Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down
2006-03-28 05:34
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Late last week, Buster Olney wrote what we're likely to see at the Yankee-Sox cirucs this year:

There are so many new players -- new relievers, in particular -- on the two teams, and they will tend to be overaggressive in reacting to somebody's getting hit by a pitch in this rivalry. It will be as if Kyle Farnsworth and Julian Tavarez and the others joined a fraternity fight, they know all their new house brothers are watching and they feel a need to demonstrate their toughness. There's almost no doubt that they will have incidents this year, and you almost can assume that Farnsworth or Tavarez or [Taynon] Sturtze will be in the middle of something.

Farnsworth and Sturtze come across like bouncers jacked-up on Red Bull, and Tavarez has the looks of an old-timey bad guy. All that is missing is a mustache for him to twirl as he ties the girl to the train tracks. Even our old pal Beth, a Red Sox fan so devoted that she is generally willing to make apologies for the most boorish BoSox behavior, is having a hard time finding a place in her heart for Mr. Tavarez, who was involved in an incident yesterday with Joey Gathwright of the Tampa Bay Rays.

For all of the hysteria and hype that accompanies the New York-Boston rivalry, both teams have entertained us with a riveting and dramatic brand of baseball for the past four years. Sure, there have been ugly moments, but let's hope things don't get uglier just because they can. Sox and Yankee fans tend to bring out the worst in each other, but lets hope that the two teams continue to bring out the best in each other and remind us how thrilling the rivalry and the game can be.

2006-03-28 06:29:10
1.   bp1

I'll agree to a point, but there comes a time when enough is enough. As has been noted here many times, the Sox are ahead of the curve as far as doling out beanings. Sometimes you turn the other cheek. Sometimes you stand up for yourself.

The ultimate revenge for A-Rod last year after all the off-season harping from the Sox was the monster home run off Schilling in July. That's the sort of "stand up for yourself" we need more of this year, but if we gotta brush Big Papi back a couple times, well then so be it.


2006-03-28 06:41:34
2.   Beth
//All that is missing is a mustache for him to twirl as he ties the girl to the train tracks.//


2006-03-28 07:08:16
3.   sam2175
If the MLB does not step in, and does not start taking disciplinary actions which really penalizes such behavior on field, I really want the Yankees to let loose it's primary intimidator. No, I am not talking Kyle Farnsworth, I am talking Randy Johnson.

For some time now, only one team has used such boorish tactics on field as a strategic device (Red Sox), and got away with it due to the ridiculous disciplinary policies of the MLB. While Alex's idea that the players brings the best out of each other is a noble one, the Red Sox contingent has been more interested in playing to the rabid gallery of their fans rather than letting their sublime skills speak for themselves. So be it. If they want a full-fledged beanwar in this free-for-all, let it be so. This shit is getting tiresome, let's make it so bad that the MLB is forced to take serious note of it. That seems to be the only way that grown men could be convinced that at the end of the day, it is just a game, and not a means to satisfy the public's bloodlust.

2006-03-28 07:30:34
4.   Dimelo
I just think back to Chris Rock: we can't keep making excuses for some people that do stupid things, maybe they are just crazy. Julian is fucken crazy.

He reminds me of that one crazy Dominican dude nobody messed with in the Heights because he'd snap at any moment. You'd always see him in the bodega playing dominoes and laughing, then his wife would talk to some random dude and he's just flip like a pancake. Or somebody bumped his cab while trying to get out of a tight space, there goes Julian beating the crap out of some poor old dude. The only thing missing is seeing him with one of the little Budweiser cans and chilling on a corner dancing bachata, whistling at the big-booty Dominican ladies, and giving a mean stare at every dude that crosses his path. Yeah...Julian is straight crazy. From looking at the pictures, Julian also punches like a little bitch.

2006-03-28 07:44:31
5.   unmoderated
a LOTNS reference? sweet.
2006-03-28 07:53:42
6.   Knuckles
This stuff is getting tiresome. Two new Red Sox cause moronic incidents on consecutive days in Spring Training. Howzabout to satisfy this supposed bloodlust, we have tag team fights between 2 Yanks and 2 Sox fans behind home plate before each game this year? Just let them beat the piss out of each other for 5 minutes, then get on with the ballgame. Maybe that will satisfy the punks in the stands, and make the players realize how dumb it really is.

Can we talk about Yankee baseball? Specifically Zito/Harden/Loaiza/Haren vs Randy/Moose/Chacon/Wang? Danny Haren scares me a bit- I just have a gut feeling this is the year he goes off.

