I realize this post may seriously endanger my Canada cred, given that baseball is probably the most American thing ever, but so be it.
Last night, Boston Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp was hit by a pitch coming from Tampa Bay Ray’s pitcher James Shields. Crisp then proceeded to throw his helmet off, charge the pitchers mound and punch Shields in the head before getting tackled to the ground by Rays Catcher Dioner Navarro and wailed on by the Rays’ Jonny Gomes. Both dugouts proceeded to empty as what seemed like every member of both teams attempted to pull the three grown men off each other (although I suspect most of them were just looking for an excuse to get rough.) The result was eight player suspensions; three Red Sox players and five Rays Players with the longest suspension, seven games, delivered to Crisp himself.
Now, baseball fights have always weirded me out. When players fight during Hockey games it’s pretty standard (and, I suspect, encouraged.) Football is basically one giant fight and don’t even get me started on Rugby, but baseball fights have always been weird. I suspect the reason for this is the “All American” qualities associated with Baseball players. The sport is, after all, “as American as mom and apple pie,” therefore I suppose it’s players take on, at least in the eyes of the viewer, some relatively wholesome attributes.
Therefore, witnessing these men acting in a decidedly violent manner is slightly unsettling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as null to violence as any member of my generation, so it isn’t the fight itself (which wasn’t even that brutal; just a giant pig pile really) that was so unnerving, which leads me to wonder about the status of the players themselves in society. Growing up in this country, it was always baseball players more than any other athletes that were always meant to be perceived as heroic and unilaterally GOOD. The kinds of people they were when the uniforms came off was inconsequential; in uniform they were expected to be holier then the pope. Therefore, watching what essentially amounts to human nature was a lot like watching Superman finally cornering Lex Luthor and using his x-ray vision to slice Luthor’s head off and then throwing the body into the sun.
That having been said, Shields hits like a pansy and Crisp is surprisingly brutal for someone who legally changed his name to ‘Coco’ earlier this year.