Friday, July 09, 2010

Stranger in a Strange Land


Plenty surrounding baseball makes no sense.

  • When hitters batter a pitcher, it is 'expected' that the pitcher can 'retaliate' by brushing them back. At times, the "purpose pitch" causes life-threatening injury, as in Jack Hamilton's beaning of Tony Conigliaro. Batters don't charge the mound when the pitcher dominates...
  • Baseball managers wear uniforms. We don't see Doc Rivers, Bill Belichick, or gawd fawbid Bill Parcells suiting up in their team unis.
  • Pitchers aren't supposed to show up hitters with the fist pump, but the 'home run trot' has become a home run walk for some.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury gets a petulant 'walk off' in Arizona because of injury.
If Ellsbury can't play, the fans understand. You can't swing the lumber with high torque, or dive after flyballs, crash into walls, or break up the double play when you're INJURED. Nobody disputes that Ellsbury has injuries, well documented rib fractures. I remember that we literally had to order an athlete not to play (under penalty of violation of the Uniformed Code of Military Injury)  because of injury. But Kevin Youkilis' questioning of Ellsbury's absence becomes the equivalent of Colonel Nathan Jessep ordering a 'code red' in A Few Good Men.

The Sox have plenty of gamers, Youkilis out there day after day, Dustin Pedroia playing with a sore knee, and Mike Cameron playing with an abdominal hernia. All Youkilis did was state the obvious, that Ellsbury's absence has a strange and foul odor to it. Is it therapy or petulance?

We all want Ellsbury to return as soon as possible, and we look forward to a healthy and productive outfielder. But it's not too much to ask him to remain part of the team during his recovery.  The team fields a strange lineup day after day, and Ellsbury has become a stranger in the strange land.

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