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A victory for the reality-based community


Alex “Chop Whiney” Rodriguez, subsequent to his straight-outta junior league T-Ball cheap shot in Game 6, wondered why you can bowl over a catcher but why “his ploy was illegal.” An irony he’ll be able to ponder all winter. The umpires “changed the momentum.” Sure, Alex, it’s all everyone else’s fault. Look, when you do something like that and get caught dead to rights, you go to the dugout and you feel shame.

But Rodriguez’s pathetic behavior does open up an illuminating contrast with the team that humiliated him. Terry Francona did some screwy things, but he deserves all the credit in the world not listening to the idiots telling him to bench or demote Johnny Damon and Mark Bellhorn. Only a moron thinks that 6 bad games mean more than many seasons of evidence that you’re a fine hitter. People were all over Bellhorn, a very fine player who strikes out a lot, because he looks bad when he’s in a slump. Which, if this were figure-skating, would be relevant. But there’s no aesthetic merit in baseball. Benching him would be like Bush firing Lawrence Lindsay because he didn’t tuck in his shirt properly and told the truth about war costs. Good for Francona for not listening to the armchair Bushes out there.

I won’t say any more, because Wolcott says it so well:

Last night’s tension-packed Red Sox-Yankees game was not only thrilling but inspiring. Inspiring not only because Curt Schilling gave one of the great hang-tough performances ever on the mound. Not only because the Red Sox once again refused to buckle in enemy territory. But because the umpires made you believe there were still men of integrity to be found.First, they reversed themselves on Mark Bellhorn’s leftfield drive, first called a double even though the ball had clearly sailed the leftfield fence and caromed off a fan. The umpires conferred and Bellhorn was awarded the home run he deserved.

Then they reversed the original safe call of Alex Rodriguez at first base, calling him out for slapping the tag out of the pitcher Bronson Arroyo’s hand. (On replay, Rodriguez’s guilt was so blatant–you could see him looking at the ball before slapping it–his professions of innocence earned him a guest spot on Inside the Actors Studio.) This was the decision that provoked missile debris raining from the raging stands and prompted Red Sox manager Terry Francona to pull his team off the field until security could be tightened.

Twice, the umpires set aside their professional egos, practiced true collegiality, erased a mistake, and did the right thing, risking the wrath of Yankee fans. Think how rare that’s been in the Bush-Cheney years, admitting error and correcting it–taking the right stand after making the wrong stand. Last night the umps reminded me of a better America I’d almost forgotten we’d had, one where reason every once in a while prevails.

To Terry Francona and Curt Schilling, Johnny Damon and Mark Bellhorn, Joe West and Randy Marsh, this Guiness is for you.


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