Steve is currently traveling around Europe for a few weeks, so it falls on me to talk about the first exciting event in Devil Rays history. This would be perfect for him, since he used to be a Yankee fan and now roots for the Rays, but since he's acting so special by traveling around while I spent my Spring Break with all the excitement of the flu and bronchitis, it serves him right to miss this story.
As some of you may recognize from a previous post I wrote, I'm a bit of a fan of bench-clearing incidents in Major League Baseball (as long as incidents don't get out of hand like Jose Offerman charging the mound with his bat as a weapon in the Independent League). So I am thoroughly enjoying this story (other than the fact that a Yankees catching prospect broke his wrist) about the Rays and Yankees charging at each other today after Shelley Duncan made a supposedly dirty slide into second base. Now, I've watched Shelley Duncan play since he first came up with the Yankees, so it doesn't surprise me that he's finding himself embroiled in the middle of this violent controversy. The guy plays hard. I have no problem with aggressive play, as long as it's legal aggressive play. I haven't seen the video of his slide into Akinori Iwamura, so I can't say whether it was legal or not. But I'm glad this will give the AL East another storyline aside from the Yankee-BoSox rivalry. Last year, there was the ongoing conflict between the Blue Jays and Yankees (specifically A-Rod). So this year the Rays join in hating the Yanks. As a Mets fan, there's no team I'd rather see everybody in MLB hate than the Yankees (sorry Phillies and Braves; the Yanks are the Mets biggest rivals).
So far we have Phillies players talking in their clubhouse about eventually brawling the Mets despite the fact that a pitch hasn't been thrown with those two teams on the same field yet. Now we have the Rays and Yanks already fighting two weeks into March. It's going to be an entertaining year.
...my favorite quote concerning the Yanks-Rays brouhaha has to be this one from Troy Percival: "There's no room in baseball for that kind of stuff. Ty Cobb's been gone a long time." It's good to see Ty Cobb hating is still alive and well in players, keeping up the traditions of Babe Ruth ("Ty Cobb is a prick, but he's a prick who sure can hit.") and one of the Black Sox in Field of Dreams ("Ty Cobb wanted to play here, but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive so we told him to stick it.").
Here's to Shelley Duncan keeping Ty Cobb style of baseball alive and kicking.
"C is for Cobb
Who grew spikes and not corn,
And made all the basemen
Wish they weren't born."
-Ogden Nash, "Line-Up for Yesterday"