It was the name-calling seen around the world. Not exactly heard, since it was clearly lip-reading, but seen nonetheless. Let’s rewind quickly. Mike Napoli, one of the few Boston Red Sox’ hitters who are doing what they have been paid to most of the season–which is to hit and drive in runs, took a two-out, two-strike pitch from Yankees’ ace Masahiro Tanaka, and drove it into the stands, breaking a 1-1 tie, and giving the Red Sox a much-needed victory in the Bronx Saturday evening. On his way around the bases, Fox Sports cameras spotted Napoli mouthing the “Idiot” as he was circling the bases. Another in a line of class acts by a class organization. It’s just the latest in a line of Red Sox players running their mouths to get attention. Yanks Go Yard covered Jonny Gomes‘ antics during the off-season and winter. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tracked down Napoli, who like any good jellyfish, tried to do immediate damage control:
“Nothing toward him…I thought he was going to throw me a split in the dirt. He had been getting me out all night on it.”
While Tanaka had kept Napoli under control throughout the night previously, issuing a walk and getting a pair of strikeouts, does a tie-breaking home run really necessitate mocking your opponent around the bases and calling him names? While Napoli showed his lack of spine during the Rosenthal interview, this would be a perfect opportunity for today’s Yankees’ starter, Chase Whitley to remind Napoli that paybacks can sometimes be painful. A little chin music or buzzing the tower would most likely get his attention.
Then again, shouldn’t Napoli and his fellow Red Sox be more concerned about where they are currently sitting in the AL East standings than mocking a rival hurler? Boston is 7 games out of first, and 4-6 over their last ten. John Farrell would be wise to remind his “defending World Series Champions”, to just shut up and start winning some ball games before it’s too late, and GM Ben Cherington is forced to sell off multiple pieces of last year’s title team and start looking towards 2015. Then again, that would be giving anyone in Boston a thimble’s full of common sense.