Is it just me or did I just witness a little slap action in a Red Sox game?
And nah, I’m not watching the incident with Alex Rodriguez slapping the ball out of the glove of Bronson Arroyo in 2004 on ESPN Classic. It’s the slapping attempt that no one is talking about. Not one soul on ESPN is talking about it, surprise surprise. Even when the incident happened, FOX didn’t even acknowledge it. Granted that’s because Tim McCarver can’t see past his bottle of Johnny Walker this time of year,but it doesn’t excuse the ommission. They all veered away from that one like we all do that “crazy uncle” at our family reunion.
I’m talking about the slapping attempt one Dustin Pedroia took at Victor Martinez in the top of the first inning of Game 4 of this years ALCS. And before any of you Massholes (that is a complex term describing diehard Red Sox fans in the greater Boston area fyi) try to claim he was just sliding into first to avoid the tag just look at his hands and then sing that song. Only Cecil Fielder and Greg Luzinski took the “belly flop” approach on a head first slide in recent years.
Pedroia is constantly being described by many to be a “scrappy player”, even earning the nickname “Scrappy Doo“, while A-Rod is vilified as a “choker” and “Mr. April”. I’m with you on all of that. However, none of that changes the obvious. Most sane people would call bullshit on a “media double-standard”.
When the A-Rod slap incident happened, the Yankee fan in me hoped against hope that the umpires got the original call “right” and A-Rod was safe at first. I shook off the slap attempt after the legal call was made and I didn’t think about it… that is, until FOX talked about it a bit after it happened. Then, the media picked up the story and ran with it. The incident still follows him, earning him the nickname “Slappy” from the Boston Dirt Dogs blog, and adding to the animosity he has received in the past few years.
In fact, if you quickly do a Google search on “Alex Rodriguez slap”, you will find numerous articles written by supposed professionals that were more than willing to pile on the corpse that was both A-Rod and the 2004 Yankees.
I watched the highlights of Game 4 of this year’s ALCS on ESPN a couple of times. There was no mention of Pedroia’s slap attempt. I was surprised then and am still surprised now on why this incident hasn’t gotten at least some coverage. There is no mention of it in the ESPN recap of the game and there was no mention on how Pedroia’s play was bush-league in any way. Yankee fans haven’t made a nickname for Pedroia yet (though “Slappy Doo” seems rather fitting), and unless the media chooses to run with the story, Pedroia’s A-Rod-like slap attempt will probably fade into the distance.
I understand that Pedroia isn’t exactly a lightning rod for animosity that Alex Rodriguez is. Pedroia is a rookie and some people may give him some slack for that. Not me. I refuse to give him any slack for that for two main reasons:
1. Anyone who has followed baseball, especially the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, can tell you about the A-Rod slap and the biggest post-season choke in baseball history. In fact, I am sure that Pedroia was one of the millions who watched Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. If you know something was illegal and you know that people all over the country (and world) are watching the game you’re playing in, why try and perform that action? I thought Dustin Pedroia would know better, but I guess not.
2. After sliding into second base, Alex Rodriguez allegedly took out the slap happy wee man at second base on May 21st that Pedroia characterized as “cheap.” Pedroia was quoted as saying this (from The Providence Journal):
“It was kind of late,” said Pedroia after the Sox’ 7-3 win. “He kind of threw an elbow. It was kind of cheap, but it was no big deal. I play second base and we play the Yankees 19 times. So I know now when he comes in to get my arm slot to drop to the floor.”
If Pedroia thought that slide was cheap, I wonder: what is his opinion on his own slapping attempt?
The fact of the matter is that the slapping attempt will most likely not get any more media coverage, aside from a few blogs here or there. It was the first batter of the game, and he was out at first base anyway. The attempt didn’t even make contact with Martinez’s glove. The Red Sox ended up losing 7-3 and, like the Yankees after the game with A-Rod’s slap attempt, the Red Sox are one game away from having a disappointing end to their season.
However, questions still arise from this: Why hasn’t the media cried foul against Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox for “cheating”? Could it be that ESPN, Fox and others have yet to get over their disdain for the Yankees? It doesn’t quite seem that way from where I sit.
Pedroia took a page out of A-Rod’s past history and made it his present. Dustin Pedroia’s play was indeed the definition of a “cheap play”, though I could guarantee that no one in Red Sox Nation (including ESPN’s headquarters that lie in the heart of said commonwealth) will acknowledge it as such. Double standard? Most likely. Bush-league? Without a doubt.