Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On Posada and Basebrawls (postgame notes 15 September 2009)

I admit it.

Brawls, fights, whatever you call them, in the right time and place do not bother me.

Hockey is only second to baseball in terms of my love for the sport, and fights have long been part of the game. I like to see guys drop the gloves, play with a little intensity and bring some color to the game.

Don't blame me, I'm a Devils fan.

While baseball brawls, for the most part, play out like senior proms compared to hockey fights, I generally don't have too much of a problem with them. They can make a boring game a little more entertaining.

Then the fight happens to you or your team, and you realize there are very negative consequences.

The "fiery" Jorge Posada, as he's known, had every right to be peeved when Carlson threw behind him, but it should have ended there.

Be at the center of a baseball brawl, and two things happen: 1) you risk injury, and any injury in mid-September is likely to be season-ending, and 2) suspension.

Let's take these two in turn.

1) Injury.

This is by far the biggest issue. The Yankees are where they are right now because, for the most part, they've managed to stay healthy, or as healthy as you could expect a team with a LF, 3B, SS and other assorted on the wrong side of 30.

Even if it was just Posada that got hurt, it would still be a tremendous blow--I point you verily in the direction of 2008.

At the very least, those other teammates that rushed into to the fray put themselves at risk, too. While I understand that Shelley Duncan is unlikely to make the postseason roster, what the heck is Joba Chamberlain or any of the pitchers thinking when they are in the fray?

It'd be one thing if this was a last place team going nowhere, but the Yankees are legitimate contenders. They cannot, right now, risk anyone getting hurt. There's too much riding on it.

2) Suspension

In hockey, you fight and you get a five minute "major" and, barring extenuating circumstances, it ends there.

Baseball, alas, is not hockey. Fights come with suspensions.

If we look at Kevin Youkilis's six-game suspension for going after Rick Porcello, Jorge Posada might expect similar. The good news is that with September call ups, Jose Molina and Francisco Cervelli can split the catching duties as may be and neither will get too worn down. The bad news, however, is that all of a sudden the Yankees miss Posada's bat. The Yankees still have to go back to Seattle and Anaheim, which makes this an even less pleasing scenario.

There are two camps out there.

There's the camp that think the Yankees need to act with class and never retaliate, and then there's the camp that thinks the Yankees should retaliate, and the team should literally fight on occasion.

Normally I'm in the second camp, but this late in the season, with so much riding on it, Posada's actions hurt the team tonight and for the upcoming week.