A Few Thoughts Before Round 4 (Burkett/Wells).
1. Karim Garcia admitted he went into second base with the intent of hurting Todd Walker: "I was very upset with them throwing at my head, so I was going to take somebody down. Unfortunately, it was him. I have nothing against him. I let my emotions take over. If it wasn't him, it was going to be someone else." And: "No doubt I went to the bag to get him." And: "Walker was upset. ... But once someone hits me, I've got to hit somebody back."
Pitchers have been fined for saying they intentionally threw at hitters in retaliation. How are Garcia's statements any different? If Garcia keeps his mouth shut, Walker doesn't yell back, Posada and Zimmer don't start yelling at Pedro, Martinez doesn't gesture towards the Yankees dugout and Ramirez is less likely to think Clemens is trying to hit him. And if all that doesn't happen, the bullpen fracas probably doesn't occur also. If MLB is going to fine players, they should start with Garcia -- and Zimmer.
2. Zimmer rushed out of the Yankees dugout, "veered away from an angry cluster of Sox red and Yankee blue in front of home plate, charged and swung a left hook at [Martinez]." Another account: "Zimmer ran aggressively toward Martinez, who grabbed the 72-year-old by his head and threw him to the ground in front of Boston's dugout."
Martinez: "I could never hit him, I would never do it. I was just trying to dodge him and push him away and (it was) too bad his body fell. I hope he's fine. I was shocked, really shocked." Martinez's move was purely defensive; he did not slap or punch Zimmer. He pushed him off to the side in an ole type of move and Zimmer's momentum carried him tumbling into the grass. If he wasn't so old and fat, perhaps he would have been able to stop himself from falling.
When Derek Jeter and Clemens saw a bald head, they both thought it might have been David Wells. ... Mel Stottlemyre: "The fact that he [Zimmer] was hit in the head, he gets pretty upset because he'd been on the other end of that." Anyone remember how upset Zimmer was when Roger Clemens drilled Mike Piazza in the head in 2000? [Mike Lupica thinks Clemens has amnesia because he said: "Just because you're being hit around doesn't mean you get to stick one behind somebody's head."]
By the way, what game was MLB's Doug Miller watching?" "Mr. Martinez ... picking on senior citizens isn't very becoming of you. ... Don Zimmer was wrong to run on the field to take a shot at you, but ... [y]ou could have very easily subdued him with a friendly hug to calm him down."
3. The fight in the bullpen. Paul Williams, a Red Sox groundskeeper, celebrated a double play to end the Yankees 9th inning and waved a towel towards the center field bleachers to get the fans cheering. Jeff Nelson took exception to this, words were exchanged and a fight broke out. Scott Williamson said Williams was "sucker-punched." Garcia ran over, leapt the short fence and also got involved. Garcia said he only pushed Williams, but when asked about his bloodied left hand wrapped in a towel (he left the game and was replaced by Juan Rivera), he said he had no idea how he had gotten hurt. ... Williams apparently had cleat marks on his back and arms and was taken to a hospital. The Boston police are investigating and may file assault charges against Garcia and Jeff Nelson.
The New York tabloids (here and here) are hilarious in their portrayals of Pedro as "psycho" and a "punk." I don't expect their sportswriters to be as "fair and balanced" as Fox (cough), but every single "news" story is an opinion piece. Many of the articles, while acknowledging that assault charges may be filed against two New York pitchers, paint the Yankees as rising above the ugliness and the Red Sox as boorish losers. [This is an exception.]
More later, possibly, as I go through the papers.