All I can say about yesterday is that I am fairly astonished at the media coverage of the on-field fiasco from the fourth inning. Pedro Martinez is now Public Enemy Number One nationwide. The Red Sox are a disgrace and group of thugs. That’s the slant you’re getting all around the country and on TV.
First, the throwing at Karim Garcia — a guy whose manager can’t even remember his name. (Anyone catch the Fox interview with Torre after the game, where Torre started to call him “Serg..” and then corrected himself to say “Karim Garcia”.) From all the perspectives seen, Pedro didn’t even hit him, (it hit his bat) and the ball wasn’t at his head. Was Pedro frustrated and perhaps just wanting to put the guy on base to set up the double play? Likely. The Fox announcing crew, of which Tim McCarver is perhaps the biggest disgrace on the airwaves, was quick to point out that Pedro must’ve been throwing at Garcia, because he has such pinpoint control. OK. If that’s the case then Pedro clearly wasn’t throwing at his head, as the pitch was behind Garcia, and nowhere close to his head. Pedro might’ve also wanted to stir things up a bit, and pump himself and everyone in the ballpark up. After struggling to that point, (ok, he stunk) he was pretty much lights-out the rest of the time he was in there, as was Roger Clemens.
Garcia…what can we say about this guy? Lucky to be on the Yankees, lucky to be in the bigs, a guy who was batting a lusty .194 for the lousy Indians this year before the Yankees rescued him and made him pretty much an everyday player. He’s got a right to strut around like he’s worth being thrown at by Pedro? If you felt bad for him in the least for being thrown at by the devil incarnate, Pedro Martinez, those feelings should be gone after two incidents by Garcia, which showed the level of class in this scrub. The rough takeout –well beyond the second base bag — of Todd Walker that same inning, an incident which was missed by the Fox crew until some time had gone by. (Interestingly, at times the most objective guy in the broadcast crew was the one guy who could actually have made a legitimate case for rooting for the Yankees, Brett Boone -his brother being on the team and all.)
The second incident was the ninth inning ruckus in the bullpen where, while 6’8″ Jeff Nelson was pounding away at a member of the Red Sox grounds crew, Garcia felt the need to scale the bullpen wall and mix in a few haymakers of his own. He then had the audacity to cry about hurting his hand while nailing the guy, who serves as a special-ed teacher during the day. For that incident, the impartial McCarver, before the facts had come out, was quick to assume that a Red Sox fan had jumped into the bullpen and started attacking helpless Yankee relievers. Even if the grounds guy was overly zealous in rooting for his team, and got aggressive, Nelson had plenty of help out there without Garcia flying in. Nelson and Garcia could now possibly face charges for the incident in the bullpen.
The Red Sox are the bad guys here? Reading stories around the country, it’s the Red Sox who are the thugs, yet two Yankees could be facing charges. Makes sense.
Oh yeah, back to Pedro. Pedro let his emotions get the better of him immediately after the Garcia brushback, yelling at Yankees, pointing to his head and saying whatever it was he was saying. There’s no disputing that. He disgraced himself, and let his emotions get out of control. For a TV viewer though, it made great theater. I was with a large group of people, and you couldn’t help but get caught up in it all and just be transfixed, wondering what was going to happen next.
The next inning, Manny Ramirez overreacted, but understandably so, as tensions were so high at that point, to a high pitch from Roger Clemens. Both benches emptied, and 72-year-old Don Zimmer took off out of the Yankee dugout and made straight for Pedro. Now comes the incident for which Pedro is being vilified nationwide. Zimmer came at Pedro, head down, his left hand raised as if ready to swing at Pedro, who did a nice matador impression, put his hands on Zimmer