If you watched the New York Yankees square off against the Boston Red Sox on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, there’s no doubt you were highly entertained. The classic rivalry, the comedic broadcast stylings of John Kruk and company, and Alex Rodriguez getting booed louder than Ashley Simpson when she lip-synched on Saturday Night Live were enough to make even the most casual baseball fan giddy.
Before that night, it’s possible that most Red Sox fans didn’t think highly of starting pitcher Ryan Dempster or his lackluster season.
But who could blame them?
The 36-year-old right-hander signed a two-year, $26.5 million contract this offseason after posting a very valuable 3.38 ERA last season over 173 innings for the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers (although his ERA was over 5.00 after being traded to the Rangers).
He’s done nothing but stink up the joint all year, and his 4.77 ERA and 1.46 WHIP are indicators that his contract signing was a big mistake.
However, despite his mediocrity, all it took was four fastballs to Rodriguez leading off the top of the 2nd inning — the last one hitting A-Rod in the ribs with a satisfying THUD — for Red Sox fans (and I’m sure others as well, I’m looking at you Brian Cashman) to utter four words in absolute joy.
“Thank you, Ryan Dempster.”
The benches predictably cleared, fans rose out of their seats in jubilation, and home plate umpire Brian O’Hara issued warnings to both dugouts, causing Joe Girardi to storm out his dugout in a fit reminiscent of Yosemite Sam.
The best part was, after the dust settled and Girardi was sent packing after covering home plate umpire O’Hara with saliva, Dempster stood on the mound unscathed, like nothing ever happened.
Even more entertaining, Dempster and manager John Farrell claimed that he was just trying to pitch inside.
Yeah, and I claim to have never seen “The Notebook”.
Dempster would eventually give up seven runs en route to his 9th loss of the season, and the Yankees would go on to win 9-6 in a pivotal American League East match-up, but it hardly mattered.
Beaning A-Rod was a victory in itself.