To say that Major League Baseball has some integrity issues to work out is not a stretch by any means. From A-Rod recent transgressions to a new book about Roger Clemens and now Manny Ramirez taking a female fertility drug? What is this world coming to!
Now Major League Baseball is trying to distract the media with a new issue. In the recent Texas Rangers/Chicago White Sox series, Rangers pitching hit six White Sox players during a very short three game series. As most may imagine, questions arose as to the purpose of all these hit batsman. In return, only one Rangers batter was hit. Finally, General Manager of the White Sox Ken Williams called out his pitching staff explaining that the Rangers were taking ownership of the inside part of the plate and that the White Sox staff needed to deliver some purpose pitches as well.
Enter Bobby Jenks. Jenks came in and promptly hurled a fastball behind Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler. Was it a purpose pitch, asked a reporter of Jenks after he completed the easy save? Jenks was truthful and said yes. Kudos to a Major League player for finally being truthful.
This situation was neither the first nor will it be the last time a pitcher throws at a hitter to defend his teammates. So why now is there such a big uproar with the MLB reviewing the pitch thrown by Jenks? Well because he was honest and frankly the executives at the MLB dislike honesty. When Rafael Palmeiro was caught in the steroid frenzy he became truthful and leaked publicly names of teammates that also took HGH. Palmeiro has since been excommunicated to baseball jail.
If Jenks had come out and explained that there was perspiration on his hand from the hot dewey night and that he was extremely nervous because the White Sox really need this victory and that the ball simply got away from him, this whole story would never have been written; However, every player, fan, and broadcaster would have known that the aforementioned pitch was a purpose pitch. In fact, Jenks threw 14 pitches in the outing of which 11 were strikes. The man throws in the upper 90's and can command his fastball.
While the MLB tries to clean up the game they need to re-evaluate the message that the governing body is sending to the players. Recently, after the news broke about Manny Ramirez, Angels manager Mike Scioscia towards an immediate ban from baseball if a player is caught with steroids. After hearing this, I wondered why that has yet to happen?
Steroids are illegal in America, if I was caught doing them I would be in jail. Regardless if steroids were illegal according to MLB standards players always knew that taking the drugs were a risk. Last year Manny Ramirez obliterated a pitch in the playoffs against the Cubs that made me gaze in disarray. He was thrown a breaking ball that forced him to freeze just a bit during his swing. Normally, when any batter is forced to freeze during his swing, it usually results in an out. However, on this night, Ramirez smashed the ball into a swirling Chicago wind that normally keeps all long balls in the park. Not only did he hit it out, but he also hit it to dead center field. It was no cheap shot by any means.
I remember thinking "Man what a player." However, Ramirez simply was a product of cheating. Not only did he cheat the fans, he cheated the Cubs. After 100+ years of losing, the Cubs do not need help choking in the playoffs. On July 3rd, Manny Ramirez will come back to the Dodgers lineup and aside from away games will have learned nothing.
In fact, the Dodgers thanks to their weak division will most likely still be in first place and they will have saved 7.3 million dollars thus allowing them to take on further contracts at the deadline. Manny will be fresh as ever and will most likely lead them into the playoffs as the favorite to represent the National League in the world series.
Thus, in conclusion, Bud Selig and gang need to think long and hard as to what type of conclusion they will draw from this rare show on honesty in a corrupt sport. Selig's administration needs to distinguish the importance of this situation as compared to actually cleaning up a tainted past-time.