Yelling at an infielder who’s trying to make a play.
Baseball has rules against baserunners interfering with fielders. In part, these rules are designed to keep order, but also to minimize the chance of injury; fielders have to concentrate on fast-moving baseballs.
Several years ago, in an obvious and illegal way, Alex Rodriguez (“A-Rod,”) while running the bases, slapped at an infielder, and was penalized for it.
Now he has invented a new way to interfere: yelling at an infielder who was trying to make a play. Apparently he got away with it. For now.
The setup: Yankees winning, 7-5, two out and two on, top of the ninth. Jorge Posada pops up to third. Howie Clark camps under it. Rodriguez trots by and yells “Ha!” (according to him). Clark thinks it’s the shortstop, John McDonald, calling for the ball. He backs off, the ball drops to the turf, the inning continues, and the Yankees score three more runs.
I asked Alex what his intention was, and he said, “To win a game. We’re desperate.” Later, he said, “I didn’t know what my intention was.” (I also asked Derek Jeter for his opinion on the play, and he wanted no part of the question.)
Rodriguez’s intent was obvious to the Blue Jays and the Yankees alike. Just as he did when he tried to slap the ball from Bronson Arroyo’s glove in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, Rodriguez was trying to give his team an edge however he could.
“He said, ‘Hey,’ when he was behind Clark,” [Toronto manager] Gibbons said. “The timing was perfect. The third baseman thought the shortstop called him off.”
Baseball has a way of taking care of things like this. “Brushback” pitches and the like. But if the rulebook doesn’t cover it, then it needs to be changed. Because when it happens in the seventh game of the World Series, there is no “next-day” payback.
Baseball fans and players call this “bush league;” I call it peeing on the great rug of baseball.