Don’t put me near a word processor when I’m mad

Posted on 03.12.08 11:01PM in Rays, baseball, letters

I am livid.

Recently, the Rays and Yankees have had sort of a feud because one of our guys came in hard to home plate in an attempt to make the catcher drop the ball (a completely normal and very exciting play in baseball, I might add). Well, long story short, the catcher broke his wrist and now Yankee nation (and only Yankee nation) has been whining about it for a week. You can see the story here.

Today, the Yankees retaliated by hitting our top prospect with a pitch and then sending a man to slide into second with his foot aimed directly at Aki’s balls. This did not sit well with Jonny Gomes, who is known to be absolutely insane, and a brawl started. The Rays won the game. Story here.

Well, I am angry. So angry, in fact, that I’m sending the Yankees a letter regarding my anger. We shall see if I get a response (I wouldn’t count on it):

Dear New York Yankees,

I’m writing today to address an issue that has recently come about between your Major League Franchise and my hometown team, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Recently, there has been much hubbub regarding a recent play at the plate involving Elliot Johnson and your now-injured catcher Francisco Cervelli. It escalated into a difference of opinion, with your beloved Joe Girardi saying that you should not play so hard in spring training and the rest of the world disagreeing with him. I guess it’s just a difference of opinion: one man says spring training is to get players in tune for the real season (because, you know, Francisco Cervelli is obviously an odds-on favorite to be the catcher for the New York Yankees on opening day), and another man says that spring training is a grounds upon which players can prove their worth to the organization and hope for a spot on the big-league club (I might point out that with Rocco Baldelli’s newfound illness, Mr. Johnson’s chances of joining the club have increased heftily).

If, as Mr. Girardi suggests, the proper spring training etiquette is to play spring training games with one’s starters in the beginning five innings of a game and just roll over and play some ill-conceived version of cricket for the remainder of the game, I move that the New York Yankees should reduce their ticket prices by 4/9. It’s only fair.

But then, I would rather violate a porcupine than subject myself to a stadium full of Yankees fans.

However, this is not the point I wish to write about today.

No, you can consider this letter a formal complaint about the actions of the spring training contest between these two teams that took place today, March 12, 2008. I will specifically list my grievances as follows:

1. The obvious attempt of Mr. Shelley Duncan (who, might I add, has an adorable name) to severely injure or otherwise hurt Mr. Akinori Iwamura while sliding into second base was classless and completely unnecessary. Outfielder Jonny Gomes retaliated, thus inciting a “brawl” on the field. (I use this term lightly because, frankly, baseball fights are outrageously relaxed. I say we should give them all knives or something and see who the stronger team is. I’ll give you a hint: it’s probably you guys – steroids, you know.)

2. It is crystal clear that this was a premeditated affront to Mr. Iwamura’s testicles. Fearing a brawl or possible suspension, Mr. Girardi did not have New York’s star players in the lineup. No Rodriguez, no Jeter, no Damon. What a pleasant coincidence that they didn’t make the trip to St. Petersburg!

3. Interestingly enough, pitcher Andy Pettite was scratched shortly before the game. And wouldn’t you know it – Evan Longoria was hit by a Heath Phillips pitch in the first inning. Curious, wouldn’t you say?

There you have it. As a personal note, my least favorite baseball team for a good while has been the Red Sox. Thanks to Mr. Duncan and Mr. Girardi, the Bronx Bombers have now taken that place in my heart. So, congratulations! I know how fond your organization is of being number one.

I hope you actually got to this point in my letter. I respectfully request that I be mailed with correspondence noting that someone has actually read this letter. An apology on behalf of your organization would be nice, as well. I don’t expect either, though; a classless organization such as yours should not be held to such rigorous standards of decency.

Heck, you can have Hank call me if you want. My phone is always on.

Thank you for your time, and please remember that while I severely dislike your team (and by association your fans, your players, your employees, and your city), they are welcome to Tropicana Field at any time. I love watching the Yankees lose.

Casey A. Peterson

Read Comments

  1. Posted by Don’t put me near a word processor when I’m mad | Major League Baseball News on 03.12.08 at 23:14:27

    [...] *sociallyconsciousbird created an interesting post today on Donâ [...]

  2. Posted by George P on 03.13.08 at 17:56:05

    Casey this is great!!!
    I give the Bombers a few props for the Billy Crystal thing.
    Talk to ya soon.


  3. Posted by nyyfaninlaaland on 03.14.08 at 02:16:21

    Casey –
    we’ve not communicated before, but I came here from a link at DRaysBay – a site I frequent despite being a Yanks fan because I enjoy the baseball conversations.

    Contrary to what you may believe about Yankee fans, some of us can be reasonable and literate. I’ve been going through this tete-a-tete with your fellows over there as well, so I thought I’d comment. Just wanted to perhaps offer a little perspective. I know perspective and sports controversies rarely go hand in hand, particularly between opposite sides, but here goes. By the way, one of the reasons I choose to answer, since I agree you’re unlikely to get a response fronm the Yankees organization, is because my name, like Mr. Steinbrenner Jr., is Hank.

