TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 3: J.P. Arencibia #9 of the Toronto Blue Jays tries to calm Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox after he was hit by a pitch during MLB action at The Rogers Centre June 3, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Dan Roche is an award-winning sports anchor and reporter for WBZ-TV, has a blog for CBS Boston, and appears occasionally on Twitter as @RochieWBZ. I'm sure he has done great work in sports reporting--much more than I will ever do--but he wrote a complete joke piece this morning on his blog.
You see, Roche believes that the Toronto Blue Jays' Drew Hutchison intentionally hit the Boston Red Sox's Kelly Shoppach in the top of the 3rd inning and Kevin Youkilis in the top of the 6th in the final game between the two clubs on Sunday because Red Sox starter Daniel Bard had hit Yunel Escobar and Edwin Encarnacion earlier in the game.
What a joke.
Now, Roche was not alone in his belief that there was some intention from Hutchison, at least on Youkilis' hit-by-pitch. From this video from MLB.com, you can see that Youkilis thought he was hit on purpose (indicating to Hutchison that he shouldn't have aimed so close to the head) and the NESN commentators went a long with that premise. I was at the game and I was surprised that Youkilis even confronted Hutchison after getting plunked--he was down on a 1-2 count and catcher J.P. Arencibia had set up low and outside.
Now I am biased as a Blue Jays fan and I have no professional baseball or reporting experience, but I generally believe that a pitcher won't bother working a batter to a two-strike count when they plan to plunk someone in retaliation. And to do it twice (Shoppach was hit on a 2-2 count)?
Let's go through some parts of Roche's article. Of course, I have to pick-and-choose pieces but you can read the entire thing here.
In the middle of the article, Roche does a classic writer's trick by proposing a ridiculous premise and then writing about how ridiculous that premise was:
Jays starter Drew Hutchinson hit Kelly Shoppach and Kevin Youkilis … on purpose.
Retaliation for Bard hitting two batters? Really? Really? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Dan Roche has got to be kidding himself on that one. Later he wrote about punishment:
These Jays should know better. John Farrell is one of the best and brightest minds in the game. He knows Bard was wild. He knows Bard had zero idea where the ball was going. And, he sits by and watches Youk get drilled and thrown at again? Suspend him. Same goes for Hutchinson and Cordero.
And, why didn’t the umpires step in and stop it? They could see what happened,
I think these Jays do know better. They loss Brett Lawrie for four games after his helmet-throwing incident and they saw that the Commissioner's Office is cracking down on intentional plunkings. And the Jays simply do not have the depth at this time to risk losing a starter and a reliever to a suspension. Sorry to say this to Red Sox fans, but getting "back" at Shoppach and Youkilis is not worth the Jays losing two players to potentially long suspensions.
Why didn't the umpires stop it? Because they knew that Hutchison didn't throw at Youkilis intentionally. Heck, they ejected Henderson Alvarez for throwing inside and not hitting the Texas Rangers' Ian Kinsler. I'm pretty sure Joe Torre at the Commissioner's Office will agree with the umpires' judgement on this incident.
If it was that clear to Boston fans and media that there were two intentional hit-by-pitches executed by Drew Hutchison, why didn't Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine run out of the dugout to scream at the umpires for not ejecting Hutchison and Jays manager John Farrell? Is it because he was too shy to complain?
Roche is a professional sportswriter, he is not a fan. Fans, I can expect to write blog posts with passion and emotion, but a journalist is expected to think things through logically and as impartially as possible, even on a sports blog post. And Youkilis' momentary anger I can understand because he was just hit hear his head. Writing this piece the way he did was a joke--it made him sound more like some fan who was riled up after watching the loss and the NESN analysts' take on that hit-by-pitch than an award winning reporter.
Thanks to @ecb282 for the link to the article!