2006-03-28 08:06:19
7.   Sliced Bread
Hooligan Tavarez might be better at throwing punches than pitches.

His career line against the Yanks wouldn't intimidate anybody:

13 games, 15.2 innings, 30 hits, 17 runs, 14 earned runs, 8.04 ERA, .417 BAA.

.313 BAA at Yankee Stadium

Bring the impotent rage, Jules.

2006-03-28 08:11:37
8.   Beth
i'm ready, willing and able to admit that julian tavarez is a waste of space. i have also publicly stated i am appalled at schilling's beanings (and comments after the fact) earlier this spring, and i was also more than a little irritated at beckett for his stunt vs. philadelphia. and as alex noted and many of you personally know, i'm not the kind of fan who normally concedes the flaws and wrongdoings of my boys in red.

so, yanks fans, how about we meet halfway--let's stop pretending that the red sox are the only team that has ever seen behavior like this. let's also not be so naive as to actually put forth ideas like the "rabid gallery of their fans" being to blame for anything players do on the field. please. especially now that kyle farnsworth is on your team, you're in a bit of a glass house. also, when you admit yourself that rj is your team's "best intimidator" with pitching inside, and call for him to exact your vengeance, saying the sox are the only team guilty of HBP--or the only one with a "rabid gallery of fans"-- is talking out of both sides of your mouth.

i believe i've had this debate to no avail on this site before (speaking of tiresome). but i still maintain that as long as both sides keep doing the "it's all YOUR fault" thing, someone is definitely going to get hurt. apparently some people would rather see that than admit they, or the players they root for, might be in the wrong.

2006-03-28 08:24:42
9.   Cliff Corcoran
Not only don't I want to see these two teams fight, but I'm not even sure I want to see them play one another any more. Over the past four seasons the Yanks and Red Sox have met head-to-head ninety times, 90! That includes 14 ALCS games. Any guesses as to who has the better record in those 90 matchups?
2006-03-28 08:30:26
10.   Rob Gee
9 The Yanks have to win by virtue of 2002 and 2003? The suspense....

What's the breakdown by year look like?

2006-03-28 08:37:14
11.   Shaun P
I'd rather see baseball than beanball or boxingball, personally. The powers that be on both sides (Torre and Tito) ought to tell the macho enforcers to sit the hell down and shut the hell up. Or else. If those two guys don't have enough clubhouse capital to make that threat stick, something is really messed up.

I don't care who's at fault as long as it ends, and quickly. Lately talk about 'the rivalry' has made me sick as opposed to excited, mostly because its become so over-hyped, especially the whole Damon thing. If a brawlfest-factor is added to it, that's taking it way too far.

I will now take Knuckles' fantastic suggestion in 6. I'm not expecting a classic Unit game from Unit on Opening Night. I hope he pitches well, and certainly the A's are suspect against a great lefty like the Unit, but the cold weather factor concerns me.

I also hope the Yanks face Loiaza in the third game, and not Haren who is certainly a better pitcher. I imagine that Bernie DHs on Opening Night, which is probably OK, but I hope he isn't the DH for the entire series. That's probably wishful thinking on my part. My gut just tells me that Phillips has a much better chance of hitting Harden than Bernie does.

2006-03-28 08:42:05
12.   atc
Without looking it up, my guess is 45-45

10-9 yanks 2002
10-9 yanks 2003
4-3 yanks 2003 alcs
11-8 sox 2004
4-3 sox 2004 alcs
10-9 yanks 2005

2006-03-28 08:44:35
13.   wsporter
Without looking my guess is that they are tied? I have gotten to the point where I get so damned tense that I can't watch anymore. I just don't enjoy it. When I was a kid they were consistently beating the crap out of us then we returned the favor a little latter on. Through it all, and never before that according to my uncles and father has the relationship been so contentious or nasty as it is now at the fan level at any rate.

Cliff I'm right there with you. Not only don't I want to see the guys fight I 'm tired of the tension level. Does it have to be the apocalypse every time they play? Maybe it's just the ESPN/CNN age we live in but Christ it sucks the joy out of it. Plus and I think this bugs me as much too, its easy to call for a bean ball war when it's not your head the batting helmet is sitting on.

