Friday, April 15, 2005

Well just another night at friendly Fenway

As you might guess Neil and I have slightly different opinions on what went down tonight at Fenway.

On a baseball level - a nice win for the Sox, marred by a truly awful umpiring performance behind the plate. Jackson tossed, Francona tossed, the Big Unit doing his best Pedro performance questioning the ump from the Mound! He wasn't bad against just one team, but the Sox got the worst of it due to the 4 runs that scored after the missed strike 3 call in the 4th inning (but I am willing to entertain a debate on the what if's of that unbelievable call out on the missed tag on Womack in the first inning). It was also a night when Edgar Renteria showed that he might just be a serviceable SS for the Sox - some nice defense, and some really nice hitting. From the Yankee perspective my only worry at the end of that game would be that RJ got hit hard - again though, I am perfectly willing to accept the awful ump affected his performance significantly.

And then... Sheffield over reacted in my book. We are going to see a lot of comment (possibly on this blog) that says that if you get hit, you have the right to hit back. I really do believe that even if the guy had hit him (and I am waiting to see evidence of anything but the slightest scrape) Sheffield should have put his arms in the air and claimed fan interference - if nothing else he would have saved the Yankees a run. In the last year, we have now had three incidents of fan / player interaction that doesn't involve players signing autographs - in Oakland last year, at Auburn Hills, and tonight, on a clearly lesser level, at Fenway (though as ESPN has just helpfully pointed out, it is the 4th - there was the Milton Bradley bottle incident). I do think that professional sportsmen should be held to a higher standard in these scenarios - their actions have the potential to incite a truly disproportionate response from tens of thousands of people, not the player's fault, but something they need to be aware of at all times.

I guess we will see over the next few days whether baseball believes that it needs to address the issues here, or whether it will be left alone to die a natural death.

And at the end of it all... no more Sox / Yankee games until Memorial day, we are tied at 3-3 in the season series, and the growing impression that we should start making plans for ALCS III.

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