by Harold Friend
Brian Bruney laced into former Angels' closer Francisco Rodriguez for his actions when he finishes a game. Brian called Rodriguez' machinations, in which he pounds his chest, points to the sky, and roars, a "tired act." "I just don't like watching the guy pitch. I think it's embarrassing. I was taught to play the game a different way."
Brian Bruney is Right
Of course, Brian Bruney is right. The opposition feels bad enough when it loses. To rub it in is classless, and as the old-timers used to say, it is bush league. Winning is enough for real winners.
Francisco Rodriguez Did Not Address the Issue
Francisco Rodriguez typically did not address the issue. He attacked Brian Bruney as not having earned the right to criticize him. "He better keep his mouth shut and do his job and not worry about somebody else. If it comes out from somebody big like Mariano (Rivera), somebody who has been around and who is good at what he does, I would respect that from him."
Mariano Rivera Could Comment
Rodriguez paid enough attention to Bruney's position to say that if the criticism came from Mariano, he would respect it. He doesn't state that the criticism is valid. He simply dismisses it because an equal didn't make it. Isn't interesting that he used Mariano Rivera, one of the classiest, most professional, self-effacing, modest players in sports as someone whose criticism he would respect.
Joe DiMaggio and Respect
There is a story about Joe DiMaggio that illustrates what Brian Bruney meant by his criticism. In the second game of the 1936 World Series against New York, Hank Leiber hit a tremendous drive to the deepest part of center field at the Polo Grounds. DiMaggio broke back, raced gracefully as only he could, extended his glove at the last possible instant, and made the catch. It was the last out of the game and the play left DiMaggio next to the steps leading to the Yankees' clubhouse.
Without breaking stride, he navigated the first two steps, but then remembered that the public address announcer had asked everyone in the park to remain at their seats until President Roosevelt could leave. Joe stood at attention on the second step until Roosevelt left, and then went into the clubhouse.
Joba Chamberlain and John Sterling
Francisco Rodriguez could learn from Mariano Rivera and Joe DiMaggio, but things have changed so much that Bruney's censure also applies to one of his own team's pitchers as well as to its radio broadcaster.
Joba Chamberlain has been blasted for pumping his fist and screaming after striking out a hitter. Aubrey Huff facetiously pumped his fist after hitting a long home run off Chamberlain earlier this season. Chamberlain has toned down his act, but one cannot help but wonder if it because he was spoken to or because he has become much less effective.
Broadcaster John Sterling has a reputation for arrogance. Many consider his call after a Yankees' win much worse than anything Francisco Rodriguez or Joba Chamberlain do on the mound.
How much respect do the Yankees, represented by Sterling on the radio, give to opponents when, after a Yankees' win, he screams, "Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win!!! Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win!!! Not exactly Joe DiMaggio or Mariano Rivera.