Wow, even the MLB.com front page has headlines posted regarding the Elliot Johnson-Francisco Cervelli home plate collision in yesterday’s Rays-Yankees game. Don Zimmer has responded to Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s comments on how the play should never have happened. Zimmer, a senior advisor with the Rays, who once coached Girardi with the Yankees, had this to say in his reply:
"It stunk. Somebody said on the bench when it happened
that Girardi looked like he was angry. Now I took it that he was angry
because his man got hurt–not because anybody did anything wrong.
That’s the way I took it, knowing Girardi. And somebody on the bench
said he thought Girardi was mad because he bowled him over. I said,
‘No, I don’t think so. That’s not Girardi.’
"Then when I pick up the paper this morning, I was dumbfounded.
[Cervelli] blocked the plate. What happens if our man slides in with
the plate being blocked and breaks his leg? … I am surprised the way
Girardi said what he did. The plate was blocked, and our guy bowled him
over. That’s the way to play the game. I mean, I’m talking about a guy
who is like a son to me. But I can’t believe he went after it the way
he did, because that’s not Joe Girardi–and being a catcher on top of
Well, maybe that wasn’t Joe Girardi, but when the pinstripes are on and the price is right, that becomes Joe Girardi. He just thinks his precious little Yankees are too good to be played too hard. Don Zimmer, as surprised as anyone else, is right. It’s the right baseball move to try knocking the ball away from the catcher as opposed to a futile slide attempt that can snap an ankle–just ask Robin Ventura. This reminds me of the New York Giants being criticized for playing starters against the New England Patriots in the regular season finale (and we all know how that turned out)–like NFL coach Herman Edwards says, "You play to win the game." If you don’t want your players being at risk everyday as they are, get out of the business. Arms snap, knees tear, and catchers get hit. It’s in the game–unfortunately so, but it’s accepted. At least by everyone not called the Yankees.
I’ll be back later when more news breaks, and until then, go Rays.