Let's review the list, shall we?
Jason Varitek: Yesterday, sidelined in a Wakefield start. (Kevin Cash: 0-fer. Same for Moss.)
Mike Lowell: Started the game on the bench.
Jacoby Ellsbury: Still not 100% after rolling his wrist, also started game on the bench.
Dustin Pedroia: Benched yesterday.
Manny Ramirez: Playing, but with tweaked hamstring.
David Ortiz: 15-day DL with a sprained wrist.
So what happened? JD Drew was the only member of the Sox roster with three hits, and he didn't strike out once. He went a
homer double shy of hitting for the cycle.
Meanwhile, if reporting in various Boston news sources is to be believed, the source of the Manny-Youkilis fight was one of Youkilis's post-out tantrums. According to a story by Courant reporter Jeff Goldberg:
"Other players have told Youkilis in the past about the situation, which makes him look selfish and that he is more worried about each at-bat than about the team," a source told ESPNDeportes. "There was a meeting where the team let Youkilis know that many of his teammates were tired of his explosive reactions for each bad plate appearance."
So let me get this straight. Youkilis is taking his at-bats TOO seriously? I know nothing about clubhouse politics, but I didn't think such a thing was really possible. Be that as it may, I can see how that would get annoying over 162 games. But then...Manny is the team-first enforcer guy?
Everybody with any kind of inside knowledge of clubhouses has been writing it off. Quoth Jonathan Papelbon in Masserotti's story:
“You’re playing in an intense environment. You’re playing in an intense stadium. And you’re around each other so much...You’re like brothers here. I’ve had more fist fights with my brothers than anybody else. (Younger brother) Josh broke my nose. But when it’s all said and done, you still have love for each other.”
Alex Belth, who has much more experience than me, also wrote me soon after the game to tell me the fight was no big deal, and that it happens all the time, but just doesn't get on TV. Okay. So why did this one?
If it's not a big deal, why don't we normally see it? Because it looks pretty bad for two guys on the same team to be going after each other in front of God and everybody, right? And if you're a professional baseball player (and the fight is about putting the team first and / or looking bad in the first place), shouldn't your first priority be to make sure it stays in the clubhouse, just like all the other ones? (Manny?!)
It's not a big deal to guys on the inside. But I can tell you, from the fan perspective, where we've rarely or never seen such a thing, it was a totally jarring thing to see. As Maxwell Horse put it, "I think my reaction to seeing Manny and Youk go at it was similar to what a small child experiences when they see their parents fighting."
You want to be all, bottom-line, it's-just-a-job, fans-are-naive, it's-an-internal-matter about it? Fine. Then keep it where it belongs. Keep us naive about it. Isn't that what it means to be a professional?