As I knew it would come to pass a Red Sox fan read yesterday’s post and has an issue.
Thankfully its the only Sox fan on this whole planet I like.
And no, it isn’t Ben Affleck.
Julia asked how it was exactly that Youkilis even reached Porcello in the first place and used it as an excuse to toot the Varitek-leadership-horn.
First things first.
I too was surprised to see Youkilis, who isn’t fleet of foot, actually get to the mound when he charged. It doesn’t happen all that often.
But I caught some of the replays (of about seemingly millions of them) and if you watch close, Alex Avila, after Youkilis gets plunked, immediatley drops to a knee, turns, and asks for a new baseball.
Making him unavailable to assist in any way.
The corner infielders, the next and final line of defense for a gutless move like rushing the mound, were both playing deep in respect for Youkilis’ ability at the plate.
And I need to stress, if Laird is catching I don’t think Youkilis gets halfway to Porcello.
Which is probably good for ole Youk there, because if anybody saw the look on Edwin Jackson last night, there is no debate that he was ready to kill somebody.
Had he been delayed in the middle of the field for just a second I think Jackson, who is deceptively fast by the way, would have gotten to him before anybody in white could have stopped him.
And Jackson, I think, would have throttled him.
So that explains that.
But now on to this bigger blasphemy that is this so-called notion that Varitek is a tough-guy leader-type.
I am almost certain that the moment that most Bostonians refer to when making such a claim about their beloved ‘Tek, is the time that former Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo either buzzed, or plunked the Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez.
I don’t remember how old Arroyo was at the time, but I know he wasn’t an established veteran or even close to it, but Varitek “protected” his pitcher and started jawing with A-Rod.
And I even remember hearing a broadcast during a game of the week that Varitek is so proud of that moment that he has the image of him and A-Rod starting fisticuffs as his laptop background screen.
(rolls his eyes)
If you look closely you’ll notice while Varitek is being “tough” and “protecting” his pitcher he never once takes off his mask.
In fact, never mind looking closely, Stevie Wonder probably could have noticed it.
Yeah, nothing tougher than picking a fight with a facemask on.
At least in hockey when the goalies get into it, which is, admittedly, not very often, they toss their helmets–as the first act toward the melee.
Lets keep it on.
You wanna show me tough?
Take all the padding you go on off before you brawl. I mean chest protector, shin guards, and face mask?
Ancient Samurais wore less.
He isn’t tough.
At least not by my definition of it.
But if Pedro proved nothing else, they define it a little strangely over there in clamchowderland.
All right, I’ve played baseball for nearly a quarter century and I’ve learned some of the unwritten rules.
When you’re up ten runs in the fifth the running game shuts down.
Rookies carry vets bags to the bus.
You hit the best hitter in my lineup twice in one game and again the following night, intentional or not, somebody for the other team is getting plunked. And if you’re stupid about it, you’ll get one in the earhole.
Tonight my hometown Tigs were in Beantown and yesterday Miguel Cabrera and Brandon Inge both got drilled during at-bats during that game.
In the top of the first Miguel Cabrera got plunked again. And eventually Cabrera had to leave the game.
In the bottom of the first Rick Porcello let a fastball get away from him and came a little close to Victor Martinez.
Notice I said “a little close” and didn’t say “hit him with a pitch.”
Because its an important piece of information.
And Martinez, who I couldn’t stand in Cleveland and going to Boston did nothing to elevate him in my eyes, looks incredulous. As if Porcello has done something wrong.
Are you kidding me?
A guy misses tight with a fastball and its a newsworthy event? Its worth getting huffy about? When recent history shows that you deserve to get plunked anyway?
And I haven’t even gotten to the best part.
The umpire–get this–warns both benches.
And pay attention. ‘Cause that’s gonna come into play later too.
So what the hell is going on here? A guy throws tight, not hitting anybody, and he gets warned? WARNED!?
For god sakes. Why didn’t the umpire just say, “Uh, no, you can’t pitch inside. At all. Ever. Nope. Kid, don’t you get it? This is Boston.”
What he should have said was, “Hey Martinez, shut your mouth and get back in the box. Your upper body is actually over the strike zone and your elbow could be called a strike. He didn’t even hit you.”
So there were warnings and Martinez eventually ended up striking out on a high fastball.
Bottom of the second inning is where things got really interesting.
Youkilis lead off and was immediately plunked in the back. And immediately charged the mound after Porcello.
Come on. I’ve played baseball and watched it long enough to know when a guy his head hunting. Bostonians should know better than most anyway. A guy named Pedro pitched there for years–and he made a living throwing at guys.
And he never looked at the ground and cursed because he just put the lead off guy on base in Boston when he’s got a three run lead.
No, Pedro would stand there, chest out, and glare.
Porcello whether he did it on purpose or not, wasn’t half the poor-sport chicken-**** pansy that Youkilis was.
First its also worth noting that Youkilis while not hanging over the strike zone does dive towards it to begin with.
Youkilis charges the mound and while Porcello has his hands up as if saying, “Really?” Youkilis throws his helmet at Porcello.
(Raises his eyebrow in disbelief)
I’ve never understood that move.
I mean, is it because the pitcher threw something at the batter that the batter feels he needs to somehow recreate the act?
But to throw it so the pitcher turns his back, to obviously avoid the hurtling projectile, he continues to charge like the older brother chasing his smaller sibling.
Though Porcello’s like six-six, so…
Anyway, Youkilis attempts a tackle, which is thwarted and he ends up being tossed to the ground by a guy thirty pounds lighter, and there is a benches clearing incident.
Now is where it truly gets complicated.
Youkilis is gone for sure.
You charge the mound, you’re gone. Done deal.
Porcello’s fate, not as preordained.
He was ejected.
‘Member when I said to remember that there were warnings issued?
Well, uh… (ponders to himself) I was under the impression, as is the rule book, that once warnings are given, if the pitcher gets run, so too does the manager. And Leyland, as of this writing during the third inning, is still managing the game and going down the tunnel to puff on an unfiltered Marlboro.
So why was Porcello ejected?
It couldn’t have been because he plunked Youkilis and disregarded the officials warning. Or else Leyland would have had an early exit too.
Because it was in Boston.
Had it been in Detroit I think it would have been a different story.
But much to Porcello’s credit, he didn’t go quietly. Though if I were him I would have got my money’s worth. I’d have gotten right into somebody’s face instead of screaming at no one in particular, just barking in general.
The whole charade was a bit of a joke. Youkilis should get hit twice a week. As should David Ortiz.
I tend to agree with Ozzie Guillen. Though I never thought I would have an opportunity for that to happen.
You hit two of my guys? I’m gonna plunk half your lineup.
And I’m sure Sox fans are gonna cry outrage because Youkilis was hit last night too.
I remember Sox fans rejoicing after Pedro’s incident when he threw at Karim Garcia and then suplexed Don Zimmer.
There is a huge difference.
Porcello, on purpose or not, was standing up for his teammates.
Pedro was crying because the Yanks were peppering him all over the yard.
Porcello was justified. More than.
And Youkilis was a nancy.
A term I think the city of Boston coined originally anyway.
Let the hate mail roll in…