Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday Night Fights

So after Jorge Posada brutally murdered Jesse Carlson last night and then smeared his blood across his face, Braveheart-style, he should be banned from baseball for life.

At least that's what John Kruk and Peter Gammons would like to have you believe with the over-the-top reaction they had to the fracas last night at the Stadium. Kruk chastised Posada up and down for how he reacted to Carlson's throwing behind him and then throwing a mini-Rick Flair elbow at Carlson as he crossed the plate, completely skipping over the fact that Carlson shouldn't have been standing on that side of the plate if he was attempting to back up the throw home to begin with and was basically inviting trouble by being there. And Gammons was practically in tears talking about Mitre and Melancon hitting 2 guys with pitches, going so far as to say Mitre's pitch could have hit Edwin Encarnacion in the head when replay shows it was nowhere near his head.

Remember these are the same 2 guys who applauded Kevin Youkilis for charging Rick Porcello after being hit in the back with a pitch and throwing his batting helmet at Porcello, and participated in a 5-minute break down on Baseball Tonight of what Youkilis did right and did wrong in charging Porcello. Way to show you Red Sox, colors, boys! Here's a free pink Varitek jersey for your efforts, although I'm sure you 2 fags already have one.

Now that the analysis of ESPN's blatantly biased coverage has been discussed again, we can move on to the real issues. The fight last night, good or bad? I, personally, was not a fan of it last night, but not for the reasons that BBTN gave. The Yankees have nothing to worry about at this stage in the season. Who cares if Jorge gets suspended for 5, 8, or 10 games? If anything, that gives him more time to rest his aches and pains and rehab his bruised finger a little more while at the same time allowing AJ Burnett the chance to pitch to Jose Molina, who he obviously prefers, once or twice to try and get his mojo back before the postseason starts.

The Red Sox aren't catching the Yankees, nobody is. It's a foregone conclusion that they are making the postseason so guys getting suspended doesn't mean shit. My problem with the fight was that it came in a game where the Yankees were getting their asses handed to them again. They pounded out 15 hits last night, 11 of them off Roy Halladay, and still only produced 4 runs. Over the last 2 weeks, the Yankees hitting has been very inconsistent, particularly in the clutch, and their pitching not much better. They seem to have almost gotten bored with how well they've been playing and instead of buckling down and getting ready for the playoffs it's like their coasting into them with an overly-relaxed team mindset that they can't afford to have.

Let's not forget that this is a team one year removed from completely missing the playoffs. Sure it's great that they're back on top of baseball now and have the best record heading into the postseason, but in reality, that doesn't mean a whole lot. They're still going to have to face the Angels, Red Sox, or both, and those 2 teams have completely owned the Yanks over the last 5 years. Recent success aside, the Yankees have to prove they can beat these teams when it matters, and instead of getting their shit together and gearing up for a run at the title that they are currently the favorite for, the Yankees are playing sloppy, uninspired baseball and getting caught up in a tit-for-tat fight with the Blue Jays.

Maybe I'm overreacting, and maybe I'm making too big a deal out of the last couple weeks, but with the Red Sox getting their collective shit together, it's only natural to look back at the last couple years and think about whether or not this new team with their new identity can win a 7-game series when the pressure is on.

I did like how quickly everyone responded last night and jumped to Jorge's defense. That wasn't your typical "everybody stand around and push and hold each other" baseball fight; it was a borderline melee. Jesse Carlson came out of it looking like he had gone 3 rounds with Anderson Silva, Joe Girardi was bleeding from the ear, Shelley Duncan looked like he was ready to fight the entire Toronto team, Edwar Ramirez was dragging Rod Barajas across the field by his chest protector like a bag of garbage, and new Yankees CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were among the first responders and were right in the middle of the dustup as soon as it started. That showed how tight this group is; everybody understands their role and everybody is together in whatever they do, win, lose, or fight, and that at least is something you couldn't say about the past few Yankees teams.

The bottom line is Jorge was in the wrong and Carlson was in the wrong. They're both just as much to blame for the fight as the other and they should each get the same amount of games for their upcoming suspensions. But nobody should be surprised or appalled at how Jorge reacted. Anybody who knows anything about the Yankees knows that he's always been the vocal leader in the clubhouse and is intense to the point that it borders being batshit crazy.

What the Yankees need to do is use this as a catalyst to get re-focused and build up the momentum they carried through July and August to round into playoff form because the baseball they've played over the last couple weeks, including last night, won't get it done come October.

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