I’m occasionally reminded of my old childhood passion – baseball. Combine the topic of baseball and sportsmanship and you’ve got premium fodder for blairsblog.
You see, Whitesox manager, Tony La Russa, had scolded his all star hitter Yermin Mercedes for swinging for the fence (finely executed the homer) on a 3-0 count against a position player pitcher with the score at 14-4 in favour of the Sox the other night. Traditionally we “take” (take in baseball terms means let it go) that pitch. The bizarre follow on was that after the next game when Twins pitcher deliberately threw at Mercedes’ knees – LaRussa condoned it.
It’s only recently that position players have been taking the mound when games get out of control on the score board. This never used to be the case. Relievers have traditionally “mopped up” so now there’s a disconnect between the quality of the pitch and the quality of the batter. Should LaRussa have put in a pinch hitter (utility player) for Mercedes? Well, I suppose every manager could now unroll a wholesale change of the lineup in concert with the opponent’s mop up position player pitcher but this is not what the fans necessarily paid for at the ticket wicket.
It’s pretty tough not to sanction LaRussa for basically condoning violence but he certainly was within his right mind to condemn Mercedes for not heeding the “take” sign.
I also have a sneaky feeling that LaRussa would have known he was out of line in applauding the Twins pitcher but certain men of this age and ilk are growing intemperate with the era of political correctness.