17 September 2004

Gary Sheffield Full of Shit

But gosh, what the hell else is new?

Making it even more fascinating is that Gary Sheffield has put the Red Sox on notice, saying the Yankees are not going to stand for any more Boston shenanigans like hit batsmen or catchers in full gear delivering mitts of fury.

Of that incident, and Varitek, Sheffield noted on Tuesday, "If he wants to be a tough guy, we'll take that challenge. I don't care if these guys hit us or throw at us. We ain't gonna stand for it and it definitely ain't gonna turn out the way it did last time."

This is from Kevin Kernan's column in today's (September 16th) New York Post. Nevermind that that is Kernan's THIRD DAY IN A ROW printing that exact quote- I don't need to comment on the writing of the New York Post. It speaks for itself.

What strikes me as funny is how Gary Sheffield seems comfortable completely ignoring what actually happened in the brawl July 23rd, and telling anyone who'll listen how poor a view of the incident he must have had from the dugout. Jason Varitek invariably answers somewhere along the lines of "it's over, it was no big deal, etc." when asked about the brawl. The New York Times has an entire article about Varitek being the de facto captain of the Red Sox- a Jeter type, more or less in Boston.

But A-Rod? "It was Varitek's fault." Sheffield? "They're throwing at us." Well, since I haven't written about it yet, and since these two Yankees (who, as players, I have infinite respect for) seem comfortable being completely full of shit on the matter- I'm going to give you all a run down of that infamous brawl. I won't argue these points- this is what happened.

  • Bronson Arroyo hits Alex Rodriguez with a 70 MPH curveball. Arroyo has issues with control, and leads the AL in hit batters. You don't intentionally hit a guy with a curveball. Little leaguers know this.

  • Alex Rodriguez takes offense to this, for reasons still unknown.

  • Alex Rodriguez starts to scream out at Bronson Arroyo, Varitek is walking between Rodriguez and the pitcher.

  • Varitek begins to take umbrage to the wildly overreactive Rodriguez, and in protecting his pitcher, tells him to shut up and take his base.

  • Rodriguez begins to direct his verbal assault- most of which we can read off his lips on TV- towards Varitek. It contains a lot of "fuck you, motherfucker"s, and is capped off by a verbal call to physical action, accompanied by a flipping his hands, telling Varitek to "come on." Varitek had, at this point, not removed his catching gear. He had not removed his catching gear, because up to this point, no sane person would have expected a fight, or the reaction Rodriguez was giving. Removing his mask prior to this point would definitely have been seen as an act of agression.
  • Varitek takes Rodriguez's bait and smashes his glove into Rodriguez's face, physically instigating the altercation and starting a brawl. Varitek bears some part of that responsibility, and as such has accepted it. It's also worth noting that there was no opportunity for him to remove his mask, and it continues to be a weak defense of Rodriguez's instigation. If not for Rodriguez, there is no fight- end of story.

  • Worcester's Own Tanyon Sturtze grabs Gabe Kapler blind from behind in a hard chokehold and drags him to the ground in an absolute chickenshit move. Kapler and his teammate Nixon (trying to defend his teammate from the chickenshit move) were given suspensions following the brawl. Both appealed, and BOTH had their entire suspensions expunged, a very, very rare occurence.

  • In most cases, for most teams, that brawl is over with. No hard feelings, part of the game, A-Rod's emotions got the best of him, he's certainly entitled- hey, shit happens. No big deal. Move on.

    But every time some New York writer brings the fight up, Rodriguez seems to intimate he was an innocent- not a "we were both at fault," and not (the truth) "that was largely my fault, but no hard feelings." No. It's "I was defending myself."


    If that's what it takes to psyche Sheffield up, and if public perception is that important to A-Rod (as if that were even a question any longer), fine. But you don't see a guy like Varitek passing blame, as would certainly be his right. He doesn't dignify the question with a response. It's over. Done. I thought the Yankees were the classy ones, above this crap? Ask Varitek about it. Go ahead. Ask him.

    "I've gotten booed there [Yankee Stadium] before," Varitek said. "It's expected. We're the villains in their eyes. And because of that one incident, me especially. But Alex and I were about the same thing. We're on opposing teams, and we're trying to win."

    See? I have no problems with Gary Sheffield as a guy- I could care less about players off the field 99.9% of the time. What Gary? You're going to intentionally play like shit to get traded from the Padres? I don't fucking care. You're a great hitter. Do what you want.

    But he's dead wrong on this. Totally, absolutely, 100% wrong, wrong, wrong. No sane person would argue that Arroyo threw at Rodriguez, mostly because it was a curveball, but also because we were trying to win the game at that point (Sox were down 3-0 when it happened), and because Arroyo doesn't throw at people. It's absurd.

    Don't believe everything you read.


    20 wins. Way to go, Curt.

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