In 1881 the future National League wanted to upgrade its image and target a more upscale fan base by doubling ticket prices, banning gambling, and outlawing alcohol sales. Several team owners who happened to be brewers refused to accept the new rules and banded together to form what would eventually become the American League. The National League attempted to discredit the new league by dubbing it the Beer and Whiskey League. This, of course only made the new league more popular. Duh!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Don't Be a Dick

April 6, 2005. Wednesday night, top 8, Safeco Field. Nick Punto on 3rd, Luis Rivas on 2nd (running for Justin Morneau, who had been struck in the helmet by Ron Villone), Matt LeCroy on 1st. Jacques Jones at the plate. Jones hits a fly ball to right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Punto tags from third. Dan Wilson bobbles the throw from Ichiro, and while doing so throws his leg into the baseline, forcing Punto to choose between getting tripped and leaping awkwardly toward home plate; Punto chooses the latter, missing home plate entirely. Punto does score, howver, because Wilson doesn't bother to look back to see him scrambling for the plate like a catfish on a driveway. So: trying to trip a guy who's running toward home plate is not a nice thing to do. I agree. But then Twins broadcaster Dick Bremer, refering to an incident between the Twins and White Sox last year, makes the following statement:

You know, when I saw that the first time, the first flashback I had was Jamie Burke, who was in a similar spot when Torii Hunter came home in Chicago and some people had the audacity to criticize Hunter for running into the catcher; you see a catcher pull a play like that, and if you're the runner, you've got--you're well within your rights to clean out the catcher.

Talk about a false analogy. Here we are in Seattle, with Dan Wilson whipping his leg into the baseline and Dick is using this as proof that Torii Hunter was beyond reproach for bowling over Jamie Burke. In Chicago. Last season. It's clear that Mr. Bremer will (still) go to nonsensical lengths to defend Hunter's actions, even if it means bringing the incident up out of nowhere and suggesting that Burke whipped his leg into the baseline last year, which he did not.

Despite Mr. Bremer's assertion that Jamie Burke was in a "similar spot" last season as Torii Hunter came down the third baseline, let us recall that Jamie Burke last year, unlike Dan Wilson this week, did not have the baseball; furthermore, let us recall that Jamie Burke last year, unlike Dan Wilson this week, was neither in the baseline nor blocking home plate; and finally, let us recall that Jamie Burke last year, unlike Dan Wilson this week, did not in any way extend any part of his body into the baseline in an attempt to trip or in any other manner waylay the progress of Mr. Hunter, who himself took a step toward first base in order to lay a full-body blow on Burke, who never saw it coming--again, because he did not have the ball and was not blocking the plate.

It seems that Mr. Bremer believes that when "you see a catcher pull a play like that" (referring to Dan Wilson, this week) it serves as proof that any runner, at any time, regardless of the circumstances, is within their rights to "clean out the catcher." Among the people who "had the audacity to criticize Hunter for running into the catcher" was Twins fan Aaron Gleeman. You can read his comments here.