2006-03-28 08:44:40
14.   Cliff Corcoran
ATC wins!
2006-03-28 08:46:29
15.   Cliff Corcoran
Meanwhile, why has the discussion of the A's rotation not included Blanton? Did I miss something? Is he not their fourth best pitcher?
2006-03-28 08:55:58
16.   Rob Gee
Wow - good stuff. I think the tie-breaker has be the 1-0 score in terms of Serious titles. Biatches - at least I have eleven years of great April to October baseball to keep me warm at night. My doom and gloom probably has its basis in the thought that these golden years HAVE to end at some point.

Can it be April 3rd already?

2006-03-28 08:59:10
17.   Knuckles
I initially thought it was a four game series (all the Yankee games are in my Outlook, and the Wednesday night game carries into Thursday's off day, tricking me into thinking it was a fourth). So I'd looked on BP at the rotation depth charts, and I stopped at the respective 4th starters, according to their reports...

Blanton's another good pitcher- decent K/BB, not a real flyball pitcher. Oakland definitely has the deepest rotation in baseball- with Saarloos, Kennedy, and the Admiral, you could argue they go 8 deep without a huge dropoff. They're much better positioned to absorb injuries than any other contenders.

2006-03-28 09:04:40
18.   sam2175
Beth 8,

Point taken. I am more interested in ending this thing than anyone else, it distracts us from being baseball fans. If anyone, on any team thinks fighting skills win baseball games, they ought to be on the street, not in a game which is primarily for spectator entertainment.

Lets also personally, between you and me, agree to the following: the next time an Yankees or a Sox player fight each other, NO MATTER THE PROVOCATION, they would be condemned regardless of the jerseys they wear. So, when Varitek throws the first punch on Alex Rodriguez, HE is in the fault, not the other way round. When Tanyon Sturtze out of nowhere jumps on Gabe Kapler, HE is the one at fault, not Gabe Kapler. I am an avid cricket fan, and any form of assault on another cricketer on the field earns you a full year of suspension, at the least.

Lets get back to talking about the Yankees.

2006-03-28 09:25:45
19.   Zack
I sure hope Blanton is pitching, but not against the Yanks as I have him on one of my fantasy teams. I have been trying for a few years now to generally avoid any Al east players, and grab as many NL guys as possible, to avoid the awkward fantasy induced rooting confusion...
2006-03-28 09:34:41
20.   tocho
I just read that Durazo has been released, it could probably be a nice cheap pick-up by the Yanks.
2006-03-28 09:52:51
21.   Ken Arneson
The A's are going with Zito, Harden, then Haren in the Yankees series.
2006-03-28 10:19:37
22.   Cliff Corcoran
Zito v. Johnson
Harden v. Moose
Haren v. Wang

Can't wait!

2006-03-28 10:29:51
23.   Nick from Washington Heights
I'll be in-person watching the Wang-Haren battle. Man, the A's look strong this year, don't they.
2006-03-28 10:34:14
24.   Count Zero
Don't get me wrong -- I don't see any place for fighting in sports (other than boxing of course). The NHL is a shining beacon for stupidity in sports. Tavarez' actions yesterday were completely inexcusable as there was no in-game context for sucker-punching Gathright. He should get 10.


Pitching inside / intimidation is a different matter and it IS part of the game. And if you pitch inside to intimidate, people WILL get hit. If a team allows its players to get hit by intimidators, and does not retaliate with its own intimidators, then that team probably lacks any cohesion or self-respect. Even the Yankee teams of the 90s -- the most gentlemanly, class acts we have ever had win a ring -- didn't let pitchers get away with crap like that. Hitters want to know their pitchers got their backs.

If Schilling is going to keep doing what he's been doing in Spring so far, then I'm 100% behind retaliating for it -- for any team he does it to. You don't do that by do it by waiting until the right time...when RJ is on the mound and Big Papi is up and nobody's on...and then you send a 97 mph fastball right at his head or his kneecap. Hopefully it's the day AFTER Schilling pitches, so he's not in the game but has a real good view of it from the dugout...surrounded by his teammates. Whether you hit Papi or not is irrelevant -- the message is absolutely essential nonetheless. "Hey Curt! Papi almost got his kneecap taken out by RJ. Whose fault do you think that is? Just to be clear...every time you do it to us, the same thing's going to happen again."

And if you get enough of that going on...fights will occur because of it. Biggest mistake the AL ever made -- letting pitchers stay out of the batter's box. Things were a lot easier when it was the guy who did the headhunting that had to get in there and hit next inning. :-)

2006-03-28 10:36:46
25.   Alex Belth
Actually, the title not from the Leaders of the New School, but the title of the first single from Brand Nubian's second album. Just FYI...
2006-03-28 10:39:17
26.   Shaun P
Thanks for the news, Ken 21 - that's what I was afraid of. The baseball fan in me will be very happy to watch Haren pitch. However, the Yankee fan in me would much rather see Loaiza.

