Technology speaks truth particularly video. With video, its hard to deny what went down. Video shows what happened. Video doesnt lie.
Look at the video from the brawl between the Phillies and the San Francisco Giants over the weekend. Youll see what really transpired particularly if you watch the footage provided courtesy of CSNBayArea.com (and dutifully broken down and highlighted by the folks over at phlsportsfan.com).
Youll see the parts most everyone knows about: Jimmy Rollins stealing a base while the Phils have a cushy lead, followed shortly thereafter by Giants pitcher Ramon Ramirez putting a fastball in Shane Victorinos back, followed immediately by the collision of all hell and breaking loose.
Later on, though, youll see something else. In the ensuing melee and the attendant madness, as players from both teams mash themselves into one angry multicolored amoeba, youll see Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval the merchandise peddler and copyright infringer otherwise known as Kung Fu Panda throw what appears to be a sucker punch at what appears to be a member of the Fightins.
Sadly, no cutesy DreamWorks rendered cartoon characters were available to absorb the blow.
The alligator arm of Major League Baseball law reached out just long enough yesterday to deliver its verdict about all that. The decision wasnt exactly equitable. The Panda was not fined or suspended by MLB. Lucky guy.
Ramirez, the man who picked up the baseball and threw the pitch that sparked the brawl, was also not suspended despite dropping his glove, walking off the mound and all but double-dog-daring Victorino to throw down.
Nor was Giants catcher Eli Whiteside suspended, even though Whiteside form tackled Placido Polanco so well that in the off-season he ought to teach high school football players and maybe a few NFL cornerbacks the proper technique.
Whiteside, Ramirez and Polanco were all fined. Victorino, however, was the only player to be fined and suspended. If the ruling is upheld, Victorino will be out for three games.
(Quick aside: Quite a few Phils fans were incensed about the unbalanced and seemingly capricious finding by the league office, and many took to Twitter to voice their discontent. My favorite came via @NiteClubDwight: Eli Whiteside reportedly facing suspension for irrelevance and acting like Ronnie from Jersey Shore.)
Victorino who, according to CSNPhilly.coms Jim Salisbury, refused to discuss the suspension is reportedly appealing the decision. And so he should. He should also send a copy of the CSN Bay Area footage to Commissioner Bud Selig and the league office maybe ship it along with a fruit basket and one of those thinking of you" cards.
"Victorinos aggressive actions prolonged the bench-clearing incident between the Clubs," according to a press release distributed by the commissioner's office. Makes you wonder whether anyone at the commissioners office actually reviewed the video or if they simply got up and headed to the fridge for a snack when the tussle was being replayed on television. How is it that the provoked is the one getting reprimanded while the provocateurs got away almost entirely unscathed?
Ramirez hit Vic and came off the mound, Charlie Manuel said after the game. At that point, Vic almost has to go unless he wants to be called a chicken by his teammates. Thats the way baseball works. Ramirez pretty much called him out.
Victorino is no doubt culpable in some way, but the notion that hes the only person who should be suspended is absurd and laughable. Someone should notify Daniel Tosh and get him a copy of the video. This smacks of web redemption.
Its like Manuel said: Ramirez uncorked the pitch and stepped off the mound and at that point everything was in motion. Ramirez wanted to scrap, and Victorino was happy to oblige. And yet, amazingly, Victorino was the only one suspended.
In a way, and begrudgingly, you have to give Ramirez and his ruthless tag team partners credit for pulling the whole thing off and then making their escape. Its almost as though the Giants watched old WWE matches outlining how to work over opponents using nefarious tactics.
Its a story line as old as pro wrestling itself. The bad guy is losing and angry, so he resorts to low, dirty tricks. But hes smart and cunning, this bad guy, so he waits until the official is distracted then he grabs a folding chair or some other foreign object and brains his opponent something good. The opponent never likes it, not at all, and so he goes after the bad guy and tunes him up in the interest of revenge and self preservation.
By that time, the official on hand has started paying attention again and, well, the only person to get caught is the guy who received the cheap shot in the first place. And, just like that, insult is dog-piled on top of injury.
I wonder whether Vince McMahon follows baseball. If he wasnt already a Giants fan, he ought to be.
E-mail John Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org