- Updated: July 5, 2008
This post is a bit late due to a recent death in the family. So here we go.MLB recently received two black eyes due to the incidents in Houston between Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon and GM Ed Wade and the other incident also being in Houston, but this time on the visitor’s side between Red Sox LF Manny Ramirez and Boston’s travelling secretary Jack McCormick.
The Houston Astros Incident
The Astros incident arose when Chacon had a physical altercation with his GM where the player shoved his GM to the ground. The ESPN story tell of how the GM Wade asked the player Chacon to come into the manager’s office (Cecil Cooper) when Chacon proceeded to shove Wade to the ground during an a confrontation when Chacon refused to enter his manager’s office.
The Boston Red Sox Incident
The Boston incident was another argument that ended with the shoving to the ground of a club employee by a player. This time it was over tickets. A team’s travelling secretary is the person who can get players tickets for family and friends on the road, when possible. The players usually get allotted tickets for each road game and it is the job of the travelling secretary to act as the team’s concierge. This time Ramirez had asked for 16 tickets on game day and when McCormick told him that it might not be possible.
The ESPN story, based on the original story in the Providence Journal, said that a confrontation began and ended with Ramirez shoving McCormick (who’s around 30 years older than Ramirez) to the ground. Ramirez has since apologized and the team has said to have handled this incident internally.
Personally, I have no problem with these teams penalizing these players. In fact, in the case of the Red Sox, I don’t think that they were as strict as they should have been with Ramirez or if they were, they kept it very quiet. Ramirez recently had an altercation with teammate and Red Sox 1B Kevin Youkilis in the Boston dugout during a game against the Rays where Ramirez slapped Youkilis in the face. Given the fact that the team has explored their options of parting company with the left fielder in the past (they had once tried to release him outright a few years ago, but no one claimed him) and these two incidents and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do not pick up the club option for him for 2009.
In general, I am disturbed at how professional athletes, who are in the public eye, behave. To me, although they are just regular people with special athletic ability, they should still be more aware of their influence on society and therefore, handle themselves more appropriately. Now maybe I’m speaking like the father of six that I am, but also as a fan of the game who wants to see it played with respect, these incidents concern me. If I care about the sport, they should concern me. Most younger players don’t seem to have as much respect for the game as players once did. Maybe it’s the money or maybe it’s the agents, which indirectly is also about the money or maybe it’s just how teams and ownership treat the players now given the higher investments they have in their product as opposed to in years past.MLB is getting stricter with its drug policy and the next step should then be a crackdown on incidents like these in an attempt to protect the integrity of the game from its reckless youth in which it relies so heavily on. Maybe the minors should implement a program on the history of the game with an emphasis on a healthy respect of the game that we all love.
What do you all think?
UPDATE: Former WBZ sports director Bob Lobel said Thursday that Manny Ramirez was fined “a six-figure amount” for his June altercation with Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick.
Lobel went on the suggest that Ramirez may have taken three straight called strikes in a pinch-hit at-bat on July 6 “to send a message” to the Red Sox. “The bat on the shoulder for the three pitches from Mariano Rivera, that was a big [expletive] to the Red Sox after the fine,” Lobel said. “I’m just telling you, there are things in the front office that are perceived. I’m saying that there is a strong feeling that that [three-pitch strikeout] was the message to the Red Sox and it’s a strong feeling that that’s unacceptable.”