Ryan Dempster Plunks A-Rod; Puts MLB in Tough Spot
I am not an Alex Rodriguez fan. I don’t claim to be. Personally, a part of me wants him banned from the game if and when he is found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs, although I know he is not the only guilty one. I am not an Alex Rodriguez fan but after what transpired on Sunday night in Boston, I found myself pulling for him, if for only one night.
Boston’s starting pitcher Ryan Dempster found himself in the middle of the spotlight last night when he decided he wanted to take aim (literally) at the controversial slugger. While A-Rod fights to appeal the suspension that Major League Baseball has handed down, Rodriguez is drawing ire from fans and players around the league. Until Sunday night, nothing had escalated on the field between current players and A-Rod until Dempster decided to “send a message” to the Yankee third baseman. After firing a fastball behind him earlier in the at-bat, Dempster drilled Rodriguez on a 3-0 pitch that caught the slugger on the left arm ensuing chaos on the field.
Benches cleared, warnings were issued and an irate Joe Girardi was ejected and standing alone by himself was Dempster who in an effort to “send a message” actually backed MLB into another controversy and a tough decision to make. MLB now has to decide what sort of disciplinary action that it should take against the pitcher? On one hand MLB can sit idly by and not suspend or fine Dempster but this presents a problem. If MLB decided not to reprimand Dempster, Rodriguez’s lawyers could be able to make a case that MLB is unfairly targeting A-Rod and it would strengthen their ongoing defense to try and overturn his suspension. Also, what sort of message would it send to the rest of the players around the MLB? That it is okay to target a player? That the MLB will support the intentional drilling of a player?
On the other hand, the decision to discipline Dempster isn’t quite so easy either. If MLB decided to step in an either hand down a fine or suspension to the Boston starting pitcher, they will essentially be defending the player they are trying to so hard to rid themselves of.
On Sunday, Dempster appeared to try and play bull and send a message to Rodriguez of how he felt about the PED scandal surrounding the Yankees third baseman. On Sunday, Dempster tried to play up to the booing of the crowd and the emotions that ran rampart though the Boston night air. In the end all he ended up accomplishing was to stir up even more controversy for MLB and for a brief moment, fill that Boston night air with a homerun off the bat of the same player he plunked just a few innings earlier. If Dempster is so eager to send a message to another player, maybe he should try to strike them out instead. I bet MLB would appreciate it.