Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: basebrawl

Say it Ain’t So, Jason!?

I can be really good at holding a grudge. 

This weekend brought news we all knew was coming, but refused to accept.  Cardinal catcher Jason La Rue’s baseball career is done.  Kaput. Over. Finito. The End.
Hearing those words …that finality? Well, it just seemed so….. rude.
I still blame Johnny Cueto. This weekend renewed my anger and frustration that justice was not served in the aftermath of that basebrawl with the Reds.  In fact, I am hereby refusing to give Cueto any more name recognition.  Bad press is good press, right?  From here on out, he gets nothing, nada, zilch!  
Treated to my random rants about baseball injustices?  
Further proof that my husband must be a saint.  😉
Honestly, I believe I am working through this anger management experiment fairly well.  I have my moments, but the breakables have been brought back into the open and the cat has come out from under the bed.
In fact, I am actually smiling a little, thinking about Jason La Rue today and the memories I will have of him for years to come.
In the beginning,  Jason La Rue was just the grungy backup guy who filled in for Yadi behind the plate whenever I traveled across the country to catch a Cardinals game.  (Yes, I started out loving the Cards because of Yadier Molina, and as it seemed luck always conspired against my watching him in person.)
Nevertheless, Jason La Rue never really let me down. At both a Nationals game in D.C and a Spring Training venue in Florida, LaRue came through with clutch hits.  I remember his long hair flying as he tore past 1st and slid into second.  He has always been surprisingly fun for me to watch.  

And if I were in need of a body guard to accompany me down some dark Cincinnati alley, I would certainly pick Mr. La Rue. He is one. tough. hombre!
 In fact, this season La Rue has been a surprisingly welcome sight.  Move over Biker Dude, welcome to the Cardinal Cuties club!  All of a sudden during the summer, a new clean-cut Mr. LaRue emerged, almost unrecognizable.  We here at the CDD may have even commented approvingly on the new-and-improved Jason a few times.  (Take my word for it, Christine and I most assuredly registered thumbs up.  Angela was a hold out, perhaps too busy watching Wainwright?)
Today Baseball Digest let me pen a send-off to Jason La Rue and get all my frustrations out one more time about that Will-Not-Be-Named Reds player.
You can read it here:  “A Salute to La Rue
And because the mood hit me, I had to get in a girly post here – a fitting place to give Jason LaRue one last chick-comment tribute, a Cardinal farewell salute from the female fans.
My ultimate memory of Jason is from his pregame appearance on FSMW the day following the now infamous Cincinnai Reds basebrawl.  If you were lucky enough to catch it live (before the censors got hold of it), Jason was flexing his vocabulary muscle (oblivious to the fact that the camera was on and the show was live) to adequately express his impatience over having to sit so long in the hot sun waiting for the interview to start.  All the while, grinning his boyish grin despite the stitches in his upper lip.  That laughing, tough-as-nails, mouth-like-a-sailor-image will forever be my favorite memory of Jason La Rue, my atypical Cardinal.  And I still laugh out loud when I think of it. 
We will miss you, Jason La Rue!!!  😉 

Basebrawl: Boys Being Boys

Wow.  First, I cannot believe how long it has been since I’ve blogged here.  My last post was in July?!  A lot has happened – including our week-long blog hiatus while we Diamond Diaries gals met up in St. Louis to watch our boys plays some ball.  Fun trip.  Absolutely amazing!  I finally met Angela and Chris in person -plus a few other great Cardinals fans we knew from our Twitter baseball watch parties.  The trip was wonderful even if the Cardinals gave up two games to the Astros and the devastating news broke that our hop-a-long hotcorner David Freese would have season-ending surgery to rebuild his ankle.   But enough about that….

Yesterday we learned the penalties imposed on the players and managers for their actions during the mayhem that erupted during the 1st inning of Tuesday night’s game between the Cardinals and the Reds. (Chris disected the basebrawl details in yesterday’s Diamond Diaries post. and Viva El Birdos has broken the entire fight down into an amazing must-see video and picture sequence here.)

MLB’s disciplinary actions targeted 5 players and both team managers:

Johnny Cueto, Reds pitcher – 7 game suspension plus fines
Managers Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker – 2 game suspensions each
Cincinnati players Russ Springer and Brandon Phillips – fines
Cardinal players Chris Carpenter and Yadier Molina – fines

With one glaring exception, I found the penalties acceptable.  MLB made a point with the managers, and 4 of the 5 players did not deserve anything worse. Johnny Cueto was the only player in the melee who went berserk – violently kicking Chris Carpenter in the back and Jason LaRue in the head and ribs with his spikes, leaving Jason with a mild concussion and stitches in his lip.  Cueto’s actions were reprehensible and thankfully LaRue was not more seriously injured.  In my opinion, this was where MLB dropped the ball.  Cueto’s repeated thrashing of his spikes at the heads and bodies of players posed such risk to every player in that mobbed backstop that I believe he should be jailed for assault.

Baseball fights are definitely their own creature, much as baseball has its own personality.  The fact that baseball’s unwritten rules extend to benches-clearing, emotion-driven pushing-and-shoving matches leaves me smiling at this sport I have fallen in love with.
Sure, these grown men got all riled up and acted like a bunch of gorillas, but (with the exception of Johnny Cueto) they were civilized gorillas. 
Not a fan of fights, I do not enjoy hockey. Ultimate Fighting makes me sick and boxing horrifies me.  But Tuesday’s brawl between the Cardinals and the Reds was different – mostly because baseball fights, while full of bravado, are rarely violent, but also because I understood and appreciated the underlying emotions behind the furor.  Reds 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips rudely and intentionally insulted the entire core of the Cardinal organization and catcher Yadier Molina took exception to Phillips’ attempt to gloss over his comments. 
Don’t run on Yadi and don’t insult his baseball family. 
Sure, Molina could have let it go.  He could have just ignored Phillips and excused him as the publicity-seeking big mouth that he is.  Instead, Yadi took a stand, and with that confrontation (punctuated by a heroic retaliatory homerun in the next inning) Yadi ignited what will in all likelihood be the turning point for the 2010 Cardinals.
These Cardinals have been hungering for a unifying moment to ignite the type of fire that drives a talented team forward, and this sweep of the Reds – in the midst of the Phillips’ comment controversy- did just that.

The Cardinals won much more than a sweep in this past series against the Reds.  Their bond as a team is now iron-clad.  Conversely, the Reds lost more than just these 3 games and 1st place in the NL Central.  Cincinnati may now be playing as a team divided.  With proud former Cardinals Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds in Reds’ uniforms, Brandon Phillips’ comments make him an unpopular teammate, and Johnny Cueto’s conduct was a disgrace.   

Could we have just witnessed the downfall of the 2010 Reds? Time will tell. But the Reds will only have themselves to blame for sinking that ship.
Today the Cardinals take on long-time rival Chicago Cubs with the Cubs seeming much more like that pesky neighbor kid that wastes your time than a bitter adversary. Tony LaRussa serves his two-game suspension at the start of this Cardinals-Cubs series, and our Cardinals have some well-earned momentum. 
So, Let’s Play Ball!    …  and play nice.  =)

And if you happen to be looking for more baseball reading, I wrote a story for i70baseball earlier this week about Surviving August Baseball.  You can check it out here.

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