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Major League Baseball’s Seedy Undercurrent

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Now that the final game of the playoff series between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins is over, we can all seek retribution against the fan who INTENTIONALLY interfered with the game by seeking to catch a foul ball.

Wow, that is a searing indictment on a person. Call out the vigilantes and get your clubs boys, that fan single-handedly cost the Cubs their bid to the 2003 World Series. It couldn’t possibly have been the unraveling of the Cub’s pitching or the cooling of their bats, and certainly had nothing to do with the Marlins taking advantage of the flustered Cubs.

As a diehard Indians fan, I was cheerfully rooting for the Cubs to break their horrible streak of almost 50 years of missing the Series. I wanted to see them win one for the town, the fans and for their team. The Chicago Cubs are the next best thing to rooting for my beloved Cleveland Indians, and as one Midwesterner to another, I feel their pain at my deepest core.

BUT – I don’t think that we need to send out the death squad on a zealous fan for doing what happens around ballfields all across the nation all season long.

Haven’t we seen enough violence? If it’s not Pedro smacking Zimmer down, or Pedro trying to take someone’s head off, or Pedro being a total douche at every turn, then it’s beating groundskeepers for cheering for their team in the bullpen.

The one thing I have learned to love about baseball is the elegance of it and the showmanship. The dedication to the art of being at your top form with a grueling and demanding schedule. Rivalries are great for baseball, but they need to be tempered with reality – and the reality is this: it’s just a game.

This has been the most highly rate teevee baseball series in recent history, with ratings up over 46 percent from last year. That’s great news for baseball, a sport that can sometimes be overlooked because of it’s ubiquitous nature and long season.

Baseball is the all-American sport. We have heroes that span the century and legendary team histories that add to the excitement – but there is that seedy underbelly of violence that erupts on the field and in the stands during a game that is supposed to be non-contact. Baseball isn’t like football or hockey where half of the object of the game is to beat the crap out of your opponent. Baseball is about using intelligence, finesse and skill to outmaster the opposing team. It’s the chess of sports.

When pitchers like Clemens and Martinez are allowed to gain a reputation as “headhunters” the only people we have to blame are ourselves, the fans. Baseball fans anger and desire to win has squashed our uniqueness when compared to the more violent sports. Our violent society encourages the players to act out our aggression on the field through physical confrontation, rather than outplaying the opponent.

Should a manhunt continue on the fan who “stole” the series from the Cubs in game five continue, as is encouraged here, then we have robbed baseball of the things it has given to us as fans: dignity and integrity.

The game begins and ends on the field – when you leave the stadium it’s over. Let’s bring back what we lost these last two weeks.

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About Dawn Olsen

  • The Theory

    if i was that Cubs fan, I would not have issued that half-assed appology and instead said, “Damn straight I was going for that ball, m*****f****!”

    people are so ignorant.

  • Dawn, don’t be like that bitter, fact-challenged guy.

    Even Don Zimmer has admitted, “I charged him and it wasn’t his fault” and that he was wrong in the scuffle with Martinez. As Joe Morgan reported at ESPN.com:

    Many people, especially Yankee fans, criticized Martinez for flipping a 72-year-old man. But Pedro was simply standing there when Zimmer rushed at him. What was Pedro supposed to do, let Zimmer hit him? I thought the Red Sox ace acted responsibly — he pushed Zimmer aside but didn’t go after him. So Zimmer’s fall wasn’t Pedro’s fault (but the start of the hostilities were Pedro’s responsibility).
    I spoke with Zimmer on Monday, after he had publicly apologized to the Yankees, Red Sox and baseball fans everywhere. I’m a fan and a friend of Zimmer’s, so his apology satisfied me — because it was heartfelt. He was wrong and he admitted it. I told Zimmer that I thought he did the right thing by apologizing, and someone nearby said that Pedro should apologize as well. But Zimmer said, “No, he shouldn’t — not to me, because I charged him and it wasn’t his fault. Pedro was only protecting himself.” So, after the incident, Zimmer took the high road.

    Zimmer’s good character was evident in his apology.

    This is not to absolve Martinez of possibly throwing at Garcia, and definitely not to absolve Garcia and Nelson of the battery that they committed against a Fenway groundskeeper who is also a special ed teacher and who had to spend a night in hospital.

