A Whac-A-Mole game consists of a cabinet with five holes in its top and a large mallet. Each hole contains a single plastic mole and the machinery necessary to move it up and down. Once the game starts the moles will begin to pop up from their holes at random. The object of the game is to force the individual moles back into their holes by hitting them directly on the head with the mallet,
To Ryan Dempster, Alex Rodriguez was the mole and his mallet was a baseball. In his first at-bat on Sunday, August 18, 2013, Dempster threw four pitches to Alex. The first pitch was low and went behind Alex, pitch number two was low and inside at Alex’s feet, the third pitch was also way inside. With a 3-0 count the fourth pitch finally hit the mole. What possessed Dempster (currently with an ERA of around 5.00) to play Whac-A-Rod? Let’s look at some possible reasons.
Maybe Dempster thought of himself as a judge responsible for punishing A-Rod for his use of PEDs. Yes, Alex broke a rule of baseball but his punishment will be determined not by Dempster but by Major League Baseball. Strike one against Dempster. Maybe Dempster believed A-Rod had no right to appeal his 211-game suspension while continuing to play baseball. The right of appeal and playing at the same time is part of the negotiated agreement between the players and the league. Strike two against Dempster. A hockey writer tweeted that he was told by Dempster that he intended to hit Alex because Alex snubbed him at a social event. Strike three against Dempster.
In baseball, three strikes and you are out. Unfortunately, the home plate umpire, instead of tossing Dempster, warned both benches. Since this warning punishes the innocent team as much as the guilty team, the time has come to change this rule. A possible change might be to continue the warning for the guilty team to the next game.
Dempster’s manager, John Farrell, in an interview said that Dempster was just wild and was not trying to hit Alex. If Farrell was given a lie detector test I think I know what the result of the test would be. However, as his manager, it was the right thing for Farrell to do. Dempster told reporters he was not throwing at Alex. As for Dempster, if he admitted to throwing at Alex he would be suspended. Ironically, if he was suspended he would also have the right to continue playing while he appealed his suspension.
Now that we discussed the bad and ugly what was the good? The good was supplied by Alex’s manager Joe Girardi and many of Alex’s teammates who supported Alex. Some of these teammates probably dislike Alex but they also did the correct thing by supporting a fellow teammate. In particular, I commend Joe Girardi, CC Sabathia, and Brett Gardner. The former Red Sox pitcher, turned sportscaster Curt Schilling, who was doing the play-by-play should take his bloody sock and shove it in his mouth (he recently sold the bloody sock for $92,613). He kept saying that CC should retaliate immediately and thereby get himself thrown out of the game. Fortunately, CC knew how important the game was to his team and did not follow that advice. One of the players that had to be held back after the incident was the scrappy Brett Gardner. It was fitting that he provided the game-winning triple later on. Joe Girardi came out of the dugout and you could see the veins popping in his neck as he argued with the home plate umpire. Alex Rodriguez himself controlled his anger. After being thrown at four times, he still did not charge the mound; he got his revenge the right way by hitting a 447 foot home run off of Dempster. I think Alex deserves his suspension but at least for this one game he acted in a professional manner. As a Yankee fan, I hope this game provides the rallying point for the Yankees in their drive to reach the playoffs.
|dr. Stan said…
Dennis: Thank you for your comment. I think you are a little hard on the manager Farrell. I believe he is innocent. I also think you are a little hard on the other Red Sox players. In fact, as you know Ortiz spoke out against Dempster. The suspension of 5 days was a joke. He does not even miss a turn. Dr. Stan
August 29, 2013 05:33:54
As a lifelong Red Sox fan, but a true baseball guy, this was a low point for the Red Sox organization. Specifically the manager and Dempster. I think a lot of true baseball fans that evening became Alex Rodriguez fans and silently rooted for the hated Yankees. The game will police itself, however, explaining to a young child who plays the game what was happening was not fun. It will be worse in their next series.
August 28, 2013 02:21:09