Remember yesterday when we talked a little bit about how the on-field deportment of Latino players has a tendency to raise the ire of the opposition? Yeah, this is the sort of thing we were talking about.
The Indians were demolishing the Twins in the ninth inning of last night’s game. It was 7-1 and a man was on second when Jason Kipnis came to the plate. Paul Molitor decided to put Kipnis on with an intentional walk to bring up Jose Ramirez.
Maybe that’s a good tactical move in a close game. Maybe you do it in a 7-1 game too, but it’s certainly less important to do so. Either way, baseball players in Ramirez’s position ALWAYS talk about how they feel they have something to prove in that situation. They say they’ve been disrespected somehow. I think that’s a lot of macho posturing and I think all of us would rather face Ramirez than Kipnis in any situation, but it’s totally predictable that Ramirez is gonna take that attitude about things. Players have egos.
So what happens? Ramirez hits a three-run homer. And he admires it. And he flips his bat. Written on his face and evident from his actions is the thought, “that’ll teach you to walk anyone to get to ME.” Evident from Paul Molitor’s reaction and the reaction of Twins players in the dugout “kind sir, please do not comport yourself in such an improper fashion.” Or maybe it was slightly different. I don’t read lips too well.
After the game there was a lot of grumbling. And even a threat which should probably lead to an immediate suspension, but that’s just me:
Minnesota plays Cleveland tonight. If Ramirez is in the lineup there is a 100% chance he’s going to get thrown at. If he gets thrown at there’s a pretty good chance that the Indians will throw back and/or rush the field or something else. All over a bat flip which, if you ask Ramirez, was a point of personal pride and if you ask Paul Molitor was a sign of disrespect and a violation of the unwritten rules.
And, of course, most people won’t give Ramirez’s personal respect as much weight as Molitor’s citation of unwritten rules, even if they’re both odd, irrational constructs animating all of this. Why? Because the unwritten rules have tenure.