Duncan and Cabrera Suspended For Actions In Brawl

gal_fight2.jpgIt didn't take Joe Girardi long to put his stamp on the Yankees. A mere three weeks into Spring Training and we already see in a difference in the Bronx Bombers. With the exception of a few players, this is basically the same team that Joe Torre managed in his last game as Yankee manager last October. Yet, we there seems to be a world of a difference this spring.

I'm sure most of you have seen the recent developments between the Yanks and the Tampa Bay Rays. Last weekend saw Tampa Bay's Elliot Johnson run over Yankee catching prospect Francisco Cervelli, thus breaking his right hand. Wednesday the Yanks' Shelly Duncan went into second baseman Aki Iwamura with an aggressive slide, which led to a bench clearing brawl. As a result Duncan along with Melky Cabrera were suspended 3 games each by Major League Baseball for their actions in the brawl. Girardi was fined for the incident. The Rays' Jonny Gomes was also fined and suspended 2 games for his "tackle" of Duncan at second base (he plays right field, so how in the world does he end up at second base within seconds of the play?) That, in my opinion is worthy of at LEAST 5 games. A right fielder has no business at second base in what appeared to be an attempt a full fledged charge at Duncan.
"What Jon did was reaction to what they had done, and we did not start a thing," Tampa manager Jon Maddon said. "They perpetrated the entire situation. And then to have the punishment doled out almost on a similar basis, to me is unjust and it's not right. I'm sure we're going to appeal the situation and see what we can do."

"What's unfortunate is it's a situation that if our catcher didn't go down with a broken arm, I don't think (Duncan) would be suspended," Yankees Captain Derek Jeter said. "Now he's suspended and people talk about the way he plays the game. Shelley plays hard all the time. If I were Shelley, I wouldn't change the way I play. There's no reason."

I think too much was made of this situation, but on the other hand according to Don Zimmer and the rest of the Rays, the collision at home plate was "part of the game." So an aggressive slide into second base was "part of the game" as well. This was Girardi's message to the league...don't mess with the Yankees, because we'll get you back. It's something Torre never liked to do while he was manager, so I think this attitude that Girardi brings to the team is excatly what the Yanks need. They will not be push overs for anyone, especially the Tampa Bay Rays! Good for the Yanks and Girardi! The rest of the league has been put on notice, but for now lets just play baseball and get ready for Opening Day.

Oh by the way, the Yanks and Rays play Saturday at Legends Field, we'll see if this situation continues to esculate. Must see tv for Spring Training? We'll find out.

(Frank's articles can also be found at OnTheBlockNY )
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