For those that missed, and we don’t know how you could, the Rays’ Elliot Johnson, a second base prospect, collided with the Yankees Francisco Cervelli, a reserve catcher in the 9th inning of yesterday’s game at Legends Field. The collision resulted in a broken bone for Cervelli.
Joe Girardi, the Yankees new skipper was the first to chime in.
During the season, I’m all for it. It happens in the season.” But, he added, “In spring training, I don’t believe in it…I’m all for playing hard, but I don’t think it’s the time where you run over a catcher.”
Cervelli on the other hand had no problem with the play.
“It’s part of the game,” said Cervelli, who turned 22 on Thursday and played last season at Class A Tampa. “It’s O.K.”
Former Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer said that Girardi’s comments “stunk” noting that Girardi is a former catcher and knows how the game is played.
“Then when I pick up the paper this morning, I was dumbfounded. He blocked the plate. What happens if our man slides in with the plate being blocked and breaks his leg? … I am surprised the way Girardi said what he did. The plate was blocked, and our guy bowled him over. That’s the way to play the game. I mean, I’m talking about a guy who is like a son to me. But I can’t believe he went after it the way he did, because that’s not Joe Girardi — and being a catcher on top of that.”
Zim is absolutely correct. Not surprisingly the Yankees Blogosphere is doing what they do best…whining.
But Elliot Johnson was unnecessarily rough coming home and broke Francisco Cervelli. Turd. It’s freaking Spring Training. There’s no need to barrel someone over.
Here is the problem with that statement: For the guys that are playing in the 9th inning of a spring training game, this is their regular season. These are players that are most likely not making the team, that are fighting for jobs and trying to make an impression on the coaches and front office. You absolutely CANNOT ask them to dial it down for the sake of somebody might get hurt.
Get over it. Go out and buy yourself another AAA catcher. Personally I love the intensity being shown by the Rays in spring training. The Rays compete in the toughest division in baseball with two of the best teams in baseball. The Rays could put their collective tails between their legs and accept losing or they can stand up to the bullies.
The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays have chosen to punch the bully right in the nose and I love it.