Friday, April 18, 2008

Manny Being Brushed Back: Quit Your Whining, Sox

The negatives from last night's game: Mike Mussina didn't have control, and he didn't have guts, and he may not have much more time. Manny Ramirez teeing off again. Falling behind 7-0. Letting that twerp Josh Beckett dominate, at least for a while. The Red Sox win, 7-5.

The positives from last night's game: Getting 5 runs late, which will usually be enough, if not last night. Proving once again that they can hit Jonathan Papelbon, as big a (expletive deleted) as Curt Schilling and Beckett, not to mention a few non-pitchers on the Sox. And Kyle Farnsworth, for the first time perhaps, justified his presence in the Yankee organization by coming in high and tight on Manny.

Coming inside on David Ortiz hasn't been necessary, since he's been hitting lousy to start the season. (His first after the Mitchell Report came out. And he's lost weight to go with points and power. Things that make you go, "Hmmmm... ")

And one more positive thing: While the Yanks are around .500, they're still in a better position than they were at this point in the last 3 seasons, when they still ended up making the Playoffs, and the American League appears not to be as loaded as it's been in the last few years, so another trip to the Playoffs -- as either the AL East Champions or the Wild Card -- still looks like a good bet. Not that baseball condones betting.

The pitch was close to Manny's head. Good thing it didn't hit him in the rear end. It might have caused brain damage.

Manny was a lot calmer about this one than about the head-high -- but over the plate -- pitch that Roger Clemens threw him in Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS. But Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was mad. Said Pedroia of Farnsworth, “He throws 100 mph. That’s career-ending if it hits him.”

I've seen enough of Farnsworth to know 2 things about him:

1. He's willing to hit guys.
2. He usually doesn't have the control necessary to do so.

Pedroia should shut his trap. I know he wasn't on the Sox roster when Pedro Martinez was, but Pedro (back then, anyway) could throw 97, and he aimed for batters' heads and hands, and didn't give a damn about their safety. He's a punk -- then, now, forever.

And there was postgame mention in certain media outlets that the Red Sox would be looking for revenge against the Yankees in the next series between them, in July.

Hold on: Boston hits A-Rod in the Wednesday game, purposefully or otherwise, and that's "part of the game." A defensible position, if not a palatable one. But Farnsworth comes up and in on Manny, not actually hitting him, and it's an unpardonable sin? An offense that must be avenged 3 months later?

As the great New York sportscaster Warner Wolf would say, "Come on, give us a break!"

If the Sox need Farnsworth's pitch to use as motivation for the July series, then we've already beaten them. In case they didn't notice, it's a Yankees-Red Sox series. If you need more motivation than beating your arch-rival, then you don't deserve to win.

The Red Sox have been throwing at Yankee hitters since a brawl at Yankee Stadium in June of the "Impossible Dream" season of 1967. Live by the sword, die by it. Not literally, but that hasn't stopped Sox pitchers from Jim Lonborg ("Gentleman Jim," my ass) to Bill Lee to Dick Drago to Roger Clemens the Pedro the Punk to Bronson Arroyo to Beckett from trying.

It's an ugly history, and when your team launches Pearl Harbor, don't go crying about fairness when we land on Guadalcanal.

There's no equivalent to Hiroshima -- at least, I hope not -- but come October, maybe September if the Sox can't make it to October, they will be signing the surrender on the deck of the Battleship Missouri.

(In all fairness, the 1967 beanball was out of character for Lonborg. As far as I can tell, he never threw another purpose pitch, and really was a good pitcher, and seems to have been a good guy. But that one time, whoa.)

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