Towers said his problem the second time was with Pena, not Rodriguez. "I heard somebody chirping when I was talking to Lyle (Overbay) and I didn't think it was Alex and I asked who it was," Towers said. "Tony Pena is running his mouth off and I was like, 'What's this guy running his mouth off for?' This dude is a quitter. He managed a team and quit in the middle of the season because he couldn't hack it. He's going to run his mouth off? So I ended up getting into it with Alex a second time."
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Josh Towers: Weakest Man Alive
I despise the practice of intentionally beaning players as a means of obtaining revenge, be it for a home run, a previous beaning, some perceived slight, or for failure to adhere to baseball's seemingly endless list of unwritten rules. While batsmen are going to get hit in the normal course of things, the fact is that pitches have killed people before, so intentionally trying to hit someone strikes me as one of the more reckless things a ballplayer can do. This isn't foreign policy where a failure to meet aggression with force will lead to war, death, and destruction. It's a game, and the high road is always open for traffic, even if it is rarely travelled.
Not that the practice is ever going to stop based on the hand-wringing of an overly-cautious geek like me. Indeed, it was on full display yesterday in Toronto, as A-Rod got beaned, apparently as payback for I-got-it-gate, and Clemens beaned Alex Rios in the back as payback for the payback. Zaniness ensued after each incident.
As far as revenge beanings go, Toronto's was pathetically weak. The original casus belli occurred on May 30th. Rodriguez didn't come to bat again that day so it's understandable that revenge would have to wait. The Jays had ample opportunity to plunk him during their series in Yankee Stadium July 16th-19th, however, and didn't so much as look at A-Rod cross-eyed. Indeed, after the June 16th game, Jays' manager John Gibbons said that "As far as [he's] concerned, it's over."
But it wasn't over, obviously, as yesterday's delayed justice demonstrates. When I first read about it, I assumed that the reason why A-Rod didn't get plunked during the July 16th game was because whoever it was pitching for the Jays that night shared my feelings about hitting players and decided to let it go. Then I looked at the box score: The pitcher on July 16th was Josh Towers, the same guy who beaned Rodriguez yesterday. There are only two possible explanations for why Towers would fail to hit A-Rod in July but then do so yesterday:
1) He tried to hit him in July and failed to do so due to poor control; or
2) He was opposed to hitting A-Rod in July for the same reasons I am, took crap from his teammates for not hitting him in the interim, and decided to rectify the situation yesterday.
If the reason was poor control, Towers has no business whatsoever sending purpose pitches, because he's just as likely to Ray Chapman someone as he is to plunk his calf. If it's reason number two, Towers is a man of weak convictions who can easily be bullied by teammates into doing something he wouldn't otherwise do, which is simply pathetic.
But whether you think Towers is reckless or simply weak, we can all agree that he's an excellent example of callow youth based on this:
Tony Pena is a 50 year old first base coach who has sanitary socks older than Josh Towers. Mere seniority doesn't make someone right, but between the two of them, I give Tony Pena the right to run his mouth off before I give Josh Towers the right to question Pena's commitment to the game.