Thursday, May 18, 2006

By Blogger

Some people aren't worth defending. When Barry Bonds passes Babe Ruth, and the jeers come down from the galleries that steroids made it possible and, therefore, he is unworthy of any praise, the only response is that Babe Ruth wouldn't have achieved his numbers on a level playing field, one on which those with darker skin were allowed to play.

Others not worth defending include the bastards who stood and cheered Russ Springer after he was ejected by umpire Joe West for hitting Bonds with a pitch Tuesday night, allegedly on purpose. Manager Phil Garner, catcher Eric Munson, and Springer himself insisted that they were just trying to pitch him inside. On the Giants radio broadcast, Jon Miller expressed surprise that West would pull the trigger on a warning after that first pitch, and then even greater surprise that Springer kept trying to bust Bonds on his hands, resulting in the hit-batsman and ejections. If you're looking for a crack in the Astros' party line, see reliever Mike Gallo's quote from "If you go back in years [in] baseball, there's always been purpose pitches like that, and if there was a reason for it, it will come out." Guys don't usually call a mistake a "purpose pitch". Of course, the Giants suspect the beaning was intentional, based on the pattern of pitches, and they may eventually retaliate. Houston fans posting to CrawfishBoxes appeared to think it was all well and good, to show that "we're not skerred".

Regardless of Springer's intent, it will get settled on the field, between the players, somehow, some way, as it has always worked out in baseball. Perhaps Springer was just trying to work inside and missed. Perhaps he was frightened out of his mind at the prospect of giving up Number 714. Perhaps he was frustrated that the 'Stros were getting pummelled for a second night in a row and acted in a misguided attempt to fire up the team. Whatever. The fans who stood and cheered, though, cannot possibly be defended. Don't be facetious and say they were supporting Springer because he was ejected unjustly. They stood and cheered as soon as he hit Bonds. If you watch the video closely, you can see people cheering the initial inside pitches that nearly hit him. Those spectators (to hell with calling them fans) were cheering out of blood lust from the uncivilized recesses of their hearts. The Astros organization and all Houstonians should be ashamed of those cretins' behavior.

When you cheer for intent to injure and maim, you lose your own dignity.

The history of sport is littered with similar ugly scenes. Michael Irvin in Philadelphia. Souvenir baseball night in Los Angeles. Ron Artest in Detroit. Champions League football in Italy. Congratulations to Houston for earning entry to the club.

YouTube videos posted by
PlacidCombustion - Bonds/Springer
Scotty2Hotty2912 - Irvin
JohnAshcroft - Artest


Blogger Zachary Geballe said...

Dude, have you seen Barry Bonds...the man wheres an elbow guard the size of Lance...he's got nothing to fear from any pitcher hitting him.

And David, please, get off your high horse when it comes to Bonds. I've seen fans cheer when many other star players get hit...and these are the same Houston fans who booed Larry Dierker when he refused to pitch to Bonds at the end of the 2001 season.

1:57 AM  
Blogger Ben Valentine said...

Zach, I agree that Bonds has little to fear from opposing pitchers working him inside; that being said, Bonds has done nothing to deserve getting thrown at by Russ Springer. When did he become "Russ Springer- Baseball Man- who protects the integrity of the game from its greatest villians by throwing at their obnoxiously large body armor"? Besides, would he be bothered throwing at Jorge Piedra in a 10-1 game?

As for the fans, it is reprehensible that they would cheer someone getting drilled. But on the other hand, it's what fans do. In a Mets/Yankee game a few years back, Yankee fans cheered when Clemens hit Piazza in the head. I'm sure Mets fans would do the same if Pedro drilled Derek Jeter in the ribs this weekend.

That's just the way fans are. It's really not worth getting upset about. And just remember, a lot of those same Giant fans would cheer if Lance Berkman or Morgan Ensberg got drilled in retaliation. Is that really any better?

2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

somebody pointed out a few weeks ago that bonds is hitting home runs on pitches out over the plate, but he isn't able to turn on an inside fastball as well as he had been the last few years. it makes perfect sense that pitchers are recognizing that in the game tapes and are trying to jam him inside.

it was stupid to eject springer. batters crowd the plate & pitchers pitch inside to get the advantage back. the fact that he got hit shouldn't even be a story.

1:06 PM  
Blogger David Arnott said...

Zach, I'm on a high horse because this was clearly different from your everyday "just hitting a guy". There was no provocation. This wasn't retaliation for anything. This was a pitcher trying to hurt someone. I'm leaning toward believing that Springer was just trying to pitch Bonds inside at first, and then decided that, what the hell, I may as well go out in flames 'cause there's no way this asshole's hitting one off of me. The spectators' actions were reprehensible because anyone could tell that Springer was trying to drill him and hurt him, and, while I'm not going to profess to be in the spectators' heads, their actions speak for themselves: they were cheering a horseshit attempt to injure another player. If they were trying to support their guy, they would have initially booed the umpire, and booed Bonds, and then later cheered as Springer walked off the field. But no. They cheered as soon as they saw the ball plunk high off Bonds's shoulder. You might cheer when Jeter gets drilled in the rump, but you don't cheer a pitch in the vicinity of his head. I agree with what Grant said in the McCoveyChronicles post I linked, that lots of Giants fans love the idea of plunking Jeff Kent whenever applicable. However, when he got hit in the head, there was no pleasure to be taken from it. It was a cheap shot, horseshit, and the fans cheered it. You can't get around that.

5:23 PM  

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