The Bean Ball Heard ‘Round the World
The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox faced off in a 3 game series this past weekend, which the Yankees won, taking 2 of the 3. Despite this series being a big one for the Yankees’ playoffs hopes, the headline of the series was Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch during Sunday’s game.
Everyone knows about A Rod’s appeal of his 211 game suspension, but new drama includes MLB players saying that he shouldn’t have had the opportunity to appeal, given his involvement with Biogenesis and past admission of taking steroids. One player who feels that way is Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, who made his opinion clear before pitching against the Yankees on Saturday. But it was Ryan Dempster who became MLB’s “Steroid Sheriff” by plunking A Rod with a fastball in the second inning of Sunday’s game.
Now I get it, a lot of people are pissed at Rodriguez right now, and it was just a matter of time before he got plunked in a game for his actions off the field. But Ryan Dempster? Had John Lackey been the one to hit A Rod, I wouldn’t have been too upset, because of what he said before, but it was Ryan Dempster who came out from behind Lackey’s shadow and took matters into his own hands.
If you didn’t see it, here’s how it went down Sunday night. Rodriguez lead off the top of the second inning, and Dempster’s first pitch went behind Rodriguez. Anyone with knowledge of baseball knows that if a pitcher throws behind a batter, he’s trying to hit him. Home plate umpire Brian O’Nora didn’t get the hint, because no warning was given. Dempster’s next 2 pitches were inside on Rodriguez, again still trying to him, no warnings. Finally, with a 3-0 count, Dempster fourth pitch hit Rodriguez, and it was then O’Nora issued warnings to both teams, which sent Yankee manager Joe Girardi onto the field arguing why only a warning was issued, and why Dempster wasn’t ejected, earning an ejection for himself.
I get it. Ryan Dempster is a player rep for the player’s union, and the union isn’t happy with Rodriguez, so let’s hit him with a pitch and show him we mean business. My issue is that it took four pitches for Dempster to finally hit A Rod. You should get one chance. Rodriguez is not a small guy. If you miss with that first pitch, you lose your chance at proving your point. My other issue is that Dempster has never voiced his opinion about Rodriguez until his actions Sunday night, so what exactly was his reasoning for hitting A Rod? While listening to sports radio yesterday, a story came out that Dempster had spoken with a hockey writer in Detroit and told him that Rodriguez once snubbed Dempster at an event, and Dempster took offense.
Boo-freakin’-who. First, why is Ryan Dempster, a Major League pitcher, talking with a hockey writer? Second, Ryan Dempster is no where near the level of play that Rodriguez is at, steroids or no steroids. Ryan Dempster has pitched for 5 different teams, going 17-6 in 2008 with the Chicago Cubs, and 15-12 on 2 occasions. Those were his 3 best seasons. No Cy Young awards, no World Series rings, but he has been to 2 All Star games. I’m not going to list A Rod’s accomplishments because 1) we know, and 2) they are all tainted as of right now.
I have never been a fan of Alex Rodriguez, despite him playing for my favorite team. But after what happened in the second inning of Sunday’s game, I was rooting for Rodriguez to answer back, and boy did he. Rodriguez led off the top sixth inning, facing Dempster again and launched a 1-0 pitch into the centerfield seats, sparking a 4 run Yankees rally, that erased a 6-3 Red Sox lead. The Yankees would go on to win the game 9-6.
Just goes to show that the saying, “Karma is a bitch,” still rings true. Just ask Ryan Dempster.
photo via YouTube