I don’t have spectacular Spanish skills, and the Google translator always leaves me with more questions than answers, but it appears as if some wild stuff is going on in the Dominican Baseball League’s championship series. Wild enough that Gigantes del Cibao were forced to forfeit their game with Licey of Santo Domingo, putting them behind 3 games to none in the best-of-9 title series (nine games?). The league features many current and former major leaguers, and the winner of this series moves on to the Caribbean Series.
During Wednesday’s Game 2, Gigantes second baseman Felix Martinez hit into a routine groundout, then inexplicably lost his mind and nearly attacked the home plate umpire. Again, since I couldn’t understand the commentary over the video footage I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but it looked like the Gigantes were a little miffed about the guy’s strike zone. Martinez actually charged the ump and appeared as if he was going to tackle him, but seems to have thought better of it and changed his course at the last second. He was ejected from the game, and suspended for the rest of the series. I have manged to put together a Zapruder-esque still from the horrible streaming video feed of the game:
(Martinez is on the right, being restrained by a teammate. This is after he nearly lit up the umpire on the dead run from first base)
This brings us to last night. Gigantes thought that the umpiring crew might forget that they had tossed Martinez from the series, so they decided to pencil Martinez into the lineup as if nothing happened. The umps were not amused, and said he couldn’t play. Gigantes decided that if Martinez couldn’t play, that the rest of them wouldn’t play either. So they left. The umpires forfeited the game to Licey, who stuck around to entertain the crowd by playing a game of something called “flip.” Can you imagine if this happened here? If, like, Evan Longoria got suspended for some reason during the World Series and Joe Maddon tried to play him anyway? And then they forfeit the game and the Phillies stick around and play Guitar Hero on the jumbotron with the Phanatic?
Ironically, Licey is managed by Jose Offerman, who has some experience in getting suspended for doing stupid things on a baseball diamond:
Many, many thanks to THREE DAYS OF CRYIN’ for piecing the situation together.
Back to America, where the NBA All-Star starters were announced yesterday. And the league narrowly averted an awkward situation. Injured age fraud Yi Jianlian, who’s averaging 10 points a game with the Nets, finished third in the Eastern Conference fan voting for forwards. Had he somehow overtaken Kevin Garnett, David Stern might’ve informed Yi that he would be injured until at least the end of February whether he liked it or not. Either that, or Stern would’ve had to name the chair that guarded Yi during his pre-draft workouts to the West team to even things out.
It should also be noted that Bruce Bowen came rather close (only about 68,000 votes) to overtaking Amare Stoudemire for a starting spot on the West squad. That actually would’ve been great to see. He may have become the first All-Star to ever get flagrantly fouled by a teammate.
The only fan choice who could be considered objectionable is Allen Iverson, who seems to be hurting the Pistons more than he’s helping. The rest of the selections are completely justified. Dwight Howard was the only player to get more than 3 million votes.
• You may have noticed that last night’s Purdue-Minnesota game was called by the now completely unintelligible Brent Musburger and one Mr. Robert Montgomery Knight. RUMORS AND RANTS sure noticed, and reminds us that even though the Boilers won the game, their fans probably had the TV on mute for most of it, given Knight’s long-standing disdain for West Lafayette.
• For no reason whatsoever, here’s footage of American Gladiators host Mike Adamle belly-flopping off a 10-meter diving board after Ahmad Rashad wussed out and wouldn’t jump. Thanks to NESW SPORTS for this one.
• A New York Giants wide receiver was shot in the leg and hand yesterday. No, not that one. It was Taye Biddle. I know, I had the same reaction you did: Who?
• The thing I remember about Marc Iavaroni when I was a kid was that he always started every game for the Jazz and played like 5 minutes, then got subbed out for Thurl Bailey and barely saw the floor again. Well, somebody locate Thurl because Iavaroni’s just been yanked from his job coaching the Grizzlies.
• ONLINE SPORTS GUYS says a high school football coach in Kentucky has been charged with reckless homicide over the death of a 15-year-old player who collapsed during a practice. The lesson in all of this? Don’t ever coach youth sports, because if one of the kids collapses you’ll probably end up being held responsible for it (though I admit I don’t know the facts here, so maybe the guy was horribly negligent).
• Rejoice, Mets fans: Freddy Garcia is here to save the day.
• The oldest living ex-major league baseball player died yesterday at the age of 100. Bill Werber played 11 years for 5 different teams, including the Yankees, Red Sox, and Reds. He and Bill Dickey played bridge against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on the Yankees’ train rides. He also didn’t think women should sing the national anthem at games. We’ll let that one slide. The AP has the story (via the ALBANY TIMES-UNION).
• FANIQ reminds us that we shouldn’t underestimate the impact Ken Whisenhunt’s intimate knowledge of Ben Roethlisberger could have on the Super Bowl. The one time the two teams played since Whisenhunt left Pittsburgh to take the Arizona job, the Cards won 21-14 while forcing two interceptions from Ben and sacking him four times.
• Our favorite young figure skater and aspiring model, Molly Oberstar, is in 15th place after the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Alissa Czisny is in the lead, by what looks like a somewhat healthy margin (as if I’m any good at reading figure skating results).