Tuesday, October 19


I've never seen anything like it. We're in the ninth inning of the Boston Red Sox-NY Yankees game in a 3-2 pennant race, and the Sox are up 4-2. After a lengthy and mysterious break in which police officials joined the umpires on the field, pointing at things unknown, the stands have just been lined with police in riot garb. What has been a terrific series and a most exciting sixth game has suddenly been transformed into a violent-event-waiting-to-happen and the game is almost a background theme.

The Yankee pitcher has retired the Sox. It's now the break before the bottom of the ninth.

Background: In the 8th inning, A-Rod hit a drive to the pitcher, swatting the ball out of the Sox pitcher's hand as he tried to tag A-Rod out at first. A-Rod raced past first, not coming close to the base, though initially he was called "safe" by the first-base referee. During this melee, his teammate crossed home plate, bringing the score to 4-3, Sox. No question, A-Rod fouled, and the umps all gather and finally declare him out, returning his teammate, Derek Jeter, from third base to first. The score is now back at 4-2.

I can only surmise that the umps thought their call was so controversial that the Yankee fans would mob them and tear them limb from limb if the Sox survive and win the game. Ergo, the riot police are called.

Now the cops are exiting the field but remaining in the front row of the stands, ostensibly to be on hand should there be a need. What changed during the commercial break, I wonder?

I'm trying to concentrate on the game, but I keep thinking of that image of riot police lining the field of a pennant game in the United States of America. This our national pastime. We cheer and we cry. When non-game injuries occur, they're because of spoiled players throwing chairs into the crowd or because testosterone-loaded professional athletes brawl. They're not because American sports fans storm the field and endanger honest umpires.

It's like a bad movie. It's like a foreshadowing of Furious George's Amerika.

Woa! Sox win! History is made!


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