Yankees Used to be the Class of the League, Now They are Just A**
Trivia Question: Who has the current record for most World Series rings?
Answer at the end of the Blog
I driving along today and listening to the Rays/Yanks game on the Rays’ Radio Network, when our rookie third baseman Evan Longoria was up to bat in the first inning. Here we are, two days removed from the “whiny” accusations of Yankee manager, Joe Girardi, and Longoria is plucked by the pitcher in the midsection.
The Yankees’ had minor league pitcher, Heath Phillips, starting the game due to Andy Pettitte’s apparent tendonitis situation. That might be the reason for farmhand Phillips to get the nod for the game versus the Rays, or there could be another reason Pettitte was not pitching today?
Andy is a class act player, and maybe he wanted nothing to do with the kid games about to be played on the field. Pettitte is a hard nosed pitcher who is not afraid to pitch the inside corner, but doesn’t have a history of brush-backs or knock downs of any MLB players. The reason I bring this up is that the Yankee starter, Phillips was ejected in the first Inning for a up-and-in fastball that hit Longoria. Kind of funny that he picked that player to pitch closely inside, and not the likes of Carl Crawford, Cliff Floyd or Jonny Gomes.
Home plate Umpire Chad Fairchild immediately sent Phillips to the showers while being given an earful by Yankee manager Joe Girardi concerning the ejection.
But that would not be the end of the fun today.
Not even an inning later,with the Yankees up to bat in the bottom of the second, Shelly Duncan was running out a ball hit down the Left field line when he came in with his spikes up on Aki Iwamura. Replays showed that the relay throw beat Duncan to the base by about 30 feet, and he would not have had any chance to beat the throw to the bag without Aki dropping the ball.
With that in mind, Duncan decided to do his “Ty Cobb” imitation and come in with the spikes up around the knee/groin area and opened a small gash over Aki ‘s right knee.
Immediately following the play, Rays Right Fielder, Jonny Gomes raced in and leveled Duncan from behind to set off a bench clearing brawl. Gomes said he wasn’t surprised Duncan did what he did considering his comments to the New York media this week that he would consider retaliation for Saturday’s play, and he didn’t hesitate to get involved.
“That was sort of second nature,” he said. “I was taught from T-ball all the way up to have your teammate’s back. With that guy trying to hurt a teammate, I just acted how I acted.”
Gomes did get an initial shot in on Duncan, but said an all-out brawl wasn’t his goal. Because of his actions, Gomes, Duncan and Yankees Third Base coach, Bobby Meacham and Yankees Hitting Coach, Kevin Long were ejected from the contest won by the Rays’ 7-6. My question is, where was the secret instigator, Joe Girardi during all of this mayhem. Probably giggling on the bench like a schoolgirl.
Rays closer,Troy Percival was in the clubhouse for the play, but he saw the spike marks visible on Iwamura’s uniform pants, above his knee on the inside of the leg, and wasn’t happy. “You’re just going out there, spikes high, trying to put them into somebody?” said Percival. “There’s no room in baseball for that kind of stuff. Ty Cobb’s been gone a long time.”
Is this the predestined action for the fun during the upcoming season for these two aggressive teams. Are the Yankees going to try and play hard, intimidation ball with a team that can dish out the same in return every night of the week.
In 2000,the Boston Red Sox came in to the Trop. in the send of the year, and tried to do the same to the Rays’ in their home stadium. Red Soz pitcher Pedro Martinez hit Gerald Williams and a brawl ensued. I remember seeing Red Sox first baseman/ Strike Scab, Brian Daubach getting leveled by a bullpen guy and being helped off the field. Of course, in that game several pitches were thrown that got pitchers tossed from the game. The best was the pitch by the late Cory Lidle that missed the back of a Sox’s player by two feet.
Does the actions of Jonny Gomes show that this team means business this year. Could we really be seeing the evolution of this franchise into respectability. I think the answer to both those questions is a loud and proud “Yes.”
Does today’s clear retaliation mean we have the Yankees worried for a change. Do they have a feeling that their “Empire”or “Dynasty” status is being challenged by an upstart team from the south. The last part of that word is what they have become in my eyes, just plain “nasty”‘
This is going to be a fun year to be a Rays and Yankee fan.
“It’s not typical of them, that’s for sure,” said Percival. “They’ve always been a professional organization. They’ve always played hard and they’ve always played smart. I won’t say that about today’s game.”
I am all about hard hustle and playing to win every game,at-bat,or pitch. But what Duncan did was beyond the usual action of the game. Should he be suspended by MLB?, that is not for me to say here.
But I would be leery of him standing in Right Field for Batting Practice at the Trop. I will be ready to lay a few lines on him about his cheap sportsmanship.
I will clap for any teams,even a Yankee, who shows hustle and a great play or show of true sportsmanship. But I hate and loath a guy trying to inflict,or injury a player out of retaliation for a hard-nosed play from a past game. Shelly Duncan had no business doing a ”spikes up” play on Aki and it shows his lack of class to even wear that Yankee uniform.
Gomes,Percival and others also feel unanimously that the play was “Bush League,” and had no business being attempted today. Dirty play,” said B.J. Upton. “Just a flat-out dirty play. Period.”
Rays’ skipper Joe Maddon summed it up best today:
“The other day we were playing in Tampa, that play you saw at home plate was a good, hard baseball play,” he said. “What you saw today is the definition of a dirty play. There is no room for that in our game, it’s contemptible, it’s wrong, it’s borderline criminal, and I cannot believe they did that.”
Triva Question Answer:
Yankees’ all-around good guy, Yogi Berra won 10 rings from 1946-1962.
Hey Shelly Duncan, Yogi Berra was a true winner, not a half *** whiner.