Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why JAFO was right, and how MLB agrees

So if you happen to miss it yesterday, JAFO and I went point - counterpoint on the Dempster - A-Rod issue from Sundays Red Sox - Yankees game.

Take a look here, for a brief recap.

I enjoyed JAFO's analysis, and as often occurs when we interact, I learn something by looking through a lens I had never before. I am learning to call it the "JAFO Effect."

Interestingly enough, almost immediately after JAFO posted the piece, Dempster was suspended, and from it, for me, it was more clear than ever that MLB through that suspension and fine, agreed with JAFO, and condoned the action of Dempster.

Let me start by agreeing with JAFO that Dempster was not trying to hurt A-Rod. If he tried to hurt him, he would have hurt him. My biggest beef was Dempster playing the "MLB Enforcer" role, then ducking the issue completely when asked directly. Yeah I know you get suspended when you make such statements, but I think it may have gone better if he said something.

Well, JAFO noted, and I agree, that a message was sent, and through the lack of direct reaction from both teams, they were "ok" with what happened.

I'll go further and say given the suspension that MLB handed down to Dempster today, they too were "ok" with what happened. Why do I say that?

Well, consider the role of a starting pitcher, with a start approximately every (5) days. Between starts these guys don't do anything and if a team happens to have a day off, well that's just gravy.

Now, Dempster was suspended for exactly (5) days by MLB, and when given the opportunity,  to appeal his suspension, he chose not to, thereby not extending the time which the suspension would be served. Oh did I mention that the Sox have a day off coming up next week?

So think about it, MLB suspended Dempster only for the exact amount of time he would have had to sit anyway, resting for his next start. Pretty strange coincidence huh?

Further, the "undisclosed amount" he was fined was reported to be $2500. Further indication that MLB was "ok" with the incident as such a fine is hardly punitive for a player making $13.25M this year ... oh yeah ... and he still gets paid during this time. That part is of course typical for on field incidents. Even Giardi was fined more at $5000 for "doing the right thing" yet here too I agree that while traditional, it was practically the wrong way.

So while both teams showed great apathy to the beaning (except for Girardi, who needed to respond the way he did), MLB has followed suit and I would opine, through their action, essentially said "nothing to see here" by appeasing the yahoos like me who genuinely believe that Dempster was wrong in playing the enforcer (yet traditionally right as JAFO noted) by a suspension and fine, and also appeased whoever is left supporting A-Rod as he prepares to face his arbitration hearing.

One guy who may feel a bit funny is O'Nora, who saw MLB go over his head to "do the right thing" (albeit meaninglessly punitive).

Something tells me he is ok with it too.


  1. Hi Pete,

    Loved this read but did want to point out the suspension is 5 games not 5 days, even tho MLB teams will typically have 5 games in 5 days. I agree pitchers should miss a lot more during suspensions since they realyl do nothing (99% of the time) on their off days to help the team. I do have to say I am fine with Girardi getting the bigger fine. Sure Dempster was wrong for his actions and given that the 4th attempt his A-Rod I feel thats enough evidence to show intent hence his ejection would have be warranted. But does the wrong call by an offical give him the right to show that much disent? This was no simple discussion. He came out charging, arms flaring, screaming, follwing the umpire up the basepath post ejection etc. which MLB has a big push on as a "No No" and will not be tolerated.

    1. Thanks Steve ... I appreciate the clarification.

      Did I mention I was not a baseball guy?

      I agree with you too about Giardi. I think his fine was reasonable and MLB was right to come down on him, as while I understand his actions, they can't be condoned.

      Thanks for reading!