Based on all published reports, there is no getting around the fact that Carlos Rodriguez's disgusting act of throwing a ball at Alex Pena set off yesterday's ugly brawl at Fraser Field. I will re-iterate what I said yesterday: he should be released today, before the league even gets the chance to suspend him. That is totally intolerable, especially from an owner who prides himself on doing things 'the right way' -- I don't like seeing stories like the one I read from today's Worcester Telegram & Gazzette, in which Worcester's GM rips the Spirit. Sadly, it seems pretty true.
"All of that is conduct that doesn’t sit right with R.C. Reuteman, the Tornadoes president and general manager.
“I think for the most part we do it right,” Reuteman said, “but there are teams in this league that don’t. “We’re professional baseball players,” he continued. “And if we can’t conduct ourselves professionally, we have no (bleeping) business being part of it. There is absolutely no room for it.”
Reuteman said he is very frustrated with the Can-Am League in general and planned to have a phone conversation with league commissioner Miles Wolff last night. “If this is how our league is going to sit back and let these things happen,” Reuteman explained, “that’s not what I’m all about.”
Pitching coach Bobby Ojeda echoed some of Reuteman’s sentiments: “There’s no place in the game for this type of thing, and the saddest part is when you allow individuals like this (on your team), and you look the other way. And you have to look to the owner because he signed them."”
Interestingly enough, the official recap on the Spirit website just says that 'a brawl took place' with no explanation as to how it happened; the CanAm recap ignores the incident entirely.
It's not good when you are getting slammed in the media without any sort of response.
The Item's recap is particularly bad. Not only does it not write why the brawl started, it also states that Worcester starter Alex Pena was tossed --- which is not the case. All the Item had to do in this case was look up ANY OTHER REPORT on the game --- or just ask someone who would know.
It's pretty embarassing how the Spirit media coverage of the game tried to ignore the ugly incident.
I do have one issue with the Worcester T & G coverage, however. Here are a few lines:
"The brawl was clearly initiated by the Spirit. "
"Rodriguez, who is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, then charged and tackled Pena from behind."
"The brawl appears to be part of a trend for North Shore, which also was involved in a brawl with Quebec in June. Its manager, Vic Davilla, has been thrown out of seven games this season. Rodriguez, the instigator this time around, was released from the team earlier this season. He was reportedly arrested during his time away, and then re-signed prior to the series with Worcester. "
If you go over and ask Davilla or any of the Spirit players, they would tell you that there had been trouble brewing between the two teams all weekend - a fact that was totally ignored by the media in general, although briefly alluded to in a quote in the Item's piece.
Also, I don't think it's fair to call two fights for a baseball team a "trend." It's pretty common for teams to have a couple of bench clearing incidents over the course of a long season. I don't know where the Worcester T&G reporter went to school --- Holy Cross, maybe? --- but where I come from, they teach me that two occurences of something does not equal a "trend."
In addition to that, I don't think the number of ejections to Vic Davilla is relevant in any way to any trend of 'violent behavior' by the team. Bobby Cox has the most ejections of any manager in baseball history. Are his teams assumed to be wild and unruly?
John Kennedy consistently led the league in ejections and he was tossed (count 'em) 12 times last year, but all you read about was how he kept a tight ship and ran a professional clubhouse. When he got ejected, it was OK.
Could it be because Kennedy is a graying old white guy who used to play in the Majors? It's not a popular question to ask, but I think it's fair in this situation. That was a blatantly irrelevant fact to use in the article.
Finally, in regards to C-Rod's off the field 'issues,' I heard that he had a run-in with police while he was on the team the first time, which prompted his release; I find it highly doubtful that the team would
1) release him for no reason
2) see that he gets arrested
3) sign him back after that
It would be nice if someone from the Item, or other media affiliated with the Spirit would put out some information from the Spirit perspective here, because the only media reports out there that actually cover the fight and don't gloss over it give the entire organization a huge black eye.
For the most part, the black eye is well deserved - Rodriguez is a numbskull, a jerk, and a bully for what he did on the field yesterday.
I think there's one quote to remember in regards to C-Rod: "Once a Capitale, always a Capitale."
It'll be interesting to see how the Spirit front office -- and Uncle Miles -- responds to this one.