One of the bloggers (Eric SanInoncencio) from Rays Anatomy, another Rays blog, wrote in the comments section of Rays of Light that he agreed with Girardi's assessment of the play and that it was out of line. I could hardly believe what I was reading.
I respectfully disagree. This is spring training, not the regular season. What this time is viewed as is a a month to prepare for the season, and in no way compares to the rigors of a regular campaign.
Players rarely play nine innings, and pitchers are far from the finished product. This time is used for nothing more than to get ready for the season. The main point in doing this is avoid injury, and while that’s not always possible, in this case it was caused by at best a reckless play that had no business being made in a exhibition.
Mind you, I’m not a fan of barrelling the catcher at all, but to do it in spring training isn’t necessary. A “trained professional” should know when to run through a catcher, and this is not one of thsoe cases. He isn’t a machine, he can react based on the situation, like we all can.
Girardi has every point to be upset. In the end, it caused a major injury to a young player that costs him 2 months of the season. Reverse the players, and Rays fans would be clamoring for retaliation from the “dirty” Yanks. This is homerism, and I expect subjectivity from people in this case.
This was, literally, the first time I heard a Rays fan agree with Girardi. I have read comments from plenty of Yankees fans agreeing with Maddon and Zimmer, but not a single other one where a Rays fan agreed with Girardi. I was shocked. But then I went to the Rays Anatomy page and checked out the info section on the author Eric SanInoncencio. He does not really say anything about being Rays fan or being from Tampa. Then I thought I remembered that he was one of the many new Rays bloggers who are not Rays fans or, at least, were not when they began writing about the Rays. So I went back to the beginnings of Rays Anatomy and found the following interesting tidbit:
I was born in the Bronx, NY, and for most of my adult life I have been a fan of the New York Yankees. In all honestly, my interest peaked right as the Bronx Bombers morphed from perennial losers to a championship juggernaut, thus my getting accommodated to winning every season.
He then on goes to basically say that he wanted to cover the Rays because he was becoming too much of a fanatic about the Yankees. Are you kidding me?????? Are you serious???? Is this some kind of a joke??????????
We have got a Yankees fan writing a Rays blog. Need I say more. Clearly, he is still a Yankees fan. It's not even like he is a fan of some national league team. He is a fan of the Yankees; of all teams. My God.
The last thing we need is guys who like "good" teams trying to feel sorry for the Rays and come write about them. Sure, they'll be fine analyzing prospects and getting interviews, but when it comes to a controversy they will always be loyal to their "first" team. Who do you think our boy Eric will be rooting for in the second series of the season when the Rays visit the Yanks. Get that crap out of here. I don't want to read the opinions of a Yankees fan about the Rays. We don't need you.
So, let me correct myself, I have yet to hear about a Rays fan who agrees with Girardi. It does appear, however, that Yankees fans who write Rays blogs agree with Girardi.
Only the long suffering fans can really appreciate this spring and particularly the Elliot Johnson incident. For so long we have been the doormat of the division and of baseball. Everyone routinely mocks us. This spring we are making a statement and that statement is being echoed by all Rays fans. I think a commenter in yesterday's Heater summed up that statement perfectly:
This is OUR turf. Tampa is OUR town. And the Rays will role your sorry team from now on. This is a new day in Tampa Bay.
And that goes especially to Eric and all other Yankees fans. You can only really understand and appreciate this different feeling if you have been here since '98. If you endured those 100 loss seasons and all the mockery. Only then would you understand the excitement Rays Universe is feeling right now.