    The start of this rhubarb, of course, was the play in the 9th in Tampa last weekend, where Elliott Johnson ran into Cervelli in an attempt to dislodge the ball and avoid being tagged out. A perfectly legitimate instinctive play – assuming the plate is completely blocked like Rays fans repeatedly insist – in a normal baseball game. One that Carl Crawford also made a few days before, which Joe Maddon, an admittedly good guy, praised at the time as the way we play ball. We’re playing to win. Now many peeved NY’ers have snarkily cracked about the relative importance of winning in the first 2 weeks of spring training (my personal fave was “March Maddon-ness”), but teams do play to win at all times. The question comes down to this specific approach – bowling over catchers in spring training. Girardi, a 13 year major league player at catcher, says he doesn’t think that’s what’s done in spring training because of the risk of injury. Not to not play hard, but don’t go for intentional full speed body contact. So he claims he instructs his players not to do that in spring. Maddon, also a catcher in his baseball career with 47 games at A ball, differs in his approach. And some have chimed in on his side – notably his mentor Mike Sciosca, a plate blocker par excellance in his majors career. But contrary to your comment re “the rest of the world disagreeing with him”, there have been corroborating statements, not that anyone wants to come out and criticise a fellow manager in the press, particularly his former boss. To me, this a play best left for the regular season when the games really count. Curious that teams don’t practice this particular play in spring when they work on all aspects of their game. Why? Well, because their players might get hurt! Gardenhire of the Twins pointed out that they run no contact plays and don’t play the infield in in the spring, despite the utility of practising such tactics. Why? Because winning isn’t the focus in spring, and you might have collisions at the plate on such plays, where someone might get hurt!

    But let’s just agree to disagree on that.

    Let’s cover your points.

    1) While I don’t agree Duncan’s attempt was to injure Aki, I completely agree the play was stupid and dangerous nonetheless, and shouldn’t have been done.

    Duncan pulled a similar approach in a regular season game last season – going in to 2B “overzealously”. Was this an attempt at payback? Very likely so. Did Girardi support his player? His initial reaction was he had to look at the replay. To continue I’ll quote a leading Yankee journalist :

    “Joe Girardi said yesterday that if he saw a replay that showed what Shelley Duncan did was dirty, he would have a meeting with him.

    Girardi and Duncan met this morning.

    Duncan said later he didn’t want to talk about the meeting. Let’s see, 2 + 2 …

    “We talked,” Duncan said. “Whenever you have private conversations with people you like to keep it between them.”

    Duncan said he saw the replay. “When you do something, it never looks the same as what you thought you did,” he said. “So it didn’t look the same as what I thought I did.”

    Asked whether he would do the same thing again, Duncan paused. “A lot of time situations don’t repeat themselves. … When you have a walk with the manager he’s going to give you things to learn from that’s right or wrong, whatever his viewpoint is. That’s what we talked about.” ”

    Now, you can choose to believe they were conspiring on what to do against the Rays when they play on Saturday – but I suspect Duncan might be playing in the other split squad game the Yanks have that day. An attempt to cool things down, or another Yankee dodge? I’ll let you decide.

    2) the affront to Aki’s testicles. If you actually look at the sequence of photos, Duncan’s spikes hit Aki just above the knee. The somewhat more inflammatory photo making the rounds with Duncan’s foot somewhat higher actually followed impact as Duncan rolled to his right to start to get up. You can see the infield dirt from the impact above Aki’s right knee in that photo. Not to defend Duncan – he still overdid it. This is just for the sake of accuracy.

    And typically, a visiting team sends no more than 4 starters to a road game in the first 2 weeks of spring. The Yankees had 6 there. Damon had a bruised foot from a foul ball. Jeter and A-Rod were allowed to stay in Tampa and play with Billy Crystal.

    3) Andy Pettitte was scratched due to elbow irritation – this was announced the morning of the game. He won’t pitch again in a game until next Tuesday. The fill-in starter, Phillps, was scheduled to pitch in the game, and had been a starter most of his career (almost completely in the minors). He was the scheduled long reliever, thus the obvious choice to start. But he apparently chose to hit Longoria, the 7th batter, with 2 runs in, 2 runners on, and 2 outs, when he was struggling with his control, and despite the fact both benches had been warned before the game started meaning an immediate ejection. Thsi may suggest at least the possibilty of an alternate explanation. By the way, he was so effective at hitting Longoria the pitch was actually caught in position by the catcher Posada (one of those stars the Yanks supposedly chose to keep home).

    Given your very fairminded and so well thought out approach in your correspondence, I’m sure the Yankees will getting back to you forthwith.

  4. Posted by nyyfaninlaaland on 03.14.08 at 02:26:56

    By the way, after checking your profile – wanted to see if you too could knock over a catcher running full speed, and you probably could – I appreciate your tastes.

    Don’t think I’ve heard someone your age who knows who Steve Goodman is – I haven’t listened to him for many years. I’ll have to get my son, who’s your age, to pull a few tracks off an old album of his and put it on CD for me now that he’s taken my LP’s and turntable.

    See, we can agree and disagree. Rodney King would be happy!

  5. Posted by Ian on 03.16.08 at 03:39:19

    It is clear to me that this fellow is not a true Yankees fan. He appears to be able to (1) read, and (2) write, (3) intelligently. Perhaps we can convert him…

  6. Posted by *sociallyconsciousbird » Blog Archive » Another post based on my hatred for the Boston Red Sox on 05.07.08 at 21:18:33

    [...] may as well write another letter to yet another Major League Baseball team, right? This is in the mail as we speak. Let’s see [...]

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