Yesterday was just embarrassing. Home plate umpire Chad Fairchild should have been embarrassed for ejecting Heath Phillips for a wild up and in pitch that lightly brushed Evan Longoria's jersey and loaded the bases with the Yankees already trailing 2-0 in the first inning. Crew chief and first-base ump Jerry Crawford should be embarrassed for tossing Bobby Meacham for keeping the peace in the second-inning fracas. Indeed, the umpires were so embarrassed they didn't even talk to the media after the game.
Shelley Duncan should be embarrassed for spiking Akinori Iwamura, even if all he was trying to do was recreate his glove-punting slide against John McDonald in Toronto last year (though that could have been seen as part of the ongoing "Ha!" dispute surrounding Alex Rodriguez).
Rays manager Joe Maddon should be embarrassed for calling Duncan's slide "borderline criminal" after defending Elliot Johnson's collision with Francisco Cervelli over the weekend.
Joe Girardi clearly was embarrassed and had a chat with Duncan about it (though Tyler Kepner has a slightly different interpretation than Pete Abe's).
The embarrassment continues today as the Yankees' starting lineup features Billy Crystal leading off at DH on the day before his 60th birthday. Crystal cracked that DH stands for "Designated Hebrew." You know Crystal's career is in trouble when he's stealing material from Ron Blomberg. Still, credit Girardi with coming up with the best way to minimize the Crystal distraction. Crystal will lead off, not play the field, and should be replaced by Johnny Damon when the lineup turns over (Damon, still nursing his bruised toe, has said he's to follow Crystal at DH today). In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see Damon pinch-run for Crystal if by some miracle the actor finds his way on base (most likely by taking one to the ribs from Pirates starter Paul Maholm, which is how our buddy Goose says he'd approach the at-bat).
Most embarrassing of all, however, is the fact that all of this has distracted anyone from updating us on Stump Merrill's condition after the 64-year-old coach took a thrown ball to the face during batting practice yesterday. Well, almost everyone. Brian Hoch wins the good guy award today by letting us know that Stump is resting comfortably at the hospital. Sounds like he'll be just fine. Hopefully after today's first inning, Yankee camp will be back to normal as well.