Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Intense or Irascible

Baseball requires unique skills that unfettered passion may not enhance. In other words, punching a guy's lights out because you're a hothead doesn't make you a better player. Julian Tavarez comes with plenty of baggage, without loading up the train against, of all people, Tampa Bay.

We know that occasionally brawls make a difference. Bill Lee's injury sustained in Yankee Stadium certainly was a setback. Jason Varitek's 'glove tap' to A-Rod launched the Sox toward a championship in 2004. But most of the time, there's a lot of shoving and not much accomplished.

It doesn't have to be this way. I'll call him the 25th man. Each team would employ an 'enforcer', whose job would be to spar with the other club's enforcer when 'appropriate'. If a brushback or worse happens, the fans would give the traditional 'thumbs up' sign, and the enforcers would meet at the pitcher's mound to do baseball battle. By definition, the enforcers are not premium players, and they would get a maximum of 30 seconds to 'get it on', before the 'riot police' would come in and restore order. Here's the tricky part. For the 'fight' to happen, both managers would have to authorize it, which would mean an automatic one game suspension for each manager, and of course, ejection for the 'enforcer'. So, is retribution good enough, or does the manager eat the suspension, too?

The logical Bosox candidate out of the box is Wily Mo Pena. So we've got 'Mohammed Wily', or 'Wily Mo Punches', or 'Mo Pena for you' as monikers. The fact that Pena is about as big as a house and probably hits as hard as an anvil means that the Yankees would have to send out at best one of their drug-enhanced long-ball brothers. Of course, maybe Steinbrenner would put Brian Cashman on the roster to take some physical abuse with all the mental abuse he's absorbed.

But what if the managers won't send out their Bad Boy? Well, then the stakes go up. The next beanball tossing manager gets an automatic three-game suspension and his pitcher an automatic six game suspension. Sometimes you've got to take your medicine.

Okay, so I haven't got all the bases covered. What if a new round begins after the first combatants have been tossed? Easy, then you've got seconds. And if a third round is necessary, just ask Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

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