While Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s head was comfortably nestled in the sand this past Saturday night, one of his professional athletes went ballistic during an argument with an umpire. Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, affectionately known as “Big Papi”, suddenly morphed into “Big Animale” as he was outraged at home plate umpire Tim Timmons’ strike zone and was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Ortiz then proceeded to destroy a dugout phone cover with his baseball bat during the 7th inning of Boston’s game in Baltimore.
Ortiz’s inexcusable tirade was caught on camera for the entire world to witness. Standing six-foot-four and weighing 250 pounds, the husky Santo Domingo native put his Boston teammates in serious danger with his bat wielding exhibition. As Ortiz unleashed his frustration in the Red Sox dugout, debris from the dugout phone was scattered everywhere. Star infielder Dustin Pedroia, who was sitting in the immediate vicinity of the incident, was very fortunate to avoid serious injury.
To make matters worse, Ortiz did not take responsibility for acting like a complete jackass in his post-game interview. He instead deflected the responsibility onto umpire Timmons for making poor calls at home plate which incensed Ortiz. Destroying Baltimore Orioles team property, putting other people’s physical safety in danger, AND failing to issue a public apology would normally warrant a fine and suspension in any other league. However, this sport is governed by the most brain-dead, absent minded buffoon of a commissioner in Bud Selig. In typical Selig fashion, no immediate punishment of any sort was levied to Ortiz for his embarrassing display on July 27th and Ortiz was allowed to play in Boston’s next two games against Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
Furthermore, it was officially announced on July 29th that the incident was reviewed and the MLB will not take any action at all against Ortiz. Commissioner Selig has built an infamous reputation for looking the other way, and by doing so yet again, Selig is condoning a multitude of negligent actions in his league: Destruction of property, allowing players to be subjected to un-safe work environments, disrespecting the authority of umpires, and setting a poor example to young fans just to name a few. In other words, as long as performance enhancing drugs are not involved, there is no actual code of conduct that players must follow.
In the following game after the David Ortiz dugout incident, Ortiz was seen in the dugout making light of his foolish actions from the day before and engaged his teammates for a laugh as they playfully re-enacted the scene. Intentional or not, this to me was a symbolic gesture of Ortiz making a mockery of his spineless commissioner. There is no excuse for what Ortiz did on July 27th, however, the more egregious mistake was made by Selig in my opinion. We could argue about how many games or how much money Ortiz should have lost, but the point is that there HAD to be some sort of penalty enforced.
While I love the sport of baseball and it has been an important part of my life ever since I can remember, it is extremely disappointing that this professional institution is run so poorly. However, as karma would have it, my Tampa Bay Rays defeated Ortiz and the Red Sox 2-1 in their July 29th contest at Fenway Park. By virtue of Tampa Bay’s victory, the Rays now find themselves atop the American League’s eastern division. And as the first-place Rays continue to take the AL East by storm this year, it would be poetic justice if this rag-tag band of brothers from Tampa Bay could eventually suspend David Ortiz and the entire Red Sox team from World Series contention in 2013.