Every now and then I get into this phase where I need to take a step back from writing/podcasting about sports to enjoy it again. It has been a while since I wrote on this blog but it really is for the betterment of the content (at least that is what I tell myself). My apologies for the break, but I am back now and I’ve got beef with a team and a concept. In fact it had me so fired up I spent two days on Twitter ranting about it. After two days and many tweets/calls for outlets to do the responsible thing and call out the hypocrisy only to have it fall on deaf ears I’ve come to a conclusion:
Baseball needs to ditch the unwritten rules and the Red Sox need to get over themselves.
This past weekend the Red Sox and Rays played a series that, in the grand scheme, won’t mean much to their races come September (both teams are in last place in the AL East as of this writing). On Sunday, the Red Sox were headed toward their tenth consecutive loss and staring down futility they haven’t seen since way back in 2012 (sarcasm for those who don’t get it). The Red Sox were down 8-3 in the seventh when Yunel Escobar stole third base; a seemingly innocuous part of the game if, for no other reason, the game was still being played. Someone took issue with this part of the game and began jawing at Escobar while he stood on third.
Let me give those who have no idea why the Red Sox took exception a little background. You see professional baseball players don’t take too kindly to being “shown up” when they feel the game is out of hand (as the game on Sunday appeared to be). In the annals of unwritten rules there is this belief that once a team has scored an amount of runs that seems insurmountable the other team isn’t supposed to continue doing what they are supposed to do to win baseball games (i.e. steal bases, swing hard, score more runs).
So flash back to Sunday and you get incidents like the this.
So what ticked me off? First, I’ve played/watched/studied baseball since the age of six and I can tell you I’m not a fan of a code you can’t see. This thought that I am supposed to take it easy because your guys can’t get it together doesn’t sit well with me. I didn’t care for Boston getting upset at Escobar (a player I don’t respect mind you) because he continued to play the game he gets paid to play. Don’t tell me to “take it easy” in silence; you want a mercy rule? coach little league.
Second, Jonny Gomes, a marginal (being nice here) hitter at best and poor defender in the field coming in to give his two cents about Escobar jawing back and then escalating the situation made zero sense. His explanation left me even more confused.
“I wouldn’t have done it, but I don’t have a problem with him taking the bag,” Gomes said. “He can take the bag all he wants. But yell in my dugout and point in my dugout and take your helmet off and basically challenge our whole dugout, I’ll have a problem with that.” (www.masslive.com)
Yeah, but what about your guys jawing toward the field? John Farrell (Red Sox manager) what do you have to say about this?
“We’re down five in the seventh, so it’s somewhat of a gray area when you shut down the running game,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Yunel is going to do some things that might be a little unpredictable. That’s what precipitated it.”(www.masslive.com)
Shut down the running game? Gray area? So a night later when you overcame a five-run deficit in Atlanta to snap that win streak how do you justify your outrage for the Rays continuing to play hard late in the game?
Do you see my point?
Unwritten rules in baseball have been a thing, and as we know baseball tends to hold on to a lot of really confusing things (replay took too long, smaller stadiums took too long, innovative fan experiences is taking too long), but this has got to stop. It is maddening that grown men, professional baseball players, take it upon themselves to get upset over something like this, when the next night they prove the idiocy of it.
I’m also calling on big media to point this out, but, as my Twitter crusade proved, those cries fell on deaf ears.