Let there be no doubt... Carl Everett will
be suspended, but I'm here to tell you... if it's any more than five games, it is nothing but pure
, unadulterated bullshit
For those of you who don't follow the sport, Carl Everett is a baseball player, who, for the last five years or so, has had the EXACT SAME STANCE in the batter's box. That is, one foot on or slightly over the line, and one foot in the box. Why? Because Carl Everett is a power hitter who likes inside pitches, and the closer he is to the plate, the more inside pitches he gets.
Now, here is where the problem occurred. On Saturday, for reasons that will be explained later, umpire Ron Kulpa decided, after more than five years of ignorance from every umpire in the league, to tell Carl Everett that he couldn't stand where he was standing. He was breaking the rules, Kulpa said, by placing one foot out of the box. After the first pitch, Kulpa drew a line in the dirt (the chalk used to draw the box had been wiped away). Then, after the next pitch, he did the same thing. Everett went ballistic, and for good reason. For one, he wasn't breaking the rules‡. And two, well, you can understand that someone might be upset when they've been doing something for over five years and somebody suddenly tells them that they can't do it anymore.
Everett began jawing at the umpire, and got himself ejected. He continued to argue, getting right in the face
of Kulpa. His helmet restricting him getting any closer, he spiked the helmet on the ground behind him and got even closer. At this point, he bumped noses with Kulpa. The media has referred to this as a 'head butt'. That is NOT what it was. If anything, it was a nose butt. Not only that, but from every angle, it does not look intentional AT ALL. What transpired afterwards, though, was truly worthy of an Oscar.
Kulpa staggered backwards a good ten feet, as if he had just been cold-cocked by Mike Tyson. I've never seen anyone fly back that far after being tapped so lightly... except maybe in the WWF. Red Sox coaches and players stepped in to cool Everett down, but Everett's near psychotic rage kept him on the field for about five minutes. Everett knocked over a Gatorade cooler, smashed some bats, and then disappeared into the clubhouse.
Now every baseball analyst from here to Johannesburg is predicting at least a twenty game suspension. This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Everett SHOULD be suspended. You touch an ump, you get suspended. It's as simple as that. But giving him anymore than five games, which was the punishment handed down to Bobby Cox for bumping an umpire last week, is complete and utter bullshit.
Ignore everything he did afterwards. Ignore his ballistic attitude towards his teammates. Ignore his destruction of everything in the dugout. Ignore his supposedly checkered past. It would appear the Everett has some personal issues to deal with. But these are all things that should be handled within the club, with a fine or even a team suspension. The entire incident has been completely overblown.
And now, the humorous side of it all. The only reason this came up was because the Red Sox accused a player of doctoring the baseball the night before. In turn, Mike Piazza, catcher for the Mets, brought up to the umpire that Everett was outside the box. The crew chief, in charge of all the umpires on the field, explained the Piazza's comments were irrelevant - that any time they see a player out of the box, they enforce it. Right. It only took them five years to see Everett doing it. Yet another piece of evidence that sports officials are, in fact, blind.
‡ Harold Reynolds
and Peter Gammons
sat there on Baseball Tonight
and read the rulebook over and over again, apparently pointing out that what Everett does is illegal. This is wrong.
A player is not allowed to HIT the ball while standing outside the batter's box. If he does, he's automatically out. And if a player doesn't stand in the batter's box when it is his turn at bat, the umpire should instruct the pitcher to pitch, and call every pitch a strike. But there's nothing that says he has to be in the box when he takes his stance. And he's not the first to do it.
There's an obscure rule that says a pitcher is only allowed eight warmups between innings. Noticing that the pitcher was sneaking in extra warmups, Babe Ruth waited outside the batter's box until the eighth pitch, then stepped in during mid-pitch and hit a home run. Everett is essentially doing the exact same thing, except he's not trying to trick anyone! And for this, he gets ejected. Ridiculous.