October 12, 2003

Water under the bridge

Has there ever been a worse time for a rainout in the history of Major League Baseball?

Not only is this Boston versus New York and not only is it the American League Championship Series, the game was supposed to be played about 24 hours after one of the craziest games in baseball history.

Now all of that has to wait another day. I was really excited to see Game Four, but I was even more pumped up about seeing whatever extra-curricular stuff was going to take place. If I was a betting man, I would have put the odds of another "incident" at about 2-1 for yesterday. 24 hours later, with even more time for cooler heads to prevail, I'd say we're looking at at least 4-1.

Personally, I was hoping the Red Sox would send Johnny Pesky onto the field to attack Derek Jeter. But then the Yankees would probably have responded by letting Yogi Berra loose on Manny Ramirez and, before you know it, you've got every elderly former baseball player fighting someone on the infield in Fenway Park.

By the way, in case you didn't notice (and from the looks of my "visitor" totals from the weekend, you didn't), I wrote a very rare and exciting weekend blog entry, discussing the events of Game Three.

I don't blame you all for not reading though. After all, I haven't written anything on the weekend for a very long time, so it's not like you had any reason to think there would be something new for you to read here on Saturday or Sunday. The amount of people who came to this blog combined between Saturday and Sunday was about the same amount that comes here on a typical weekday, which means about half of you probably haven't read my little rant on Don Zimmer and Pedro Martinez yet.

If you're one of those people, make sure to check it out. Don't go now though, finish reading today's entry and I'll post a link to it at the end.

I read quite a few articles about the game and some of the things that were written struck me as either totally false or at the very least utterly ridiculous. Some of the false stuff I read included things like Pedro Martinez hitting Karim Garcia in the head with the pitch, and some of the ridiculous stuff included how Pedro Martinez, in the few seconds he had to react while Don Zimmer charged at him, should have realized it was an old man and either run from Zimmer or simply stood there while he hit him. The thought being, of course, that no 72 year old man could ever cause any pain to a younger man. The next time you see your grandfather, tell him to go across the room, take a running start toward you and then punch you in the face. See how you like that, and then imagine it just happened on national television.

My favorite quote from all of this mess from Game Three came from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had this to say:

"If that happened in New York we would have arrested the perpetrator," Bloomberg said. "Nobody should throw a 70-year-old man to the ground, period."

Did Bloomberg even bother seeing what actually took place? Pedro Martinez did not attack Don Zimmer. Pedro Martinez was standing near Boston's dugout and Zimmer can running at him. If you don't believe me (hey, why don't you believe me?!), check out this video clip, courtesy of someone shooting home video from the first base line.

I also take issue with Bloomberg's use of the cliched "blah blah blah, period" line. This is obviously meant as a way to make your point and then end all discussion. I have been guilty of using this in the past.

In this case, Bloomberg is saying that there is no instance in which "throwing" a 70-year old man to the ground is acceptable. I would agree with that, except I would have one minor exception to the rule, which is that it is okay to do so when that 70-year old man IS ATTACKING YOU!

Lots of people emailed me to say that Pedro should have known better than to think that Don Zimmer could ever possibly hurt him. Not only do I disagree with that (I had my grandpa punch me in the face yesterday and my nose is still bleeding), I also would like someone to explain to me what Don Zimmer was attempting to do in that instance, if it wasn't to hurt Pedro Martinez.

Before I let Bloomberg off the hook, he had one more brilliant statement:

"You just cannot assault people, even if it's on a baseball field"

Again, did he watch the damn game? He is angry at Pedro Martinez for shoving Don Zimmer to the ground, saying that "you just cannot assault people." Yet he has no response to Don Zimmer charging at Pedro and taking a swing at him?

People act like Don Zimmer is some defenseless little teddy bear. He's an old guy, no doubt about it, but he's also a former athlete who happens to be pretty hefty at this point, and he certainly thought that he was capable of inflicting some pain on another human being when he decided to take a run at Pedro.

What happens if Zimmer runs at Pedro, Pedro shoves him to the ground and, in doing so, hurts his hand or his shoulder or something? Is what Don Zimmer did (or tried to do) so innocent and acceptable if Pedro can't pitch any more?

And just to be clear, I am in no way defending Pedro's actions leading up to the incident with Zimmer. I am, however, defending everything he did from the time the benches cleared in the bottom of the fourth inning until the time order was restored.

Okay, enough about the Pedro/Zimmer crap, because I'm sick of hearing about it, I'm sick of writing about it and I'm sure you're sick of hearing me talk about it...

Last night's rainout not only means that everyone has a little more time to calm down before they take the field again, it also means there will be changes to both teams' pitching rotations.

Last night was supposed to feature John Burkett against David Wells. Instead of Burkett going in Game Four, the Red Sox will now turn to Game One starter Tim Wakefield. Who starts Game Five isn't quite clear.

According to ESPN, Grady Little hasn't decided whether he will use John Burkett in Game Five or if he will go to Derek Lowe. I'd be willing to bet it will be Lowe, particularly if Boston loses Game Four. The Sox are also saying that, no matter what happens, Pedro Martinez will not pitch again until Game Seven. That means, either way, Burkett will be starting a game in this series at some point. That makes sense in that keeping Pedro on full-rest is always a good idea, but I wonder if "no matter what happens" will change a little bit if they are heading back to New York down 3-2 in the series.

For the Yankees, Mike Mussina will get the Game Four start. Wells will then go in Game Five, followed by Andy Pettitte in Game Six and Roger Clemens in Game Seven.

I was worried that, with the rainout, the possibility of a Pedro/Clemens Game Seven matchup would be ruined. But that was under the incorrect assumption that there would still be an off-day between Game Five and Game Six, giving Pedro the chance to start Game Six on full-rest. There will be no off-day, which means Pedro/Clemens to decide it all is still a very real possibility, assuming we get that far, of course.

Can you imagine the ratings for that? And will Don Zimmer be forced to sit in the dugout, strapped down and muzzled like Hannibal Lecter?

If you aren't already sick of all this Zimmer/Pedro stuff, check out my entry on it from this weekend...

I was watching a brawl and a baseball game broke out (October 11, 2003)

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