To begin with there was more to the plunking of Alex Rodriguez by Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster than meets the eye (or in ARod’s case meets the elbow…) It has essentially opened up a Pandora’s box if you will. Umpire Brian O’Nora, the 34,000+ fans at Fenway Park, and the millions watching on national television saw Dempster making not one, not two, not three, but four attempts at hitting Rodriguez. O’Nora should have issued a a warning to Dempster long before that fourth pitch was even thrown. But surprisingly he chose not to.
Ryan Dempster’s fourth pitch was the one that started the fracas at Fenway Park on Sunday, August 18, 2013 Photo: ESPN.com
What has happened since the 89 MPH fastball met ARod’s left elbow has become more of a travesty than a tragedy. Even though the beleaguered third baseman had been hit 20 times by Red Sox pitchers in his career prior to Monday night, this one will resonate longer than the previous 20 combined.
There is something fundamentally wrong when the miscall by O’Nora leads to punishments handed down that are clearly in favor of the Red Sox veteran pitcher, Ryan Dempster. His five game suspension won’t cost him a start given Boston’s schedule and the rotation of the starters and the fine levied on Girardi was, amazingly, more than that which was assessed to Dempster. Some claim that the Yankees manager came into contact with the umpire durning his tirade. Watch the video below and let us know where and if you see that happen.
It was the most animated we’ve seen the Yankees manager in quite some time and sent a message to the fans and Rodriguez’ teammates that he had Alex’s back, at least for this night. However, and more importantly, there are six more games between these two hated rivals and one would not be surprised to see some sort of retaliation in the cards.
Yankeees manager Joe Girardi gives umpire Brian O’Nora a piece of his mind in a display of temper we have not been quite accustomed to. Photo: Rueters
Question is, if say Hiroki Kuroda decides to plunk David Ortiz in their next game, should warnings be the order of the night again? Should Kuroda get tossed from the game? And if your answer is yes, then how is that an amicable and fair action on the part of that game’s umpiring crew? Did umpire O’Nora set a precedent with his decision to issue only warnings to both sides on Monday night? Did his total ineptitude open the doors for other pitchers to escape unscathed if this sort of thing is repeated between these two rivals or between any two teams for that matter? After all, Ryan Braun will be back at the plate next season… What would happen if John Lackey tossed a beaner Braun’s way?
Sunday night’s game and Dempster’s actions might have helped the Lackeys and the Scherzers and others who have been outspoken about their feelings towards those who cheat by injecting themselves with PEDs, but it could also have served to unite the borderline Arod haters. Admittedly, he IS their best third baseman at the moment and if he continues to do well, will the fans find themselves in his corner for the sake of the team’s ultimate success? ARod, rest assured, is banking on this to happen.
ARod’s fifth inning solo home run off of Ryan Dempster on Sunday, August 18, 2013 was some vindication for the embattled 3rd baseman. Photograph by: Jared Wickerham (Getty Images)
Meantime, the bad call by umpire Brian O’nora notwithstanding, the saga that is ARod continues. The booing, the jeers, and the signs in the stands will be commonplace for the remainder of the season at ballparks nationwide. The circus as well as the reincarnation of the ‘Bronx Zoo’ of the ’70’s will be with all of baseball until this drama has completely unfolded and reached its just conclusion. The Red Sox and the Yankees are not immuned to controversy and it will probably just be a matter of time before shades of what happened at Fenway Park on Sunday night resurface once again. Bank on it!
Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports