Ok, we get it. Everyone hates A-Rod, except maybe his mom… but probably her too. It’s still puzzling though, that Ryan Dempster was not ejected after drilling him on the FOURTH try! Regardless, the aftermath is why people who don’t watch baseball, citing that it’s boring, have a leg to stand on. A-Rod got the last laugh, drilling a home run off of Dempster later on in the game, but that’s pretty much it it. He paused for a moment at home plate after his trot, and may or may not have taken a jab at Big Papi David Ortiz with a gesture skyward, but that’s really it.
Now, the fact that Dempster hit Rodriguez intentionally is not debatable. He should probably get a similar suspension to what Ian Kennedy got for beaning Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke earlier this season. But he won’t. Why not? Because it was A-Rod.
Now, knowing that it’s him against the world, why didn’t A-Rod take full advantage of his moment? Why didn’t he stand at home plate for the entire length of the flight of his home run? Why didn’t he take a super slow home run trot, pausing at each base as the crowd boos and putting his hands up to his ears as if to say, “I can’t hear you!” And when it was all said and done, why didn’t he pause at home plate and do some body builder poses? It’s not like class and tact have been anywhere near the top of his priority list any time recently. Why start now? His popularity with fans is unsalvagable. Why not turn himself into a WWE-type villain that embraces the vitriol from fans and hams it up? I think people would tune in for that.
On to the next bit, if MLB is going to establish itself as a credible operation again in the wake of all the PED crap, they have to do something about the umpiring. Saturday’s game between Detroit and Kansas City featured one of the worst displays of umpiring in history, and not just the call. With a runner on first, the Kansas City batter swung at a Doug Fister pitch in the dirt. The ball came up off the ground, hit the bat, and deflected past catcher, Brayan Pena. Not a teensy deflection, a clear contact on the bat that if you listened closely to the tv, was audible. No foul ball was called by home plate umpire, Mike Muchlinski and the runner advanced to third base. Of course, manager Jim Leyland hollered from the dugout and was ejected by first base ump, Bob Davidson, who sneered while doing so. That is a problem. What’s more a problem is that any of the four umpires on the field were in good position to get the call right, but nobody did. And then, before play resumed, Pena was tossed too. He had put his mask on, assumed his spot behind the dish, and then told Muchlinski what he felt. Again, he did this with his mask on, not showing the umpires up. Usually catchers never argue with an umpire because they feel their pitchers will get shafted on balls and strikes calls the rest of the game, or in some umpires’ cases, the rest of their careers if they do.
Now, what’s going to happen to the umpires? Probably nothing. At best, this was a horribly missed call by four umpires that could have potentially changed the course of the game. At worst, it was umpires taking an opportunity to make it personal with Leyland. If this is the case, which I personally feel it was, MLB would have to send a stern message. Suspend the umpires for the rest of the season. Especially Davidson, who sneered and laughed at Leyland as he ejected him and again during the subsequent argument.
But MLB won’t. Because like any cash cow, they care little about their credibility. Perhaps things will be different when Bud Selig, or as I like to call him, Bud @$#%^@(*^%&*&$#^% Selig is no longer commissioner. We can hope, because if MLB will ever reclaim its rightful place up alongside football and basketball as a premier, fan experience-oriented sport, it will have to.