Baseball "fights" make me laugh. Media types who refer to these non-events as "bench-clearing brawls" make me guffaw.
I have been sitting back this weekend shaking my head at all the tough talk coming out of Fenway after the brouhaha that occurred on Friday night. You know what I am talking about. David Price hits David Ortiz on his rump. Price gets warned, but not ejected. Price then hits Mike Carp. Benches clear. The bullpens clear out. Ortiz has to be held back from getting to Price. What he would have done if he were allowed to get there is anyone's guess. All I know is there was a lot of finger pointing. And David Ortiz looked really, really mad.
The talk after the game was even scarier. David Ortiz (as he is putting in his earrings) called Price "a little girl" and-- brace yourself -- pronounced that he has "no respect for him no more." The plot thickens.
Even scarier-- Ortiz warned, "It's on. Next time [Price] better bring the gloves." Cue the Rocky music.
You can come out from under your covers now. I can assure you nothing will happen. The only gloves Price will have to worry about removing will be long evening gown gloves, if he is so inclined. Can you picture it? Price peeling off his long gloves and quickly slapping Ortiz across the face with them.
Of course the events of Friday followed the bench-clearing "brawl" that occurred a week ago in Tampa. I forget-- were there any punches thrown? Don't there have to be punches thrown for an event to be considered a brawl? Anyway. Tempers have been festering since Yunel Escobar dared to take third base with the Rays leading 8-3 in the seventh inning of a game. That breaks some kind of baseball etiquette, apparently. It's one of those unwritten rules hidden in some code in the baseball rule book. Escobar pointed at someone in the Red Sox dugout who was giving him grief about his egregious transgression. Escobar acted all tough until someone (Jonny Gomes) actually showed up in his face. Then it was Escobar's turn to back pedal and find someone to hold him back before he could start pointing his finger and acting all tough again.
That is what baseball fights amount to. It is ridiculous. Don't get me wrong-- I am not disappointed that there wasn't a Nolan Ryan-Robin Ventura beat down. I never want to see punches thrown. Au contraire. I think Major League Baseball should do like the NBA and give out automatic suspensions and fines for players who leave the dugouts. I think the punishment should even be harsher for players who leave the bullpens to make the long trek to the infield. For what? So they can walk all the way back to the bullpens?
The delay Friday night must have added at least fifteen minutes to the game. As it was, the game took almost four hours to complete. You want to know why baseball is dying a slow death? Today's younger generation wants fast and exciting. They want action.
Baseball "brawls" have none of these things. They are slow. Players slowly trod to the infield. There is no action. Very rarely is there anything more than menacing finger pointing and some angry faces.
On a side note-- the delay worked out for me as it allowed me to put a load of laundry in the washing machine without missing any of the game. I was also able to make a sandwich.
Yet baseball players want to make themselves out to be tough guys. He "better bring the gloves" next time? Come on. You get paid millions and millions of dollars to play a non-contact sport. Relax.
Did I think Price hitting Ortiz was intentional? Yes. Price is still pissed that Ortiz hit two homers off him in a game in the playoffs last year. How dare he do that? I must retaliate by hitting him with a baseball. That'll show him. I just don't understand baseball players' mentalities.
Both benches were warned after the Ortiz plunking. John Farrell was ejected. He had a gripe. I don't understand the reasoning behind warning benches after one plunking. The other team is deprived of retaliating. Now they can't plunk a player. That's no fun, right? Fans are deprived of another fifteen minute delay (when am I going to be able to switch my laundry to the drier?) while watching benches and bullpens clear, and more menacing faces and finger pointing. Fans can never have enough scary faces and angry finger pointing.
Shouldn't teams go into every game being warned not to hit batters? I don't know. Is that too common sense?
I get sick of all the false bravado. Play the game. If a guy hits a home run, tip your cap to him. If you don't want a team running up the score, stop them. If you don't want to see a hitter admire his moon shot off you, try harder next time to make him swing and miss. Don't be throwing a rock at a guy's body at 95 mph. If you did that out on the streets, you'd be put behind bars. Why is it OK to do on a baseball field?
Do you know why players or teams start fights? Because they know they can't win and that frustrates them. Why did the Red Sox feud with Escobar last week? Because they were in the midst of a ten-game losing streak and they were losing 8-3 in that game. Why did David Price hit David Ortiz? Because Ortiz hit two home runs off Price and Price was upset he couldn't get him out.
Bottom line is that the Escobar incident fired up the team. The Red Sox have won six in a row since. Did that incident galvanize and unify the team? Maybe. Did it light a fire under a team that was sleepwalking through the first two months of the season? Maybe.
As far as baseball fights go, here's what I say: Play the damn game... and have it be over in under three hours so I can finish my daily chores.