Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Boys of Summer - Scioscia v. Robinson

Round One goes to Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson for not only calling out Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim set-up man for pine tar on his glove but coming from behind to win the game as well.

angel.0615.mb.6(PHOTO CREDIT: Managers Frank Robinson and Mike Scioscia are restrained by umpires Tim Tschida and Dale Scott after Brendan Donnelly’s ejection Tuesday. Photo by Matt A. Brown, Orange County Register)

How sweet it is when baseball in all its glory once again shows us how, in the words of the late former baseball commissioner Bartlett Giamatti, "it's designed to break your heart." It's a game full of life's lessons, victories, heartbreaks, and frustrations. Last night's interleague game played in Anaheim was one full of mind games, tactics, payback, and inside information.

How in the world could Robinson know that Brendan Donnelly was sporting a pine tar-loaded glove? (Pine tar being an illegal substance that is used for altering a baseball so it does all manner of screwy things on its way toward the batter.) All suspicions point to National Jose Guillen, who played for the Angels last summer and was suspended by manager Scioscia toward the end of the season for a little tiff they had when he was replaced for a pinch runner. All suscipicions point to payback.

And what incredible payback it was! When Donnelly was tossed from the game (and now faces a suspension from Major League Baseball), the Angels were ahead 3-1 in the seventh inning. Once the inning was over without further incident, Scioscia decided the turn his own hand and called for the umpires to examine the Nationals' pitcher, who ended up having to shorten the leather ties on his glove with scissors, no biggie. Then in the top of the eighth, against the reliever who came in to relieve the tossed Donnelly, Guillen came up to bat with one man on base and proceeded to smack it over the left field wall to tie the game. In a victory trot around the bases, showered with boos from the Angel faithful, Guillen paid payback for payback and got the rare chance to "stick it to the man," the man, in this case, being former manager Scioscia.

The Nationals went on to score twice more in the eighth and once more in the ninth to seal a 6-3 comeback victory over the Angels.

Baseball, it's too much game!

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