Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You’re Doing It Wrong: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox Loyalty


There is no rivalry in sports more storied than the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox—or so ESPN tells me, constantly—and with that type of long-term, history-laden rivalry comes some serious battle lines, right?

Literally hundreds of books have been written on the subject.

More ink (or is it pixels) have been spilled over this rivalry in newspapers and online than any other in all of sports. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that this rivalry alone has kept some sportswriters employed.

The rivalry has its own freakin’ Wikipedia entry and a YouTube search for “Yankees vs Red Sox” yields nearly 10,000 results.

Heck, there’s an entire television network dedicated to preaching the prominence of this rivalry.

We’re talking about the type of rivalry that divides families and tears friendships apart.

People have legitimately been beaten and killed as a result of their respective allegiances in this century-old rivalry.

With that in mind you’ve got to think that there is absolutely no reason for something like this to happen:


As much as I hate to give either the Yankees or Red Sox any more press, I can’t help but ask myself, what the heck is going on here??

Like seriously, how is something like this allowed to happen?

I’ve been in those bleachers at Fenway, I’ve been booed unmercifully by an entire section on more than one occasion for wearing Minnesota Twins gear and—on one fateful day—a vintage Tampa Bay Devil Rays t-shirt.

I’ve been to a Sox/Yankees game and seen fight after fight breakout over nothing more than someone doffing the cap of the visiting team.

So explain to me, how is it that this gal’s transgressions are allowed to pass unscathed, by either party.

I would be content if a band of rogue New York fans rose up in arms to slay her with weapons they’d fashioned from those miniature souvenir baseball bats.

I’d be equally approving if the usual Fenway bleacher creatures were to use her as a ritual sacrifice to Jon Papelbon before the ninth (they do that you know).

What I can’t stand is for this to pass, seemingly without any sort of repercussion. She’s just enjoying a beer and watching the game. What the heck is that?

I had a beer vendor refuse to serve me the day I wore the Devil Rays shirt and this is all peachy?

Let’s hear it folks, what’s your take on the situation?

Is she part of some sort of government test study to determine how long a cute gal can survive in hostile conditions?

Has she had too many of those $8 Budweisers and accidentally grabbed the wrong hat (or shirt) on her way out of the powder room?

Or does she simply work for ESPN?

Hat Tip – [Total Pro Sports]


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J.J. Hardy Injury: Minnesota Twins Shortstop Lands on DL with Wrist Injury


The injuries just keep on coming for the Minnesota Twins.

In March, the club lost All-Star closer Joe Nathan for the year after he underwent Tommy John surgery.

Last week, reigning American League MVP Joe Mauer sat out with a heel injury that threatened to land him on the disabled list.

And just today, the Twins placed shortstop J.J. Hardy on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist contusion. Hardy initially sustained the injury sliding into third base on a triple a week ago.

The move is retroactive to May 4, meaning that Hardy can be rejoin the big league club next Thursday in Boston for the finale of a two-game set against the Red Sox.

Hardy was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers last fall for outfielder Carlos Gomez who—ironically enough—also landed on the disabled list today with a with a left rotator cuff strain.

Prior to the injury Hardy—a notoriously streaky hitter—was off to a less than impressive start at the plate. Through the season’s first 25 games Hardy posted an uninspiring .250/.299/.400 batting line to go with three home runs, eleven RBI, and four doubles.

In essence, the time off could do Hardy some good as it largely believed he’s been pressing at the plate in an effort to prove that his dreadful 2009 was an aberration.

To fill in for the injured Hardy, the club recalled infielder Matt Tolbert from Triple-A Rochester.

Aaron Gleeman of Hardball Talk said it best…

“…the Twins have added to their amazing collection of banjo-hitting utility infielders by calling up Matt Tolbert from Triple-A. Tolbert is anything but deserving after hitting .232 with a .632 OPS and six errors in 27 games at Triple-A, but he's a poor man's Nick Punto and so naturally Ron Gardenhire loves him.”

The move is nothing if not disconcerting.

As Gleeman mentions, the club is already stock-piled with prototypical “small ball” style players in Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, and Alexi Casilla.

The club could have used this opportunity to call up the supposed third baseman of the future, Danny Valencia or bring Luke Hughes back for a second go-around with the big club, but neither is doing anything overly inspiring at Rochester.

Additionally, Valencia and Hughes are both third basemen by trade, although Hughes has spent plenty of time at second base as of late, but neither of those positions appear to be open with the big club.

The Twins appear content to leave Nick Punto at third base—his best defensive position, according to UZR—and Orlando Hudson isn’t going to suit up anywhere but second base.

That leaves current Rochester shortstop Trevor Plouffe as the most logical player to call up in this situation.

Plouffe, 24, is off to a solid start with the Red Wings hitting .278/.344/.452 with two home runs, thirteen RBI, and eight doubles through 29 games.

The Twins, however, appear to be playing favorites and going with one of manager Ron Gardenhire’s favorites, the “scrappy” Matt Tolbert.

Tolbert will likely split time with Alexi Casilla who isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire with his paltry .261/.292/.304 batting line.

To their credit, UZR rates both Casilla and Tolbert are above average defenders at shortstop, albeit in very small sample sizes.

The Casilla/Tolbert combo isn’t an ideal solution for the Twins, especially with the division rival Chicago White Sox in town and a weekend series with the world champion New York Yankees looming on the horizon, but the duo should serve as an adequate defensive stopgap until Hardy returns next week.


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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Philadelphia Phillies Fan Gets Tasered


When the action on the field grows tiresome too many fans decide to create their own entertainment.

That was the case last night in Philadelphia where a 17-year-old Phillies fan hopped the fence and ran onto the field during the eighth inning.

At the time the Phillies were down 6-2 after giving up a five-run inning to the St. Louis Cardinals. This apparently was enough to encourage the young fan—whose name has yet to be released because he is a minor—to make his own entertainment.

The fan jumped the fence and led two officers on a chase around the outfield at Citizens Bank Park in front of a reported 44,817 screaming fans.

The security officers eventually ended the chase when one of the men pulled out a Taser and "subdued" the 17-year-old.

According to both teams, this is the first time a Taser has ever been used to apprehend a trespasser during a game.

Phillies spokeswomen Bonnie Clark said the police department is investigating the matter and discussing with the team whether using the stun gun was appropriate.

Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore told The Philadelphia Inquirer police internal affairs will open an investigation to determine if the firing "was proper use of the equipment."

The 17-year-old will be charged with trespassing and likely suffering years of public humiliation amongst his friends.

After an incident like this, one can’t help but wonder if this is taking things too far.

In the past, officers would make a half-hearted attempt to catch the trespasser and more or less wait until they would run themselves out of energy.

At which point they'd simply escort them off the field and off to spend the evening in jail. Who knew that those were simpler times?

I’m all about keeping people off the field, but the Taser seems just a bit extreme given that this guy was clearly not a threat to anyone on the field.

Let’s hear it in the comments folks, what do you think?

Was the use of a Taser too much or is it a sufficient means of crowd control in this type of situation?
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