April 12, 2018

Several Sportswriters Claim The Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry Had Disappeared, But Now Say It Has "Officially" Returned

Nicholas Parco and Mike Mazzeo, Daily News:
The rivalry is officially back.
Jason Mastrodonato, Herald:
The bad blood is back.
Who in their right mind seriously thought the rivalry had disappeared?

As JoS's Schadenfreude posts reveal, every New York sportswriter covering the Yankees rips various hometown players and managers from time to time for their failures and other assorted nonsense. But in the wake of last night's brawl, they lost any and all objectivity.

Mike Vaccaro, Post:
Four innings earlier, Austin had been on first base after an RBI single. Tyler Wade bunted, Austin slid hard into second base, maybe a little late, maybe with his spikes a little too high. For 125 years, this was known as a "clean play." In 2018, players sometimes take exception. Boston's Brock Holt took exception.
No. This has nothing to do with Holt's personal opinion about Austin's slide (though he did think it was dirty). As Vaccaro surely knows, there are now rules forbidding base runners from certain types of slides that were legal in years and decades past. Vaccaro may disagree with these new rules - I think they are excessive - but he should acknowledge their existence, and understand that the legality of Austin's slide was the issue. As Holt confirmed, after the game...

I probably said something I shouldn't have to start the whole thing. I'm sorry for that. I just wanted him to know it was a bad slide. I think everyone on the field knows that it was.
Kelly, after getting in a few blind punches, found himself wrapped in matching peacemaker bear hugs from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and maybe it was the thought of what that tag-team duo could've done to him that made him insist afterward, "I was just pitching inside," which was about as believable as a Paul Lynde bluff on the old "Hollywood Squares."
First, Lynde's last appearance on Hollywood Squares was a mere 37 years ago, so great topical reference, Mike!

Second, Kelly lied for one reason: he doesn't want a big fine and suspension. He is not afraid of the Big Bad Yankees. Stanton and Judge would likely just swing and miss (as they so often do) with their fists.

Third, Austin's claim that "I felt that was a good slide" deserves to be mocked just as much as Kelly's obvious lie. Vaccaro saw the third-inning play live and he saw numerous replays. If he possesses even an ounce of objectivity, he knows Austin is full of shit.

Over at the Daily News, Mike Mazzeo wrote (accurately) that Austin "slid late and hard into second, hooking Holt".
[In the seventh] Austin and Kelly were on the ground exchanging punches as the benches and bullpens emptied, sending anyone and everyone onto the field. Kelly connected more often, leaving Austin with a fat lip and a wrap on his left elbow. ...

Kelly, with scratches on his face, insisted the ball just got away. C'mon, Joe.
Mazzeo lets us know (as Vaccaro did) that he thinks Kelly is lying, but we should take everything Austin says at face value - despite all evidence to the contrary.

Brian Cashman:
There was no reason for fisticuffs ... based on that slide at second base. ... I mean, what are you supposed to do when somebody hits you and then calls you out?
In other words, the Yankees GM believes if you get hit with a pitch, there is no other alternative but charging the mound. However, if a runner spikes you with an illegal slide and then talks shit to you about it, there is "no reason" to react.

The Boston writers were more honest about the situation.

Sean McAdam, Boston Sports Journal:
After Tyler Austin slid past the second base bag and aimed his spikes at the right leg of shortstop Brock Holt, the Red Sox took just four innings before they achieved payback. Reliever Joe Kelly airmailed a 98 mph fastball to Austin's back. ...

Austin feigned outrage and slammed first his bat, then his helmet before jogging purposefully toward Kelly, who assumed a combat stance, all the while inviting Austin to bring it.

In seconds, the two were throwing roundhouse rights, with Kelly seemingly getting in the best shots.
McAdam also pointed out Kelly's "humorous alibi" and noted that at least one Boston player "wander[ed] off script". McAdam quotes Holt: "It shows that we all have each other's back. It shows how close-knit we are in here."

Mastrodonato noted Austin's "questionable spikes-up slide":
Austin was clearly out while Holt kept his right foot on the bag and had no intention of turning a double play. Still, Austin slid with his spikes straight into Holt's ankle, a similar play to the one involving Manny Machado and Dustin Pedroia last year. Holt took issue with the slide and exchanged words with Austin ...

Kelly started him with a swinging strike on a slider, then came way inside on a 98-mph heater but didn't hit him. The next pitch was another slider low. The fourth one was 98 mph and plunked Austin in the back. Austin lost his temper immediately, slamming his bat as he made his way toward Kelly, who motioned Austin toward him. Kelly dodged the initial charge and threw him on the ground as he wildly threw punches.
Also, two Hall of Famers weighed in:

Pedro, Twitter:
The only thing I would had done different than Joe Kelly tonight, is I would've hit Tyler Austin at his previous at bat. Other than that, Kelly executed perfectly
Chipper Jones, Twitter:
U slide in with ur spikes up and catch a piece, ur gonna get thrown at young fella. That's how baseball works.


Jere said...

Today I tweeted out screenshots of eight different stories ***FROM LAST YEAR*** saying the rivalry is back.

FenFan said...

There is a reason these two teams play before national television audiences more than any other pair of teams. The only rivalry that compares in baseball is Cubs-Cardinals, with Dodgers-Giants a distant third. Returned? It never left; with both teams having HUGE fan bases, every game is an event, be it in April, July, or October.

Regarding the fight, Chipper Jones nailed it; you do something questionable, expect a response. I'm fine with the intent to break up a possible DP, but you don't spike a guy in the ankle, and if you do, then you man up and apologize. Austin is clearly a dimwitted ass clown.