Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Understanding The Game

Scott Proctor was pinched by the man and raked over the coals by people who know nothing about baseball.

Everyone knows the story: It started on Friday night when both dugouts were warned after Kei Igawa knocked down Ichiro Suzuki. Hideki Matsui and Alex Rodriguez were both hit on Saturday. Then things boiled over on Sunday when Josh Phelps leveled Kenji Johjima on a play at the plate and Jarrod Washburn hit Phelps in his next at bat. Proctor then buzzed a fastball behind Yuniesky Betancourt.

Proctor was thrown out of the game, words were exchanged and the dugouts and bullpens emptied. That should have been the end of it. But that’s never the end of it these days. The etiquette police from Major League Baseball’s Park Avenue offices gave Proctor a four-game suspension and broadcasters have been criticizing him for the last two days.

Proctor did exactly what a baseball player should have done and so did Washburn and Phelps. There are too many people analyzing baseball that know nothing about the game.

Baseball isn’t about being nice, polite or even rational. Baseball is about winning and about being tougher than the other guy. Anyone who doesn’t understand that should stick with more gentile pursuits like golf and yachting.

Major League Baseball is played by tough men. They weed out the softies on the playground and send them off to be broadcasters or commissioners.

Proctor may get locked up and criticized by people who aren’t tough enough to do his job, but in the Bronx we appreciate the way he plays and so do his teammates. That’s all that really matters.