I have not written a word about Alex Rodriguez since it became clear that he was appealing his 211 games suspension and would be playing until such time that he was physically forced by MLB to stop. In fact not only have I not written about baseball but I have also been refusing to watch my beloved New York Yankees because of their insistence on play Rodriguez.
Finally something happened to make me speak my mind on the situation. On Sunday night, as we all know, Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster repeatedly threw at the beleaguered Rodriguez hitting him twice. Now we all know actions speak louder than words and I believe that the events surrounding the Dempster/Rodriguez incident speak volumes about not only how MLB feels about A-Rod but how the players and his teammates feel about him as well.
What Dempster’s actions say:
Hitting Rodriguez was a clear statement that Dempster is among those who feel that A-Rod should not be allowed to step foot on a baseball diamond. Then in an interview when questioned about his suspension he said that he would not be appealing and just want to put the past in the past. He has other things to worry about. Yet another dig at A-Rod for choosing to fight his suspension unlike the others involved in the Biogenesis scandal.
What Joe Giardi’s actions say:
Giardi got into a massive fight with umpire Brian O’Nora after Dempster went headhunting. As a player Giardi was beaned in the face with a pitch and he knows just how badly this hurts. After being fined $5,000 which is more than Dempster was fined. Giardi was not only looking out for his player but also the fact that Dempster’s actions have set a precedent about the treatment of Rodriguez.
What Rodguiez’s actions say:
A-Rod winced, waited for Giardi to leave the field and then took his base. He has been expecting this kind of retaliation in fact he was lucky to have lasted this long without somebody rearing back and taking aim at him. By reacting with this non-reaction A-Rod has told people yet again that he doesn’t care what anybody thinks he is going to play until he has a court order that tells him he no longer can.
What the team’s actions say:
Upon closer inspection of the video of the incident one will notice that the only Yankee on the field is Joe Giardi. Any other player and this would have been a benches clearing brawl the likes of which the Red Sox and Yankees haven’t been involved in since 2004 when A-Rod and Jason Varitek had words leading to both benches and bullpens emptying onto the field leaving several players suspended and two walking off the field bleeding. Instead the Yankees watched quietly from the dugout. Letting everyone know that they are just a little sick of the negative attention that the third baseman attracts.
What Major League Baseball says and what it actually means:
What they say: Intentionally hitting a player for whatever reason is absolutely wrong and a punishable offense.
What they actually mean: Hitting a player above the waist is punishable by a 10 game suspension and below is a 5 game penalty. As such Ryan Dempster, a pitcher, will most likely not even miss a game for his actions against Alex Rodriguez. This says to players and fans that the MLB has no trouble putting a target on A-Rod’s back.
Frankly the people I think in the wrong on this is MLB. The light suspension is making a statement that Rodriguez, who is far from a saint, is fair game to anyone who finds him objectionable. He is not the victim in this tale but if people feel that a slap on the wrist is worth the chance to let A-Rod know how they feel well suspension are going to go up and maybe next time it won’t be something Rodriguez can walk off.