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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Words almost fail me here.

Check out this article, in which Dave Anderson of the New York Times suggests it would be a good idea to throw batteries at Pedro Martinez during a potential Game 7 at Yankee Stadium.

This is not the New York Post, which sometimes dwells in this sewers of this sort.

Nor is it from the Daily News or the New York Sun.

No. This is the New York Times.

The New York F***ing Times.

The last thing rowdy fans on either side of this series need is encouragement to engage in hooliganism. Note that Fenway Park cut beer sales almost immediately after the 4th inning hi-jinks at Game 3, that the fans in the stands were well-behaved last night, and the one hit batsman (Todd Walker, who had already homered earlier in the game) led to no controversy.

At the absolute minimum, Anderson should be suspended - if not canned outright, Pulitzer prizes be damned.

(What makes this even stranger : The Times owns a stake in the Red Sox.)

While I'm here....I might as well weigh in on Saturday's various happenings.

1. Pedro should be fined for hitting Karim Garcia. He was either trying to hit Garcia, or at least was reckless in targeting him. That said, the pitch landed well below the head - and it's not even clear Garcia was hit. Garcia got his by gratuitously going out of his way to slide hard into Todd Walker, and that probably should have been the end of it. The taunting of Jorge Posada is a tempest in a teapot - it's not at all clear what Pedro was saying.

2. Manny over-reacted to Clemens' pitch. Some Yankee fans suggest it was an effort to get Clemens thrown out of the game. I wouldn't ascribe any such motives to it - Manny lives on his own planet, and that's well known. The umpires did the right thing, and Manny didn't actually get to charge the mound.

3. Major League Baseball has to do something to stop the bench-clearing brawl phenomenon. Perhaps a system with severe penalties for the third man in a fight, the way the NHL has, could be the answer. In any case, there was no real reason for the benches to clear in this case since there was no fight going on, and the only actual fight that happened was the Don Zimmer dustup.

4. Don Zimmer - where do I begin? If he's such a fragile, defenseless old man, what on earth is he doing charging the mound and then throwing a swing at Pedro? Put yourself in Martinez' shoes here ; nothing he could have done would have reflected well on him. Running away would have made him a coward, and there's no guarantee that he could have avoided being hit if he ducked out of the way. He ended that confrontation as quickly as he could, which much less damage to Zimmer than might have been the case, without throwing a punch. Zimmer went down mostly on his own energy. Everything the aggressor in that attack got he had coming to him. One more thing - the "beloved" Don Zimmer? I'm sure Red Sox (and Cubs) fans would have something to say about that.

5. Red Sox management probably shouldn't have had someone unable to curb his enthusiasm assigned to the Yankee bullpen as a groundskeeper. That said, I'm finding it next to impossible to imagine what Paul Williams could have said or done to deserve a beatdown from Jeff Nelson. Or Karim Garcia, who for some reason joined the fracas and punching and kicking Nelson. (Turns out Garcia injured his hand in the process - serves him right.)

6. Kudos to everyone who kept his cool in the incident, including the umpiring crew, Roger Clemens, Todd Walker, both Grady Little and Joe Torre, and the great majority of fans in the stands. It could have been much worse.

While the whole game doesn't reflect all that well on the Red Sox, the pro-Yankee bias of the announcers and the press down here in Washington is sickening. Some of it sounds as if the Yankees were angels. Perhaps the Boston players couldn't control their emotions, but the Yankees should have found a way to keep their bench coach from becoming involved in the game, and the personnel in their bullpen from assaulting non-participants.


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