Cliff, I think you're right about Blanton being the A's fourth-best starter 15, but seeing that Loaiza is being paid big bucks, I imagine he's technically 4th and Blanton is technically 5th. That's a frickin' scary rotation, when Joe Blanton is your fifth starter.

Its going to be a long Opening Day, waiting for 10:05 PM EST to show up on the clock.

2006-03-28 10:54:01
27.   jedi
Don't forget about their darkhorse pickup just recently. Our very own Brad Halsey, should thrive in learning from a talented rotation like that. Why do all our trades come back to haunt us? First Willy Mo, now this.
2006-03-28 10:56:34
28.   bloodyank78
I'll be at Anaheim Stadium next Friday for what I'm pretty sure will be Chacon v. Santana. Does anyone know what Chacon's numbers against the Angels were last season? I cannot wait, let's get this shit started!!
2006-03-28 11:13:05
29.   vockins
I thought the title was a reference to the last verse in BDP's "My Philosophy" - "... when some punk jumps up to get beat down, broken down to his very last compound. See how it sounds? A little unrational..."

Appropriate in this case.

2006-03-28 12:14:19
30.   Alex Belth
Fresh for ' suckas!
2006-03-28 12:58:17
31.   vockins
Representing the South Bronx as well!

When is someone going to get their head out of their ass and go to bat to "South Bronx"? Especially during the Mets games:

"So you think that hip-hop had it's start out in Queensbridge?
If you popped that junk up in the Bronx you might not live!"

2006-03-28 13:09:45
32.   Shaun P
I'll take it for granted that 30 isn't a 'Boondocks' reference, Alex, but that's the first thing I thought of ("Fresh for suckas!").

I'm sure Aaron McGruder got it from hip hop, but I know almost nothing about hip hop, so . . .

jedi re 27 - if only the Yanks could have used Halsey in a LOOGY-type role . . . oh well. As you said, instead of hanging on to decent bench filler and back of the pen guys, the Yanks always seem to trade them away.

2006-03-28 13:36:04
33.   Dimelo
I have to agree with Count Zero, but I also agree with Beth. She made a very articulate point, but ultimately there's nothing we can do or say that's going to make a difference. Let them all beat the shit out of each other.

BTW, just because Big Papi is good doesn't mean we should light him up. Just because he has the flare for the dramatic doesn't mean we should go after him. Or even Manny. I'm not a man of violence, nor do I like to advocate violence, I'm a peaceful man who believes in the beauty of the butterfly, daffodils, flavored coffee, and the rights of the indigenous people of Australia. BUT, I wouldn't mind seeing a 97 MPH go straight to core of the team. The heart of the team is Jason Varitek and he has a nice bull's-eye with a big 'C' on his shirt. Just like Jeter is our captain and the heart of our team, so is V-Tek. Jeter always gets hit, but we don't hit their "Captain". Hit'em in the fingers and see how much he likes it. I wouldn't be surprised if he's the initiator of all this garbage. Let's see him put down two fingers and ask for a fastball, when he's crouched down and the bones in his fingers have been turned into mush from a nice pitch from our "enforcer" of the day. Hit'em hard!!!! And if those bastards sitting down in the bench want some too, then we go toe-to-toe with those punks. No more nonsense from those clowns!!!!

2006-03-28 15:00:33
34.   mikeplugh
Two things on this.

1. Julian Tavarez' punch looked like something Damon Wayans would throw while in his "super flaming' character's guise. I can just hear Tavarez as he swung...


2. It's out of character for me to say this, but I want these teams to throw down this year. I don't like fighting in sports too much. I don't like hockey for that very reason. That having been said, the Red Sox have taken a lot of F-ing liberties at the Yankees expense the last 2 years and we haven't responded at all.

A-Rod took the high road when the entire Sox roster was calling him out last Spring Training. The press in Red Sox Nation is all over the Yankees to this day....completely obsessed even though they won a title at our expense. It's time we beat them down in Yankee Stadium and then wipe the field with them the rest of the the tune of 14-5 in the season series.

One gloves to the face. No catcher's wearing masks. No 80 year old bench coaches charging pitchers. I'm talking about Gary Sheffield against Jason Varitek mano a mano.

2006-03-28 15:07:47
35.   Dimelo
Wow....funny thing you just posted, Mike. I was about to give you a "big-ups" with your piece on Reggie.

