It only took a week for Major League Baseball to use instant replay to gift the New York Yankees a win. (Hey, when the laws of probability suggest you have a 0.9 percent chance of making it to the postseason, a little help doesn’t hurt. Plus, who doesn’t want to see the Yanks in the playoffs? Exactly.)
Shockingly, the play in question involved Alex Rodriguez, who hit what appeared to be a home run down the left field line until the catwalk at Tropicana Field got in the way (one more reason the Rays need a new stadium: the current one features such charming elements as a catwalk). Cue the controversy:
Do not shake off Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Navarro’s signs. The man practically invented signs. Don’t tell him how to throw signs. The Bloods, Crips, and Johnny Otis (progenitor of the hand jive) all came to him when they needed signs. Dioner Navarro’s whole life is one big sign, man. Don’t shake off his signs.
Pitcher Matt Garza didn’t listen to us Sunday, though, shaking off Navarro twice in the fourth against noted slugger German Duran. We assume he wanted to give him the heat and announce his presence with authority. Navarro shrugged, possibly imitating Crash Davis, and let Garza throw the heat. Duran deposited the ball into the seats.
Navarro went out to the mound one batter later to explain calmly to Garza exactly how he started the use of fingers, hand position, and timing to convey the best pitch selection to a hurler in 1874, pressing his mask against Garza’s face. The pitching coach had to rush out to break up the impromptu meeting.
But the fun really started after the inning ended.