Beyond the Stadium

What Plays Out Beyond the Game

Adrian Beltre: Slayer of Outfielders

It happened again.

Just when the Red Sox outfielders thought it was safe to make plays near the infield, Adrian Beltre emerged from third to strike down another victim.

After being diagnosed with five fractured ribs, Jeremy Hermida was sent to the DL to give the much maligned Jacoby Ellsbury some company.

The club may be joking about  Beltre’s cold proficiency with eliminating teammates, but the issue is getting pretty serious. Even with one of the best medical staffs around, the Sox doctors have been accused of botching Ellsbury’s recovery from his own Beltre encounter on April 11.

With Hermida’s rib injury, the Sox are sure to be extra careful. Though he may not have been giving opposing pitchers nightmares with his .217 average, Hermida was a valuable piece in the outfield. With him gone, Boston finds itself sending out such all-stars as Bill Hall and Josh Reddick.

As several Sox players have mentioned, the strangest part of these two injuries is how similar they were. It may just be a coincidence, but those type of collisions are pretty rare.

This leads a fan such as myself into the land of speculation. Does Beltre ignore outfielders who call him off? Does he not care about the threat of injury to himself or others? Is he a Terminator?

Regardless of the true reason, Beltre seems to be trying very hard to redeem his destructive ways. He is one of the most productive hitters in the lineup this season, batting well over .300 and already matching his 2009 homer total with eight.

The Sox can only hope that the oft-injured J.D. Drew does not come down with a big injury. As it is, Mike Cameron is playing though pain and the Sox bench is almost on empty. Luckily for Drew and Cameron, they shouldn’t be playing anywhere near left field this season.

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June 12, 2010 Posted by | strange stories | 1 Comment

Joe West Out of Line With Sox-Yanks Series Comment

In baseball, the umpires are looked upon to make the tough calls. They know many of their decisions will be hated by some and loved by others. So for Joe West, a seasoned ump with 32 years of major league experience, his latest decision should have been a no-brainer.

He should have kept his mouth shut.

Unfortunately, West did just the opposite. He let his mouth run, and let fly some nasty comments about the Red Sox and the Yankees.

According to West, “They’re [Red Sox and Yankees] the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace,” and that “It’s pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play.”

To an extent, West is correct. Boston and New York have become somewhat infamous for their extra-long, extra-tense contests throughout the season. Their average game time is often higher than the rest of the league. According to an article from ESPN Boston, the average major league game ran for 2:55. Sox-Yankees encounters clocked in at 3:40.

However, to call the teams’ play “pathetic and embarrassing” is, well, pathetic and embarrassing. These teams are two of the most competitive and well-respected in all of baseball, and have been for decades. They are many things, but an embarrassment to the game of baseball they most certainly are not.

Players from both teams are understandably upset. Boston’s Napoleonic second baseman, Dustin Pedroia, was very vocal about his displeasure over the comments. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera also commented on West’s remarks as well.

There are  good reasons these games last so long besides wanting to bother West’s delicate schedule. First, both teams are excellent at stocking their lineups with players who work the count and find themselves on base. In 2009, the Yankees had the best OBP in baseball, at .362. The Sox came in second in that category at .352. The league average was nearly 20 points lower, coming in at .335. Hmm, does this lead anyone to believe that patience at the plate leads to wins?

If this is the case, and the Sox and Yankees share a winning formula, than West has no business criticizing how they play. Limiting player mound visits? Sure. Cutting back on the glove-fixing, shoe tapping, face twitching theatrics outside the batters’ box? Go for it. But telling the players not to work the count? That just sounds silly.

For all the truth there was to his statement, it was one West never should have made publicly. Umpires are impartial mediators of  the game, defenders of the rules and regulations. It is not their job to openly take shots against one or more teams. If he had such a burning hatred for lengthy A.L. East match-ups, he should have kept quiet and submitted a complaint to Mike Port, the V.P. of umpiring.

Instead, West will likely be fined for his words. His apparent bias might also force his bosses to stop him from calling games in New York or Boston.

