Ever since Ryan Dempster drilled Alex Rodriguez Sunday night, triggering a Yankee comeback against the Red Sox and sparking a polarizing debate throughout MLB, baseball’s cognoscenti have been debating not only the efficacy of Dempster’s decision but also what it means for A-Rod and his now apparent bizarre, topsy-turvy martyrdom.
We live in strange times in the sports world. Obvious wrongdoers become saints. Old school gunslingers taking the law into their own hands are excoriated. Both sides blame the other.
Today MLB Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Dempster for five games and an undisclosed amount of cash for intentionally throwing at and eventually hitting Rodriguez. Unless Dempster appeals the suspension begins Tuesday evening.
Dempster’s next scheduled start would have been Saturday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers but because the Red Sox have an off-day on Thursday, they could simply skip his spot in the rotation rather than have, say, a Brandon Workman make a spot start. The Red Sox could pitch Jon Lester on Saturday and Jake Peavy on Sunday, both of whom would both be on regular rest.
In any event, in my mind it’s clear. It was an incredibly stupid thing that Dempster did. His defense that he was simply pitching A-Rod inside is indefensible. Two-near misses, one behind the batter and an eventual bullseye isn’t pitching inside. It’s clearly intentional and qualifies as using the baseball as a weapon. I also understand why he did it.
Alex Rodriguez is one of the the worst things that’s happened to baseball in my lifetime. His arrogance, disrespect for the game and narcissistic self-indulgence far eclipse his achievements. He cares not for the fans, the team for which he plays nor the integrity of a game that a great many players in the league do their utmost to uphold every day while he spits on it. It’s only about A-Rod. I wish he’d simply go away.
But he isn’t going away, at least until the appeal of his suspension is struck down – and it will be struck down – and he exits baseball for a good long while. It might not be the 211 games MLB wants but he’ll nevertheless be neutered and muted. The sooner and longer the better.
I don’t want to see anyone injured by a thrown baseball. I also don’t want the game I love to be bruised and battered any more than it has been in the last two decades. Dempster deserves his punishment for doing one seriously dumb thing in an otherwise unblemished if unremarkable career. Alex Rodriguez will continue to smear a stain on the fabric of baseball for as long as he remains in the game.