It is not just spring training for the guys playing in the 9th inning of a spring game.

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.

Girardi Says Collision At Plate Is Uncalled For [New York Times]
Rays’ Zimmer weighs in on collision [Tampa Bay Rays]
Freaking Devil Rays [Joblog Chamberlain]



  1. Mike says:

    i can understand Girardi's comments to an extent. He is a new manager on a veteran team. He was teammates with some of those guys and he is very young. He needs to stick up for his guys. Girardi was always a hard-nosed catcher. I am willing to be if you could get him off the record, he would say that he did not have a problem with it. but under the circumstances he had to say something.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Joe Torre would have never bitched like a little girl

  3. Anonymous says:

    Zim is still well-respected in the yankee community. the fans should calm down once they hear his words which is exactly why the team made sure Zim said something.

  4. David James says:

    i guess Girardi would also say pitchers throwing 94+ in spring training is "uncalled for" bc you never know when one of those pitches might get away from a pitcher and break a guys wrist.

  5. Jason says:

    1) Just remember when the shoe is on the other foot sometime later this year: You started it.

    2) Madden: Wears those cute glasses and wants to talk red wine? Gay or just metrosexual? Fuckface.

    Add to #1 and #2 above: How's Kazmir's elbow? Regardless, you're still finishing in 5th place in the division.

  6. Devil Ray Guevara says:

    1. who's gonna do something? A.Wad? That guy would be too afraid to break a nail. Or maybe Mussina? That guy has never cared about anybody but himself
    2. Nobody loved the New York social scene more than Joe Torre. does that make him Metrosexual?
    3. just fine, thanks. will be there on opening day. how's A.Poo's bruised ego?

  7. Ben says:

    love the hustle by the rays, love it, they aren't taking any shit from the yankees and we as fans shouldn't either, this is our town.

  8. Scot Gould says:

    Simple - a pointless act in a pointless game. In September, nobody cares about your record in March.

    Hey Don Zimmer - which is it? Did he slide or did he bowl over the catcher?

    Anyway, who cares what Zim says. He has little respect amongst more knowledgeable baseball people. Bill Lee may not have been a genius, but he was correct when he noted: Zim's a gerbil.

    At some point the Rays will be out of the playoff chase - the machoism will need to end before then.

    Go Rays - but if they need to resort to violence, count me out.

  9. Devil Ray Guevara says:

    the game is not pointless to Elliot Johnson or any of the other prospects fighting for a position whether it be now or in the future.

    and not sure if you noticed or not, but not everybody is penciling the Yankees into the playoffs this year. they are going to have to earn it, even with a $200MM payroll and an all-star at every position


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