    Finally, these people who criticize Martinez while defending Clemens (who almost killed Piazza) are a wee bit hypocritical.

    Craig seems to be sincere in his hope that a line drive smashes into Pedro’s head tonight. He is a bitter, fact-challenged maniac.

  • Dawn: If it’s not Pedro smacking Zimmer down

    Looked more to me like Pedro was sauntering out onto the field and Zim came charging like a bull and Pedro sort of stepped aside to avoid Zim’s left punch and olayed Zim to the ground.

    Those that want to watch it can visit this page click the video link and judge for themselves.

    Just as that Cubs fans reacted instinctively to that foul ball, I think Pedro acted instinctively with Zim, as many folks reading this would have done the same. 72 yr old man or not, nobody wants to get punched in the face.

    However, I do think Pedro is a headhunter, but so is Clemens. I’m looking forward to the game tonight to see if they really do wage war. Zim and Pedro aside, that scrum was pretty lame. And don’t even get me started on how the pitch that started that wasn’t even that inside.

  • Kyle Beilke

    Of course Pedro throws inside, I don’t know about headhunter, but he doesn’t care if he hits someone who is crowding the plate. That is the way a pitcher should pitch. That is half the reason that Clemens, Pedro, and Prior are such good pitchers. It is that they don’t care if a batter gets hit, they will still throw inside. That keeps the batter off-balance. Also fighting and brawls are part of the game no matter what you say.

  • bhw

    Pedro doesn’t just brush back and accidentally hit batters who crowd the plate. When the batters start getting hits off him, he starts targeting them [or their teammates] with the ball. Completely different scenario.

    Pedro should have been tossed from the game for pointing at his head and then at Posada and basically threatening to throw at Posada’s head the next time he came up to bat.

  • Kyle – I never said anywhere that pitchers shouldn’t pitch inside. They should 🙂

    I was saying that the fight wasn’t even a fight and the pitch that started the fight wasn’t worth all that. Lots of times those guys empty the benches and go out and just shove each other around with one or two guys dropping some f-bombs and getting emotional. It’s usually not anything like your standard hockey brawl.

    Other than that, I agree with the rest of your commentary 😉

  • Eric Olsen

    Very nice job Dawn! Of course now things have turned out the worst they possibly could have: Yankees and Marlins. I hat ethem both, but hate the Yankees more. I can’t believe both Dusty and Grady screwed up so badly, leaving their “stud” starters in way too long. that’s what the fucking bullpen is for, you dipshits. the game isn’t about sentimentality, it’s about winning – that’s why Torre wins: he doesn’t care who he pisses off as long as they win. God, I hate them.

    Neither the Cubs nor Sox deserved to win: if they had they would have. Both choked when it counted – what else is new?

  • wanna start a pool? how many hours till grady little is fired?

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t think they’ll fire him because he got as far as he did, but who knows when the Sox will be in that position again. They’re never going to beat the Yankees in the regular season so they’ll always have to win the wildcard. I cannot express to you how sweet it was when the Indians beat the Yankees in ’97 to go to the World Series. Of course then they couldn’t beat the pissant rented Marlins. At least this Marlins team is real.

  • i congratulate the red sox on a fine season.

    i do believe that grady little will and should be fired–the team will need to move on, and he does deserve to be canned. i have never seen a game of that magnitude SOLELY decided by managerial incompetence, but last night was about 99% grady and 1% pedro’s ego.

    with THAT bullpen, all he needed to do was put timlin in to start the 8th. a pox on anyone stupid enough to wield the curse cliches–torre beat little should be the headlines.

    and it turns out pedro was psyched out, just not how people expected–his ego kept him wanting to go as far as possible regardless of the team.

    starter gets thru 7IP with 2ER, bullpen 2-2/3 and 1ER, they score 5 runs, and they lose?

    they won’t have another chance like this with this edition of the team.

    how do the yanks spell relief? M-A-N-A-G-E-R.

  • Dawn

    I won’t be watching this series.


  • Eric Olsen

    Agree Chris and Dawn, although of course I will watch because it’s the World Series no matter what dickless teams are in it.

  • The team became the part of Eastern Division of the American League with its roots in the Bronx, New York City.