SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Saturday, August 06, 2011

Punk Move by Giants' Catcher Eli Whiteside in SF Tonight

Eli Whiteside might have thought that he was going to star in the first coming of Jackass, the Baseball Game tonight in San Francisco. The Giants' journeyman catcher (and that's not a compliment) could have hurt someone tonight -- and badly -- because he acted wrongly, dangerously and stupidly after his pitcher, Ramon Ramirez, started a bench-clearing brawl by hitting Phils' CF Shane Victorino in the back with two on and two out in the top of the sixth with the Phillies leading 8-2.

Ramirez was clearly headhunting -- the pitch was that bad. So what did Whiteside do after Victorino gestured toward Ramirez and took a few steps toward him? He moved in front of the plate -- which would have been okay had he wanted to simply stop something from escalating. But then he started jumping up and down, as if he wanted to start something and as if he wanted to start a fight. You'll see the replays and agree with me on this -- Whiteside was an escalator, not a peacemaker, and then the benches emptied and things got ugly -- lots of pushing and shoving, a few people falling, and someone could have gotten seriously hurt. As it was, Ramirez, Whiteside and Victorino were ejected, and the Phillies lead 8-2 in the top of the seventh. Now 9-2, as Hunter Pence just jacked one to left.

But what was Eli Whiteside thinking? There are ways to fire up your team, and there are ways to get your (very much sliding) team pumped up -- but picking a fight after your team made a dirty play is not one of them. And the Phillies have a lot of big guys on their roster, and they're not going to back down against anyone, especially a team that had their number in the post-season last year and with whom there's been bad blood. Thankfully, no one got hurt.

I am sure that there will be suspensions. My guess is that Whiteside will get the biggest one for his pro wrestling-like hijinx, Perhaps his manager, Bruce Bochy, likes his moxie, but Whiteside has guaranteed one thing -- the next time he comes to Philly, he'll join the roster of players who will get loudly booed -- alongside the Brothers Drew, umpire Joe West and Scott Rolen.

And with good reason.

These organizations are better than this. They should stick to playing baseball and leave the fighting to those who get paid to do it for a living. If the umpiring crew does it's job, it will ensure that the tensions simmer over the course of this and the next two games.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All he did was tackle the idiot running in to fight

2:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one who will get the biggest suspension will be victorino for push the umpire you aren't supposed to touch them and he clearly pushed him around and the pushed him off to the side

2:39 AM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Thanks for your comments.

1. I beg to differ with the first comment. Whiteside could have prevented the escalation by simply standing between Victorino and Ramirez. Instead, he started jumping up and down in a "You Want a Piece of Me?" kind of way, thereby putting gasoline on the fire.

2. All will get suspensions. Ramirez clearly threw at Victorino; Whiteside escalated the whole thing and then Victorino made it a little worse by trying and succeeding to escape the grasp of those who tried to restrain him and getting back into it. My guess is that they all get 5 games, for the following reasons: 1) the League will want to stop the bad blood between these teams; 2) you can't have a pitcher hit someone in the back trailing 8-2; 3) you can't have someone act like a pro wrestler and encourage all comers; and 4) you can't have a player escalate the fight by refusing to be restrained. I don't see how you differentiate the behaviors, especially in this rivalry.

Still, I blame the Giants for the entire thing. Ramirez started it, and Whiteside escalated it. Their actions preceded Victorino's, which is why they should be held as much as, if not more, accountable.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that Whiteside escalated it, but Victorino not only pushed an umpire, he tackled a coach that was trying to break it up. All three will be suspended, but he'll catch the longest. I guess a career minor leaguer like Whitey decided this was his only way to leave an impression with his 15 minutes of big league fame. Weak tackle too.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy above saying Eli was minor league player is just jealous that he cant play. I know Eli and he is a good guy. Things get heated in a game especially against a rival. The guy above sounds jealous. As far as it being a weak takcle. Why dont you face him. He would kick your butt.

5:26 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Thanks to everyone for their comments.

Here's the thing: these are two very good teams, and it's August, they're competitive, and things just got out of hand, so much so that even good, decent people can do things that they regret. Bottom line is that this was a fight where no one got hurt, so that's a good thing, but as a paper this morning pointed out, the suspensions will hurt the Giants more. The reason -- they're in a close race, and they'll lose perhaps three players to suspensions (the videos show Pablo Sandoval taking swings at people). The Phillies will miss Victorino, but they're up 9 1/2 on the Braves right now, and John Mayberry, Jr. can fill in ably while Victorino is gone.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should change your name from SportsProf to Phillies Phallator.

2:51 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

You are entitled to disagree, but not in this fashion. Try elevating the level of discussion or take your cheap, profane shots somewhere where they might be appreciated.

6:33 PM  
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