There’s no room for boxing in baseball
Other than TV news, sporting events generally are among the few things that blare from the living room TV screen in my home.
I frequently comment to my husband about how lucky we are to have a common love of sports. If we didn’t, come game day (i.e., every day), things could get mighty uncomfortable in our home.
Don’t get me wrong. Household comfort levels still become questionable this time of year. You see, I grew up in western Pennsylvania, a fan of the NFL team with a steel curtain defense. Hubby grew up in northeast Ohio, rooting for a team that, for reasons I’ll never quite understand, uses a little elf to represent strength and toughness. But I digress.
Athletics truly are all about good competition and sportsmanship.
My husband and I enjoy splitting time between the Guards and Buccos MLB teams. He enjoys NBA basketball. I’m not big on basketball, but I sometimes still watch. And we both enjoy watching the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Despite cheers from rabid fans, I admit I don’t necessarily enjoy when NHL players drop their gloves and start pounding on one another in what somehow has become an expected and even desired hockey tradition. I usually roll my eyes, and if we happen to be taking in a game at Pittsburgh’s PPG Arena, I’m usually the one sitting in my seat as everyone around me is jumping to their feet and roaring in delight when such a spectacle breaks out on the ice.
I understand it’s all part of the game and represents the ruggedness of hockey players. But, call me crazy, I still believe sports overall is a demonstration of one-upmanship that should be decided with mutual respect, skill and overall athleticism. It’s not about who can more quickly knock an opponent off his feet.
That’s why I was so disappointed when Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians’ rock star third baseman, began duking it out with White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson in the sixth inning last Saturday.
Ramirez slid into base; Anderson stood over him for a moment longer than necessary. Ramirez got up shouting, and the next thing you know, they are squaring off like a couple of heavyweight boxers, exchanging punches right there on second base. Anderson planted a few quick jabs. Ramirez responded with a solid punch that landed Anderson on his back. Benches cleared, and a ridiculous 14-minute melee ensued.
Ultimately, Ramirez and Anderson were ejected, as was Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase, manager Terry Francona and third base coach Mike Sarbaugh. Also tossed was White Sox manager Pedro Grifol.
In a post-game interview, newly acquired Guardians pitcher Noah Syndergaard made a ridiculous suggestion that the MLB should consider “going to the NHL approach and just letting the guys duke it out.”
Really? Because physical violence solves everything, right?
In the days following, the story made the NBC nightly news. I’ve read it was the talk of baseball clubhouses all over the MLB. And social media was awash with video replays of the takedown, memes and what presumably were altered photos showing Ramirez wearing boxing gloves and holding a championship boxing belt.
As expected, suspensions were handed out. Ramirez got three games off. Anderson got six games off — more than Ramirez’s penalty apparently because he struck first. Others involved in the brawl each received one-game suspensions.
To be clear, though, this whole scenario is disappointing because, as a fan favorite, Ramirez is admired not only by adults, but also by very impressionable youth.
To be fair, Ramirez did show public remorse, releasing a statement that said, in part, “I want to say to the public that I deeply regret what happened between me and Tim Anderson, whom I consider a very good baseball player … as always, my goal is to help my team to win and reach the postseason. I want to thank everybody in my organization, my teammates and all my fans for their support during this process.”
Ramirez said he’s tried to contact Anderson to apologize. He said Anderson hasn’t responded.
To me, that says more than the fight.
As the saying goes, there is no crying in baseball.
There also is no room for childish behavior, hot heads and boxing in baseball.