On losing faith

competition gone mad - competition gone bad

I’ve faithfully followed the progress of the Boston Red Sox throughout the 2003 season. Wins. Losses. Slugfests. Pitching duels. Blowouts. Marathon extra inning games. Triumphs. Defeats. Joys and sadness.

However, after last night’s game at Fenway, I’m losing faith. This isn’t due to Boston’s loss to the Yankees, but rather the out of control craziness and escalating violence in last night’s game three of the pennant series with long time arch rival New York Yankees. The Faith that is being tested is not that of either team or of any individual player or players, but that of the very Institution of the Sport of Baseball.

Clearly there were mistakes and indiscretions made by members of both teams. Boston’s Martinez shouldn’t be head hunting. Retaliatory pitching by the competition is equally despicable. Boston’s Ramirez should not have left the batter’s box; bat in hand, toward the mound and New York’s Clemens. Martinez shouldn’t have gestured “head shot” to Posada. If Zimmer had to leave the Yankee’s dugout and go on the field, it should have been to herd players back to the dugout and not to attempt a foolhardy shot at Martinez. And Garcia shouldn’t have taken a sucker shot at a Boston groundskeeper in the Yankee’s bullpen.

Fines are in order for individuals on both teams: astronomically high, substantial fines. And the sooner the better.

The game is baseball and not ice hockey. This is a sporting event in the United States, not Europe. European soccer matches frequently include moments of abject mayhem resulting in not only bloodied players, but bloodied fans as well.

Unless some very serious fines get levied in the wake of Saturday night’s game at Fenway, I suspect that there will be more frequent and increased violence on the fields and in the stands of American “sporting” events where “games” are played.

And who knows? If fines aren’t levied, perhaps in the future when some sports announcer reports the day after a big game, “the Yankees slaughtered Boston 10-2”, the verb “slaughtered” will be literal and not figurative.