Monday, October 13, 2003

DONnybrook update:
Another Clear Head  

I was overly-critical of the lack of critical thinking around the Yankee-Red Sox brawl in yesterday's entry. Thanks to Baseball Primer, I found Bob Raissman's biting and well-organized critique of the the way the Yankees' own television outlet was spinning it.

Some selections:

It was ironic - and pathetic - that anyone connected with the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network crew would express concern for Don Zimmer following Pedro Martinez's Saturday takedown.

Remember, all the YES voices working on what seemed like an endless postgame show following ALCS Game 3 - Michael Kay, Bobby Murcer, Suzyn (Georgie Girl) Waldman and Paul O'Neill - stood by silently in June when George Steinbrenner ordered YES suits not to show Zimmer on any Yankee cablecasts.

Where was their concern then? Guess these voices had a sudden case of amnesia Saturday night when they offered their take on the Zimmer-Martinez tango. Demonizing Martinez was in the Yankees' best interests. Now YES - with Steinbrenner no doubt loving it from Tampa - was all-Zim-all-the-time TV.

Kay, from the start, was obsessed with one question: "Why didn't one Yankee come to Zimmer's aid and hammer Martinez after he flung Popeye to the turf?" Murcer tried explaining what goes on when dugouts empty. So did O'Neill. The discussion had its merit. What they all neglected to address was the wisdom of Zimmer taking it upon himself to play the enforcer role. In their effort to crucify Martinez, Zimmer got a free pass.

If the YES voices wanted to take that route, they should have made a tiny effort to strike some balance. Instead of saying, "Pedro should have sidestepped him (Zimmer)," Kay should have asked Murcer or O'Neill: "What would you have done if some enraged lunatic - even if he was 72 - came running at you loading up to throw a left hook?"

As Yankeecentric as that discussion was, it was objective compared to what came next. All pretense of YES being a network providing two sides of a story went out the window when Waldman, and Yankee prez Randy Levine, turned YES into Al-Yankzeera.

Waldman asked "an angry" (her words) Levine what he thought of what transpired at Fenway. Levine, in a performance that would've made Baghdad Bob jealous, launched into a tirade that went unchallenged by Waldman. Levine (think he was under orders from Steinbrenner?) seized total control of YES and used it to spew pinstripe propaganda.


Waldman lost her cool, joining Levine in piling on Fenway security. She also put out bad info saying: "We all know this guy (the groundskeeper). He's been in the bullpen all year. His name is Dave." Waldman obviously did not "know this guy" intimately because his name is Paul Williams.

It's a fine piece. Read the whole thing.

It's welcome, but alarming, that the two most sensible press voices on this are both from New York. Maybe it's the "Only Nixon Can Go To China" or "Only Clinton Can Dump Welfare" rule, but reading this makes me wish Raissman wrote for my local daily.

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