Why Alex Rodriquez may have been the target of Ryan Dempster’s fastballs are a far deeper discussion for another time, it’s the act, and the events that followed, which intrigue me most. A pitcher with good control throws behind a batter who is the target of scorn from that player’s teammate. No warning from the umpire, Brian O’Nora, on that first pitch… or the next two which flirted with hitting the Yankees slugger, which led to 3-0 count. Instead of wasting any more pitches, Dempster put one right into A-Rod’s ribcage area (a pitch which hit the elbow/elbow pad first, as Rodriguez recoiled to protect himself). With A-Rod writhing in pain and making his way to first base, O’Nora issues a vigorous warning to Dempster on the mound, and both dugouts!
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi appears at home plate as if out of thin air, and is as heated as I’ve ever seen him as a player or manager. He lets Ryan Dempster know exactly how he feels about the cheap-shot (kittens… I didn’t see any kittens on the mound?), and before exited the field after being thrown out, he can be seen saying the words ‘somebody’s gonna get hit’ by one of the cameras covering the game. It took a while, but someone certainly did get hit.
Some thought CC Sabathia, the Yankees starting pitcher, might throw at Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, but his at-bat came and went with no repercussion. As a very interested observer, I couldn’t wait to see how the drama (and stupidity) of baseball justice would play out. The only batters hit during the game were wearing the road greys, as the home fans chanted and jeered the visiting Yankees, and especially Alex Rodriguez with “You’re a cheater”. With their manager gone, and A-Rod getting is own revenge by smacking a home run off Dempster in the sixth, how would the Yankees right a wrong?
I may be way out of line, and it may only be coincidence, but four Yankees batters and one umpire were hit in the game. I have absolutely zero evidence that this was more than a horrible accident, but it was the first thing I thought when I saw it live, so I must be honest with myself and call it how I saw it. The last thing we all saw Girardi say was ‘somebody’s gonna get hit’, so when I saw home plate umpire Brian O’Nora doubled-over in pain after one got away high and inside from Boone Logan… I had to wonder? (CLICK TO SEE UMPIRE HIT BY PITCH)
I had to wonder if catcher Chris Stewart short-armed that one on purpose, or was it just an honest mistake? I hate the practice of players throwing baseballs at each other, but it is the way things are done in baseball. I had to think the unthinkable; could that have been a purpose pitch, to an umpire that didn’t seem to be protecting the Yankees during the game? Protection does go both ways, and Chris Stewart’s seemingly short-armed attempt to catch that fastball from Boone Logan sent ME a message very loudly and very clearly! It may have been coincidence… or it may have been far worse.
-Joseph Haas, HaasStyleInterpretations.com