Whining, Complaining, and Cheap Shots Mar ALCS
This ALCS is a farce. This is not because of the lack of run support by the Tigers offense or because of the meltdown in our pitching at key times. No, it is because of the unsportsmanlike actions of the Boston Red Sox, whose frustrations have been played out at times on the field in dramatic fashion.
I have been keeping a diary of the ALCS on the MotorCity SportSwami Facebook page. I have listened to every game, watched replays, kept score, and paid attention to every detail. So far, all I keep seeing in the online communities is the Red Sox Nation whining about the supposedly large strike zone since ALCS Game 1. The FoxTrax Strike Zone is VERY accurate, and it shows that there have been maybe three questionable pitch calls against the Red Sox in the first five games. There have been more than 20 questionable calls against the Tigers. But, I don’t see our fans complaining. Also, during the first game, the players of the Red Sox continued their assault on umpiring crews. These umping crews have talked all season long of the constant arguing of balls and strikes by the Red Sox players and coaches. Yet, the umpires have not once in this series ejected anyone for it. Though, twice during the regular season, I recall Miguel Cabrera getting tossed for asking “What?”, then saying an unprintable 8-letter term for a bull’s feces. The players seem to question every pitch and even some calls. Then, we get to the actions of their catcher David Ross in ALCS Game 5. In my opinion, his actions were totally unsportsmanlike, deserving of a suspension: one we will never see.
Colossal Collision at the Plate…
Every player in baseball, especially those in the American League, knows that Alex Avila missed more than two weeks in August from a concussion. Concussions are a serious business. Yet, while trying to score, Ross felt it was necessary to lower his shoulder into the head of Avila, causing a colossal collision in the second inning of ALCS Game 5. A concussion serious enough to sideline a player for more than two weeks can have effects that last for a few months, this is well known and documented. This is especially true among catchers. Ross appears to have attempted to injure Avila, with a malicious intent. Avila’s bat has helped us out a bit in this series and his defense also has been solid, so could it have been a tactical move to rob of us of some depth and leadership? As if the shoulder to the head wasn’t enough, the following inning, Ross fouled a ball back right into Avila’s mask. Though it is debatable if he could have done anything to prevent the foul off the mask, the first action – the shoulder to the head – should never have happened. But, there is no rule in existence protecting a hit to the head on a catcher.
Avila’s injury is listed as a sprained knee. However, I never saw or heard of anything of a knee injury from this play. I suspect the diagnosis is to give him a legitimate reason to rest, while avoiding any mandatory time off there may be for a second concussion in two months. Meanwhile, Ross and the Red Sox have taken a 3-2 series lead back to Fenway after a 4-3 loss by the Tigers in Game 5. This could have been a game that ended differently, if All-Star Avila had not been knocked out by a cheap shot from a no-name player.
Major League Baseball and the umpiring crew in the ALCS need to step up and apply the rules of the game to the Boston Red Sox for their poor and unsportsmanlike actions in this series. No matter what team wins, I still see this series as tainted. The final result, will be flawed. The Tigers deserved a fair shot, as did the Red Sox. The Red Sox lost that when they chose to take their whining a step further and apply it with a brutal and physical force. Baseball is not a game of cheap shots. If it was, we would put Ndamukong Suh at first, just to keep opposing batters off of the base.
THE ALCS DIARY:
Check out Swami’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MotorCitySportsSwami and go to his Notes which are found in the Apps section. Inside, you will see a diary of each game along with his thoughts on the two off days during the ALCS. If the Tigers go on to the World Series, he plans on continuing this diary. If it is a success, plan on seeing it back next year for the preseason, regular season and playoffs.