Kerry Wood’s “Suspension”by Joe Dimino
April 29, 2004
Major League Baseball suspended Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood for five games and fined him an undisclosed amount for his inappropriate actions in an April 17 game against Cincinnati.
This one was a doozy. I love watching a good argument, and Billy Martin and Earl Weaver were my favorites. And who can forget Joaquin Andujar blowing up in the World Series. Wood's rant was right up there, he really went ballistic. Too bad there's no video of Babe Ruth storming off the mound, screaming at the ump and getting the boot; setting up Ernie Shore's perfect game. The fans went nuts too, throwing things on the field. No one got hurt, so it really was hysterical if you ask me.
Back to the ramifications. Wood's "suspension" shouldn't make any difference. He's already appealed, and he can drop the appeal the day after a start; which means only that the following start will be pushed back one day. Glendon Rusch and Jimmy Anderson are in Iowa and pitching well (Rusch has a 16:1 K:BB ratio, and I've always loved his arm), so one of them could come up and make a start.
The rotation is currently (starting Friday) Wood, Matt Clement, Carlos Zambrano, Sergio Mitre and Greg Maddux. So if Wood drops the appeal and "sits out" Saturday, Dusty Baker can pitch Clement 5/1, Zambrano 5/2, Mitre 5/3, Maddux 5/4, and Anderson or Rusch 5/5. Wood comes back on the 6th, Clement 5/7, Zambrano 5/8, Maddux 5/9, and on 5/10 there's an off-day, so Mitre gets skipped, and they are back on track. If they skip Mitre with the day off, other than Clement and Zambrano being given an extra day off, no one would miss a beat.
The grand sum of it is a start by Anderson or Rusch on May 5, instead of Mitre May 9. The 5th spot wouldn't be due to pitch again until the 15th. So after his start on May 4, Mitre gets sent to Iowa so he can stay on a regular schedule, and Rusch or Anderson gets the callup. On the 15th (which allows for Mitre being in the minors 10 days, which, barring injury, is required by rule) they can decide if they want Mitre, Rusch or Anderson to become their 5th starter.
That's what I'd do anyway...
What MLB needs to do when they suspend a starting pitcher is to make the rule that if you appeal, the appeal cannot be dropped. The appeal hearing should be scheduled for the day before one of the pitcher's scheduled starts. If he loses the appeal, or has the suspension reduced, the suspension starts that day.
That's if MLB wants the suspensions to matter. If they want to appear tough, without actually having any impact, they should continue with their current setup.
Yanks Rolling, Pettitte Too
It was a good day for current and past Yankees Thursday.
After the disaster that was six of seven losses to the hated Red Sox, the Yankees bounced back and swept the A’s Big Three, 10-8, 5-1 and 7-5. The anemic (in 2004 anyway) offense exploded for six runs in the 8th inning Tuesday night, giving them a "season changing" type of win. I put the quotes on that, because the season was going to change anyway, but this will be the reference point everyone focuses on. I was listening to the game on the radio, and it was amazing hearing the sirens and the crowd. It felt like a playoff game as the tension built.
Thursday’s win was huge too. Derek Jeter broke the 0-for-32 slump with a home run to lead off the game. Miguel Cairo hit a three-run home run off Barry Zito with two out in the 6th to break a 3-3 tie.
As bad as they’ve played, the Yankees are back to .500. They’re just 4.5 games out with 140 to go. They are 10-4 when not playing the Red Sox. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got some holes. But Cairo should get the bulk of the playing time at second from here on out. He isn’t nearly the black hole that is Enrique Wilson.
Wilson is quite possibly the worst regular in MLB that I can remember, at least since the immortal Doug Flynn anyway. For a comparison, Neifi Perez is miles ahead of Wilson. Perez is an outstanding defensive shortstop. He’s good for a .290 OBP and a .350 SLG too. Hardly Ruthian, of course, but Wilson is an average defensive second baseman and has a .249 OBP and a .308 SLG over the last three years. It’s amazing, but the .320/.380 I figure for Cairo sounds like a godsend at this point.
Andy Pettitte also came back strong Thursday, throwing six innings of one-hit ball, striking out three and walking one after missing 23 days with a strained elbow. Pettitte threw 74 pitches (50 strikes) before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the 7th inning of the Astros 2-0 win in Pittsburgh.
I wonder what the reaction will be for Pettitte if he starts a World Series game in the Bronx for the Astros. I can’t think of the last time a Yankee of Pettitte’s stature came back to Yankee Stadium in a playoff series as the opponent, while still being a useful player. Too bad the Yankees couldn't get past the Red Sox in 1986; it would have been wild to see Reggie back in the Bronx. It would have saved the Boston fans some grief later in October too...
Joe Dimino was an author with The Hardball Times who stopped writing several years ago due to real life taking up too much time, as well as the longest case of writer's block on record. He founded the The Hall of Merit. You can contact Joe by clicking here.
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