If he really had somewhere important to go during the series, he should have left. After 32 years in the business, he should know where the door is.

April 10, 2010 Posted by | strange stories | Leave a comment

The Name is Bonds…Barry Bonds

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 As if the whole Bonds ordeal wasn’t strange enough, it now appears that HBO is working on a movie based on the book, “Game of Shadows“, written by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada.

            Williams, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, wrote the book to expose the “truth” about the muscle-bound Barry Bonds. The ensuing sensation led to overblown trials, pointless prison sentences and Bud Selig’s decision to launch the oh-so-infamous Mitchell Investigation. The first thing that comes to my mind is: who the hell is going to play Bonds?

            Perhaps out of fear, Bonds is reportedly planning on hiring a new lawyer to back up his no-doubt cast of thousands. I honestly don’t know what kind of an impact this movie could produce, but it seems to be fated to the “really bad idea” pile. I can see it now: burly old surly Barry dragged through the trials and tribulations of being a major league millionaire, shooting up horse tranquilizers every now and again. Sounds like a big pile of garbage.

            Of course, if Bonds is indicted, or sentenced to community service or to spend a day in jail with Nicole Ritchie, the exposure of the film will be met with far greater success. Either way, this film serves to show how corrupt and profit-conscious the sport has become, and will be yet another unfortunate smear on Major League Baseball.

November 30, 2007 Posted by | strange stories | 1 Comment

Boorish Boras

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 Never mind that the World Series was mind-numbingly boring and no one watched it, what slime ball uber-agent Scott Boras did was tasteless, pointless and careless.

            During game four of the World Series, (THE WORLD SERIES!!!) Boras announced that his cash cow…uh…superstar third baseman Alex Rodriguez would be opting out of his remaining three-year contract. Seriously, this amazing news could not wait until after the most important series in the Major League Baseball season?

            After this little fiasco, MLB has openly expressed it’s displeasure with Boras, saying, “There was no reason to make an announcement last night other than to try to put his selfish interests and that of one individual player above the overall good of the game.”  

            I agree whole-heartedly with this statement. Honestly, who gives a damn about A-Rod’s status during the World Series? He, along with the rest of his team, sucked in October, and did not deserve to be discussed until the Fall Classic wrapped up.

            The Yankees, and everyone affiliated them, have an annoying knack for crashing other teams’ parties, but Boras took it a step further. The agent later apologized, but how could he have possibly not seen this coming? He knows he was being an ass about it, and fed the media some useless public repenting. A-Rod will never get the $30 million-per-year everyone says he will. The Yanks are really the only team with enough financial clout and lack of foresight to re-sign him, and Boras will find that out soon enough.

October 30, 2007 Posted by | strange stories | 1 Comment

The Plague-Offs

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 In one of the most uncomfortable-to-watch scenes in playoff history, the New York Yankees were trumped not by the inefficient Indians, but by hoards of swarming bugs. Starting around the 8th inning, flies called “Canadian soliders” by the locals selected Yankee Joba Chamberlain as a worthy landing zone, planting themselves on his arms, neck and face. Unfortunately for Joba, matters were made worse by the ill-advised decision to coat him with a healthy sheen of Off bug spray. The spray ironically caused the bugs to become stuck to his skin, and left Joba swinging his arms like a bear who just stuck his head in a beehive.

            Unquestionably, Yankee fans will now rally around this strange occurrence as reason why their team lost, especially if they lose the series. To me, that just doesn’t make sense. Players deal with rain, heat and deafening fans on a regular basis, a group of flies that don’t even bite shouldn’t be too big of a problem. Furthermore, Fausto Carmona and the rest of the Tribe dealt with the invasion just fine, finally capitalizing with men on base.

            It is true that Joba looked thoroughly irritated by the flies, but the Yanks should have been buried in this game. The Indians left more guys stranded than an episode of Survivor, and Yankee bats (ahem, A-Rod) were as cold as bug spray on bare skin. Its not the bugs’ fault the Yankees were squashed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the series ended in Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

October 7, 2007 Posted by | strange stories | Leave a comment