Everyone, be sure you go to the Canyon of Heroes and read Mike's piece on Mr. October.

2006-03-28 15:35:43
36.   blue

I fear that pre-season jitters are coming to a head and normally sane people are getting a little overzealous in their blood lust. Let's hope that this season's Yankees/Sox matchup are clean, well-played games with a bit of schadenfreude for the fat ex-mullet-head and cappy 'tek and leave it at that. If the beanings start I support responding in kind, but there is no need to instigate. With this lineup I think we can rely on the bats, not the fists, to do all the talking necessary.

2006-03-28 16:54:06
37.   Levy2020
Good news for the Yankees. . . Graffanino got waived by the Red Sox and picked up by the Royals. It seemed like he was a more dangerous hitter than Loretta.
2006-03-28 17:20:37
38.   Zack
Another money start for Proctor, which is interesting. Why is he suddenly effective? I'll never complain about having a plethora of starters...
2006-03-28 17:39:26
39.   Cliff Corcoran
Levy, Loretta is a far superior player, but Graffanino's a nice guy to have around. The price of success is that the Yankees are way to low on the waver list to get guys like Choi or Graffy, who could have greatly improved their bench. I'd take Graffanino over not only Cairo, but any other infield options the Yankees have in the minors.
2006-03-28 17:48:36
40.   yankz
Do I start Giambi or Ryan Howard on my fantasy team?
2006-03-28 18:08:48
41.   Jeteupthemiddle
So Pavano seemed ok for his first inning of work in about 9 months. Gave up a HR but other than that ground balls. He did dive for a grounder to first base...scared the crap outta me and i'm sure the entire yankee brass.
2006-03-28 18:29:39
42.   Jeteupthemiddle
Also, did anyone see Nixon's comments about the brawls?

I don't know the fancy shmancy tiny url thing, so the article is on and has the title: Nixon says fewer intradivision games could reduce melees.

Basically he is saying that playing teams 19 times a year causes tension between the teams and therefore brawls. However, I think the Red Sox are the only team that fights with the other members of the division (sans the Blue Jays) on a regular basis.

2006-03-28 19:31:57
43.   mikeplugh
Thanks for the shout out dimelo. I probably should have written the Reggie piece before the Bernie one, inducting Mr. October before anyone else, but somehow I didn't think of it.

The Red Sox get their chip on their shoulder from the constant fan and media banter that paints them as the long suffering underdog. They thrive on that crap in Red Sox Nation and they always have to prove that they are tough enough to win.

Tampa is going to get better under the new ownership and I really think you'll see a competetive ballclub down there in a few years. They start creating that winning atmosphere by not taking shit from the Red Sox or anyone else....even in pre-season.

The Yankees don't need to fight with the Sox to crush them, they only need to consistently win. The thing is, the Sox are always coming in with a metaphorical battery on their shoulder daring us to knock it off. (Remember that 80's Duracell commercial with the Aussie skinhead?)

If it comes down to it, I want the Yankees to put a few lights out. I hope it doesn't happen and I hope our bats speak for themselves, but I'm all for a few black eyes if that's what it takes to control the rivalry a little more.

2006-03-28 20:25:34
44.   yankz
Is there anywhere I can get projections (zips, PECOTA, etc.) for any team for free?
2006-03-29 05:20:22
45.   Knuckles
yankz, I found ZIPS projections somewhere for free, take a peek around Replacement Level Yanks Blog and Google. Pecota is behind the BP members area (I highly recommend a subscription) so I doubt you'll find it out there.

Nixon should shut his dirtdog yap. The Yanks used to have major problems with Baltimore, before the unbalanced sked, Yanks-Sox in the 70's, etc etc etc.

Boston is the only current club that I can think of who constantly gets chippy with more than one team, so I'd say that it's a combo of the attitudes in their clubhouse, bloodlust on the part of their fans, and familiarity breeding contempt. But 6 less games against TB/NYY will do nothing to de-escalate things. You might even venture that more would happen in a shorter period of time if both teams think they have less chances for payback if they feel the owe them one.

The only thing that will calm Boston down is one of their stars getting hurt in a fight, buzzed one too many times, or suspended for a length of time that hurts them in the standings. And I can't wait to see what Beckett does once Manny Ortez start styling their homers this spring...hopefully against Philly in June.

2006-03-29 10:03:36
46.   Schteeve
Tavarez is a fucking lunatic.
2006-03-29 13:37:55
47.   yankz
Thanks Knuckles. I'll take a look.

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