ESPN Can Lead Us to the Yankees, but It Can’t Make Us Love ‘Em

September 18, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

I know I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I’m on vacation, so bear with me.

By now, everyone who cares about such things has heard of and probably seen footage of the skirmish between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.

For those who haven’t, here’s a recap.

The Bronx Bombers jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind Sergio Mitre. Shockingly, Mitre surrendered the two-run cushion and then some. It was 3-2 in favor of the Jays when Edwin Encarnacion strode to the plate in the fourth and deposited the little white pill over the center field fence.

Before the top of the fourth was done, Toronto would tack on another run courtesy of Travis Snider’s second home run of the night—this one a mammoth shot to right.

Fast-forward to the top of the sixth.

Encarnacion steps into the batter’s box to face Mitre for his first at-bat following his fourth-inning homer. Plunk.

True, there were no outs and a runner on first. True, New York only faced a three-run deficit in its explosive new park.

Also true, Mitre was on his last legs and probably a tad frustrated, having already served up four big flies.

Despite the suspicious circumstances, I’m willing to give the shaky right-hander a pass on that one.

Regardless, by the end of the Jays’ sixth, the game was getting out of hand. Toronto had a 7-2 lead, and it was 8-2 when the visitors came up in the eighth.

New pitcher Mark Melancon retired the first two batters with relative ease to bring Aaron Hill to the plate. As most Major League Baseball observers know, Hill is having a fantastic season after concussions slowed him down in 2008. Despite a phenomenal campaign from Adam Lind, Hill has been the Jays’ best player this year.

Naturally, Melancon drilled him right between the shoulder blades with a screaming fastball. I’ll get to the “Melancon’s wild” platitudes eventually, but there is zero chance he wasn’t throwing at Hill.


Which brings us to the bottom of the eighth.

The Blue Jays, understandably upset by having two of their batters drilled (including their best player, who was having an off night), threw at Jorge Posada. Again, there is no doubt Jesse Carlson intended to hit him. Unfortunately, he missed and ended up throwing behind Posada.

The Yankee catcher took a couple steps toward the mound, jawing at Carlson, and both benches cleared. Hostilities were defused enough to get everyone back into their rightful positions…temporarily.

Subsequently, New York cobbled together a face-saving rally, which included a Brett Gardner run-scoring double. Posada crossed the plate with said run and then threw a harmless forearm shiver at Carlson, who was obviously spoiling for a fight since he was badly out of position on the play.

A pitcher backing up a play gets directly behind the path of the incoming throw.  Otherwise, he does no good because his job as the backup is to recover errant throws, which tend to get past their target. Carlson was on the first base side of home plate despite the throw coming in from right field.

So, yeah, Carlson knew exactly what he was doing, and he accomplished it. The brawl ensued, blah, blah, blah.

Fine. Stuff like that happens all the time in the Show—it’s part of the game and one with which I don’t have a huge problem.

What I do have a HUGE problem with is the embarrassing hypocrisy coming from ESPN simply because the New York Yankees were involved.

San Francisco Giant fans will remember back in August when Pablo Sandoval was involved in a similar dust-up with Russell Martin and the Los Angeles Dodgers. On that night, John Kruk took a blowtorch to Little Money for instigating the fight.

You could practically see the venom spewing from his fat jowls.

One would think a similar bashing would be in store for Jorge Posada—an important veteran on a team coasting toward the postseason, who played the tough guy role (despised by Kruk when Little Panda did it) not once, but twice.

First with all the antics after the ball sailed behind him and then again with the elbow that home plate umpire Jim Joyce called a “cheap shot.”

I mean, if a youngster is taken to task for inciting a fight between two bitter rivals during a heated series, surely a seasoned vet should get the same treatment when he stupidly risks suspension against a tepid rival with little on the line.


Despite his team clearly being in the wrong.


Krukie and the Baseball Tonight crew gave the Bronx Bombers and their backstop a light tongue-lashing that felt more like a feline tongue bath. There were half-hearted attempts to paint Posada as a vet who should’ve known better, but the real zeal was reserved for the excuses.

Forget that the Yankees should’ve expected retaliation after dousing two Blue Jays in a blowout. Forget they have little reason to be frustrated since they’re cruising, playing good baseball, winning the majority of the time, and Toronto was kicking their collective tail with the utmost respect.

Forget that hitting Hill was the first cheap shot and Posada’s elbow the second.

None of that mattered.

See, Melancon wasn’t throwing at Hill—he’s wild and hits guys all the time.

Except he had struck out Travis Snider (who was having a great night) to start the inning and retired Marco Scutaro on a weak pop-up. Oh, and he smoked Hill perfectly center mass with a heater on the first pitch of the at-bat.

Just because a guy can’t always find the strike zone doesn’t mean he didn’t have good control on a particular occasion.

No matter.

Nor did it matter that Hill was the second Blue Jay hit, even if the first was accidental.

Nor did it matter that Posada’s transgressions were far more egregious than Sandoval’s. If you don’t believe me, take Joyce’s word for it—I’ve never heard an umpire go out of his way to single out a particular player for a slimy move.

But Joyce did it, and he was right there when Posada made his move.

Nor did it matter that Carlson went after Posada the right way—below the waist—while Melancon’s beanball was almost literally that.

Nor did it matter that the Canadian squad had every right to be angry.

What, are the Toronto Blue Jays supposed to sit idly by while their players take at-bats in a shooting gallery? Simply because the Jays had the audacity to spank the New York Yankees in their new park?

Yet none of this was covered by ESPN’s stooges for the deepest pockets on the East Coast.

Instead, Chris Singleton—what the hell is going on in Bristol?—pointed out the elbow was more in self-defense than anything. Kruk pointed out Carlson escalated the situation by chasing after New York’s catcher. And the general tone was much ado about nothing, let’s just move on—boys will be boys.


What a difference a uniform makes—at least to the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.”

After displays like this one, you have to wonder: Where exactly ESPN is leading us?


Read more New York Yankees news on BleacherReport.com

readers comments

Yankee Tickets

Yankee Tickets

Shop Yankee

Shop Yankee