Nevertheless, I had a chance to catch some of the baseball highlight shows since all the televisions in the press box were magically turned to ESPN in the hours leading up to the late-night second game.
Apropos of that, if there is one thing that writers and ballplayers can agree upon it’s the Sunday night games on ESPN stink. They are almost more annoying than the 4 p.m. games on Fox, which are at the perfect time to ruin your day. They are too early to be a night game and too late to be a real day game – you’re just screwed if you actually want to have a life.
But whatever – no one wants to hear a guy who hangs out at the ballpark all day whine about what time they start the games. Besides, the thing that stood out on the highlight show was the scene from Yankee Stadium when manager Joe Girardi ranted and raved with the umpire over a call. In fact, Girardi was so demonstrative during his argument that he appeared to have ejected the umpire after he got the ol’ heave-ho.
That wasn’t the end of it either. Girardi threw his hat, bobbed his head and kicked dirt, and when the tantrum went on too long, he actually needed to be physically restrained from charging after the ump.
It was quite a scene, man. Meanwhile, in Boston ex-Phillie Pat Burrell was tossed from a game without the show Girardi provided, but certainly with the venom. Mired in a 1-for-19 slump in September, Burrell’s ejection (which undoubtedly included some choice words) was more about his inability to hit and frustration than the call.
Either way, Burrell’s show of outrage was only a handful of seconds shorter than that of Serena Williams during Saturday night’s semifinals match at the US Open in New York City.
You know, the thing everyone is flipping out about.
So here’s the question: How come it’s OK for men to curse, swear and act like little children when arguing with the officials, but if a woman does it she has gone over the line? In tennis, no less?
For those who just saw the theatrics and not the questionable call that pushed the tirade, here's what happened: Serena was called foot fault, which is more rare than catcher's interference or a balk in baseball. With the semifinals match and the No. 1 ranking in the world on the line, a foot fault call -- especially one that was questionable to begin with -- is unheard of. It just never happens, let alone at such a critical moment in the last major tennis tournament of the year.
So Serena flipped a bit. She yelled, dropped a curse word or two, and sent the line judge scurrying to the top officials in some sort of racial tableau that would have been such a ridiculous stereotype if it weren’t actually happening.
“If I could, I would take this ... ball and shove it down your ... throat,” Williams reportedly told the line judge, according published reports
Yeah, that’s it. Good thing baseball players and baseball officials don’t have the delicate sensibilities of the tennis hierarchy. You don’t want to know what Charlie Manuel says during his arguments. Earl Weaver, Billy Martin or Bobby Cox… forget it.
That’s really the case considering we’re talking about a sport where Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Illie Nastase had actual profane meltdowns on the court that rivaled anything in any other men’s sport. Hell, ballplayers and men tennis players are applauded for acting that way. They are called, "fiery," and sometimes the fans even chant their names when they throw a tantrum.
In comparison, the hand-wringing and indignation over the on-court anger from Serena is not only ridiculous, but also insulting and stupid. It also makes one wonder if there is something else at play here.
“Women definitely pay a higher price for the same ‘crime,’” tennis great Martina Navratilova told ESPN.com’s Bonnie Ford. “When Martina Hingis walked around the net to question a line call at the French Open, the crowd was on her case like I couldn't believe. Jimmy Connors did the same thing, they booed him when he did it, and then he won the next two points and they were cheering for him again.”
Williams has been fined $10,500 and there is talk of suspension, too.
Really? For what?
For acting like an athlete in the heat of the match who was upset over a perceived slight?
For doing things that the men tennis players do?
For upsetting the perceived genteel nature of women’s sports and/or tennis in particular?
How about for potentially offending a sponsor or two?
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