don’t mean Damion Easley; Delgado’s performance since last season has been nothing short of a liability and something has to be done to gain more offense at first base. Unable to count on Moises Alou’s bat and health from one day to the next, they have to find some way to drum up some offense from the power position of first base. Ryan Church is unlikely to continue hitting the way he has over the first two months making it even more urgent for the team to get some offense. If a team like the Reds are willing to deal Adam Dunn, the Mets should explore the possibility, because they can’t win with this lack of power at two key positions and they can’t afford to lose games in which Mike Pelfrey gives up only one run, especially to an unknown pitcher for a bad team.
- Veering off from baseball for a moment to a lunatic named Chris Matthews:
Chris Matthews, host of Hardball on MSNBC, is the epitome of a host whose opinions change with the wind and one who screams and yells loud enough, long enough and over others attempting to speak that eventually his rantings and ravings are seen to have some weight. Now he’s onto Barack Obama’s possible picks for vice president and has (and will) shout the name of former Virginia Governor Mark Warner as the “obvious” choice. It will be repeated, repeated, repeated, screamed, shouted, repeated, repeated, screamed, shouted and bellowed over and over again even if it is WRONG!! Nothing new with Matthews there.
I want to be on the record here that there’s only one choice and that’s Virginia Senator Jim Webb. Webb has the military experience, national security credentials, centrist democratic principles and enough charisma to be an asset while not overshadowing the presidential candidate. (I don’t even think I’m charismatic enough to overshadow Obama, and we all know how charismatic I am.) Hopefully someone will shut Matthews up about this subject because he’s not going to do it himself and it’s an impossibility to get through a sentence of disagreement with him without being shouted down, but it’s here in black and white—-Jim Webb is the guy and from the way Webb’s talking, he wants to do it.