During last year's MLB playoffs, I wrote a post about how disgusted I was with Red Sox character. Well, they've done it again this season and I'm again disgusted that they are the best team out there. Actually, the offending episode really only involves one player but it's certainly in keeping with what the current Red Sox have proven themselves to be.
I was pretty invested in last year's negative display, mostly because it happened with my Angels on the loosing end of the score card. But last week's violation is bias free because it was against the Tampa Bay Rays, a team I don't give a flying rip about (I kind of give a rip now because I'd love for the Rays to mop the floor with the Sox after this series of incidents). You can watch the following clips to see what happened:
Red Sox vs. Rays, June 4, 2008 — Coco Crisp is "offended," slides dirty and curses like a sailor.
Red Sox vs. Rays, June 5, 2008 — Coco Crisp charges the mound.
Was Coco's first steal inappropriately blocked by the shortstop, Jason Bartlett, or was the block against the rules of the game? Sure. Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. But, Coco did successfully steal the base and Bartlett's block was not so flagrantly inappropriate or so against the rules that any umpires decided to do anything about it. It certainly didn't justify Coco delivering a forearm to the groin of the Rays' second baseman, Akinori Iwamura (not the guy who "inappropriately" blocked Coco earlier!!!), several innings later while trying to steal another base. And the kicker was the shouting match that ensued between Coco and the Rays' manager. What justifies that kind of public outburst when you are the one who started all the dirty stuff in the beginning? Nothing, of course. Not in the game of baseball where we try to keep that kind of thing to a minimum.
And then we have the fight the next night. I must say that the former pro-wrestling/ultimate fighting fan in me gets a little excited when the benches clear. In principle, however, I'm against baseball fights (and not only because baseball players are really poor fighters). So Coco gets hit by Sheilds' pitch, IN THE LEG, and he charges the mound. This is the point at which Coco looses any amount of credibility as the "offended party." If a baseball pitcher wants to throw at you, he can throw right at your head, threatening your life. When he throws at your leg it was more likely an accident than intentional. Maybe Sheilds threw intentionally but, if he did, why charge the mound if he only threw at your leg? Because of your massively inflated ego, that's why. Since baseball players can't fight, no one got hurt physically in the rumble (unless I'm remembering incorrectly), but Coco Crisp, and the Red Sox by association, certainly hurt themselves in the eyes of civilized, morality-conscious baseball fans everywhere (this group, of course, being defined as those that agree with me).
The icing on the cake is that the Rays, who got forearmed in the groin and suspended for being involved in the fighting took all of their suspensions as assigned and did not try to appeal them. Coco Crisp, however, appealed his suspension. I don't care why he did so. I just think that if you're going to dishonor the game with cheap shots, a foul mouth and undisciplined aggression, pay the consequences and move on.
Probably, the Red Sox will make it to the playoffs. And if the Angels make it to the playoffs, the Red Sox will probably beat them. But, even if that happens, at least we won't be the ones who gave the game a black eye for playing like a self-indulgent, narcissistic street gang.