In the second inning, Boston starting pitcher Ryan Dempster hit the infamous Alex Rodriguez with a pitch on a 3-0 count. This was after Dempster threw a pitch behind the legs of Rodriguez. Umpire Brian O’Nara issued warnings to both benches. Benches started to clear and even the bullpens emptied. Manager Joe Girardi came out of the dugout, absolutely livid and was ejected.
Look, I am a diehard Red Sox fan. That is why I write about them. There is no love for the Yankees from this writer. However, Girardi, who is a very well-respected manager, was about as angry as I have ever seen him, and you know, he absolutely had a right to be. Dempster did not need to show such vigilantism by plunking Rodriguez and should probably be suspended. Rodriguez has every right to be out on the field playing due to the appeal system.
My wife brought up a really good analogy. She said, what if you and a friend both were speeding and going 80 mph in a 50-mph zone and your friend got fined $50 and you got fined a $100. Wouldn’t you appeal that ticket? You both did wrong, but you got fined more than your friend. That is what Rodriguez is doing. He feels that even though he and Ryan Braun were both suspended, Rodriguez got far worse of a penalty. He has every right to appeal for what he thinks is fair, whether we agree with it or not.
My other issue with the plunking — which if you looked in the dictionary under the word “intentional,” you would probably see a picture of this incident — is that Dempster seemed to have such an issue with Rodriguez being out there at all. Other players apparently seem to feel the same way. They need to keep in mind that this process is part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. They signed off on this process, so they knew that this is available to a player to utilize. If you don’t like it, you should have said something sooner. There has to be other ways to vocalize displeasure for what Rodriguez has done. If they are upset, fine. I don’t blame them for being upset at a player who cheated. However, taking matters into your own hands doesn’t solve much of anything.
While there was some small part of me that felt a little satisfaction by Dempster hitting him, I felt more like this overwhelming sense of dread that something bad was going to happen. Rodriguez hit a home run in the sixth inning to put the Yankees ahead to stay. That was the ninth time in his career that he had been hit by a pitch previously and then hit a home run.
Dempster is a good pitcher and he has been great for the Red Sox in terms of his character and keeping the clubhouse loose. However, I am worried that Dempster inadvertently woke up a sleeping giant. This could have been the series that Boston put New York away for good and ended their postseason hopes. Instead, they are still breathing and now have a cause that they can rally behind.
Now, Boston lost another series and is now heading out to the West Coast on a really tough road trip. Dempster, I understand the message you were sending, but hopefully that didn’t just wake up the Evil Empire.