Home > Game Recaps, MLB > Game 118 Recap: Anarchy in the US

Game 118 Recap: Anarchy in the US

Highest WPA: Jacoby Ellsbury, .201
Lowest WPA: Aaron Cook, -.265

I’m not even going to pretend I’m the type of fan who’ll watch any craptastrophe because it involves “my” team, so I can’t really speak much to the specifics of the game. I know Aaron Cook had his ground ball/BABIP mojo working until it suddenly ran out in a 5-run 6th, and I know that only one batter managed to get on base more than once.

But I’m taking on this recap because yet again, I’m seeing the Red Sox criticized for caring when umpires screw up. Sure, sometimes a frustrated player just attributes blame to bad calls instead of his own bad day, but when that’s not the case, it’s disgusting and mind-boggling that someone would still urge the player to be silent. Case in point: the Twitter confusion (and worse) at Adrian Gonzalez’s ejection in the 8th.

Gonzalez, to all appearances, argued after grounding out that Pedro Strop had quick-pitched him. Even MLB Network failed to properly understand the argument at first, but it’s spelled out quite clearly: Rule 8.01(b) Comment: With no runners on base, the pitcher is not required to come to a complete stop when using the Set Position. If, however, in the umpire’s judgment, a pitcher delivers the ball in a deliberate effort to catch the batter off guard, this delivery shall be deemed a quick pitch, for which the penalty is a ball.

So yes, there’s a judgment call there, with which arguing is not permitted. But I’m still dismayed at the reaction – even from Red Sox fans! – implying that Gonzalez was in the wrong for not just accepting a call that, were it permitted, would almost surely be corrected with review (especially based on review of Strop’s prior deliveries); it’s willfully ignorant of the rules to suggest otherwise. I’ve seen this attitude in the latter days of Youk’s time in Boston, when he would complain about balls and strikes; we’ve seen it recently with Red Sox fans actually disliking the players for expressing dissatisfaction with their owner. Hell, it ties right in with the deep resistance to using technology to improve the accuracy of umpires.

When and why have people stopped caring about getting things right? Does “sportsmanship” require that athletes check their opinions at the door and silently accept the mistakes of those in authority? From umpires to owners, the attitude seems to be the blind respect of hierarchy. In some respects, it makes sense that pro athletes would fall into this – in general, they share the low levels of education and high levels of religiosity seen in the armed forces, and might find such a “chain of command” almost second nature.

But what’s the excuse for the fans? Bad calls (or Bobby’s bad managing) aren’t singlehandedly tanking Boston’s season, but why do so many expect these mistakes to be taken in stride instead of pointed out and fought stridently? It seems that to many, it’s a greater sin for a player to object than a higher authority to screw up. If Red Sox fans advocate blind compliance and cohesion, why not just throw some pinstripes on the uniforms and demand Saltalamacchia get a haircut?

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  1. August 15, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    The haircut part is probably coming sooner rather that later, just as soon as we dump those horrible malcontents that are dragging the team down. Just imagine how many games we’ll win when Lester, Beckett and Gonzalez are all on other teams!

    • August 15, 2012 at 11:04 PM

      Once again, I think I might welcome this sort of forceful slap in the face from the team. The slow descent still has me clinging to fandom and telling myself they haven’t completely abandoned what drew me to them.

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