Michael Kay has been yapping about this for years as have many Yankee fans. Frustrated by the success that Boston Red Sox designated hitter (DH) David Ortiz has had against the Yankees, they use the metaphore that Ortiz looks too comfortable, needs to have his feet moved, etc. Many Yankee fans state outright that Ortiz should be hit by a pitch (HBP) in the ribs. Baseball being an old sport has many primitive cultural aspects, none more primitive than dealing with a successful opposing batter by hitting him with a pitched ball.
Ortiz record against the Yankees through June 9 and including 1,693 PA with Minnesota (don't know how many against the Yankees): 161 games, 34 HR, 124 RBI, .307 BA, ,394 OBP, .564 SLG, .958 OPS
Ortiz has higher OPS against these AL teams:
Minnesota 1.028 0 HBP
Tampa 1.010 3 HBP
Chicago .983 1 HBP
Texas .963 1 HBP
Cleveland .802 2 HBP
Thursday, June 9, 2011 was the third and final game of a three game series in which the Red Sox had won the first two and the Yankees desperately needed a win. At the start of that game Michael Kay stated that in the season's worth of games that Ortiz had played against the Yankees no Yankee pitcher had ever hit Ortiz. Michael Kay and those Yankee fans who are idiots got their wish. From the Yankee website:
Red Sox enjoy the last laugh
David Ortiz's fourth-inning plunking led to both benches being warned, but Ortiz retaliated the old-fashioned way by singling and doubling in the Red Sox's seven-run seventh, which all but secured CC Sabathia's third loss to Josh Beckett this season.
From my post: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8, 2011 Violence Condoned.
I know Yankee fans, who are otherwise responsible adults, who advocate that Yankee pitchers hit Red Sox DH David Ortiz in the ribs because Ortiz is too successful. Suppose tennis player Roger Federer fired his racket over the net and hit Rafael Nadal in the ribs because Federer cannot beat Nadal on clay? How would that be different?
During the three games against the Red Sox six Yankee batters were HBP. I did not think that any were intentional, judged by game situation, type of pitch and where the batters were hit. For instance two were hit in the back knee by sliders thrown by lefty John Lester to righty batters, one on the back foot by another pitcher.
For last night's Yankee game against Cleveland the Yankee website stated:
Mark Teixeira's second plunking this week -- one pitch after Curtis Granderson's second-inning homer -- cleared both benches and bullpens, but the Yanks got even with the Tribe by scoring in all but two innings to make a winner of Ivan Nova.
Just so you don't think I am soft on HBP, I was incensed when Teixeira was hit in the upper back by 6'4", 230 pound Fausto Carmona. It was immediately clear to me and to the Yankees that this HBP was intentional. Teixeira challenged Carmona, who because of his size advantage, did not back down. Yankee manager Joe Girardi got into an intense face to face shouting match with Cleveland manager Manny Acta. I was screaming at the TV. I wanted retribution. This time cooler heads prevailed. There were no acts of vengeance and the Yankees won easily.
Girardi had been influenced to act differently in the previous game against the Red Sox. To his further discredit at the start of the Cleveland game Michael Kay denied any responsibility by the media, he chief among those calling for Ortiz to be HBP, in influencing the Yankees to hit Ortiz, who agreed with me, that the media did cause the Yankees to hit him intentionally. Kay also emphasized that the Yankee players, including captain Derek Jeter, were proud of CC Sabathia for supposedly protecting his teammates, even though it led to the team's defeat.. Derek Jeter can accept a loss due to a media created need for team vengeance? Shame on the Yankees for being manipulated by people who do not suffer the consequences.
This problem will never be resolved because baseball is so old, so primitive and so resistant to change. The same dynamics will continue to play out again and again in baseball purgatory. I dumped NHL hockey in about 1986 because I thought the NHL was playing me for a sucker with fight ethics that were very similar to those in professional wresting, where fans are supposed to become incensed over ridiculous incidents that result in condoned fights.
From my post TUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2009 Getting hit with the ball (which dealt specifically with batters being hit in the head):
Punishment is the key. Currently, the punishment 99% of the time is that the batter gets first base. Big deal.
Here is some of the traditional crap that I do not want to hear:
- it's part of the game
- pitchers need to pitch inside
- pitchers do not throw at the batter's head
- it's up to the batter to get out of the way.
What is this ancient Rome? Enough already. And, no, the balance will not tip to the batter, not until batting averages top .500.
There may be no greater disparity in team sports than a pitcher being allowed to hit a batter. The batter has no recourse. Instead of punishing the batter for charging the mound, which may be a mismatch depending on his size and that of the pitcher, allow immediate and direct payback. Give the batter a ball and let him chase down the pitcher and fire the ball at him anywhere but the head. Now that would work because it is fair.
This is better than the current payback system, which reminds me of the original 1972 Godfather movie. Sonny sheepishly confesses to his ailing father (Vito) that as acting Don, Sonny's policy has been little more than: "They hit us and we hit them back." Long after Sonny's death Vito tells Tom Hagen: "I thought Santino (Sonny) was a bad Don. Rest in peace.".