Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bean Balls and Blogs

I love hard-nosed play. I respect the brush back pitch. I am a Yankee fan. Everything that unfolded in Sunday’s game leading to ejections and the benches clearing was the Yankees fault, and it was wrong. There is a fine line between hard-nosed plays and dirty plays, brush back pitches and purpose pitches. Phelps and Proctor crossed that line. They jumped right over it, totally disregarded it.

Phelps was out of line knocking the catcher out on that play. Collisions at the plate are part of the game, and the Yankees unfortunately seem to avoid them when they are necessary, this was not. Phelps clearly deserved to get thrown at. He took his medicine and went to first base. End of story.

Then Scott Proctor, he of the many blown games this year, and the home run balls to David Ortiz last year, and the lack of desire to throw inside at any of the Red Sox hitters who take longer to tour the bases after home runs than paraplegics would, decides to throw behind someone and take on all comers. I was a big Proctor proponent, thought he had the stuff to be the eighth inning pitcher, and that warrior mentality that we love. My respect went down the drain with that pitch, and the subsequent antics.

MLB suspended Proctor for four-games, and Torre the obligatory one. He deserves more than four, and has no grounds on which to appeal since he is the sole propriater of the benches clearing. Instead of acting tough with a five run lead against Seattle, how about acting when it matters against Boston. Get some outs when they matter, or throw up and in to David Ortiz, who seems to be hugging the plate.

To boot, he hurt a team desperately in need of relievers, and of course the one game he cost Torre happens to have the most controversial call of the season, which fill-in manager Don Mattingly forgot to come out and argue before watching the bullpen implode. Just to clarify, I know Torre managing does not change the call or the pitchers he used, but it helps to have the manager there. Hopefully Joe gives Proctor a stern, fatherly lecture, or maybe he needs it in simpler terms, the way Frank Robinson delivers messages

Curt Schilling has a reputation. His ability as a pitcher is indisputable. So is his inability to keep his mouth shut. It seems like every week he has something to say. First its I am retiring, then I want a new contract, which was sour grapes after the Dice-K signing, then the bloody sock controversy, and his verbal exchange with Dan Shaugnessy of the Boston Globe. Not only does he provide commentary on everything under the sun, he does it when nobody is asking, using his blog. He is preparing for a career in something after baseball, I’m just not sure what, since he tries to disparage everyone.

Now it is Barry Bonds and the steroids case. Two years after blowing his chance to speak up in front of Congress, Schilling decides to say the Bonds homerun chase is fruitless because he used steroids. To boot, he throws in that he cheated on his wife and his taxes. What?!? Where does he get off saying any of this. First off, he did not admit to taking steroids and, though all signs point to yes, there is no proof. Next, where does he get off talking about Bonds’ personal life, and why does is it anyone’s business?

Schilling is way off base here, and this time he moved past opinion to the realm of egregious slander. I have no doubt he will run his mouth again and cause a controversy within the month, whether its about the Yanks signing Clemens, the Bonds home run record, or something else. Teams should bear this in mind when he comes looking for that $15 million a year contract this winter.


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