Good morning Fackers, and those of you who are still sticking around to tell us how "facking qweaah" we are.
Well it was quite a day around here wasn't it? Thanks to some Tuesday night shenanigans in Boston, some tedious work with MLB.tv and Windows Movie Maker by Jay, and gracious links from Big League Stew, Deadspin, The 700 Level, The Legend of Cecilio Guante, and the Cleveland Frowns, this place absolutely blew up. Good thing Jay and I didn't both go the Yankee game or anything like that..... oh wait, we did.
In our absence, what was conceived as a well earned jab at some jackass-ish behavior somehow devolved into a cesspool of anonymous tough-guy commenting centering around steroids, tainted championships, relative payroll levels, fanbase paranoia, recent playoff history, and a bunch of other horseshit. Oh, and I think I might have been invited to visit Texas as well. I'm still trying to discern what the hell any of that has to do with what happened in Boston Tuesday.
So at the risk of stirring up yet another shitstorm, let me see if I can offer as objective an outlook on Youkgate as humanly possible from a dirty facking Yankee fan. The way the first game and two innings of the Tigers-Sox series unfolded, I suppose something like this was bound to happen. The Sox were coming off a four game sweep at the hands of their division rival - a series that had its share of hit batsmen tomfoolery - and were playing their worst baseball of the season.
Monday night's game saw three hit batsmen: Miguel Cabrera in the top of the fourth, Youkilis in the bottom, and Brandon Inge in the the eighth. On Tuesday the teams picked up right where they left off. Cabrera was hit again in the top of the first, causing him to leave the game. For what it's worth, I didn't think that pitch was intentional. In the bottom of the inning, Porcello came inside on Victor Martinez. Martinez didn't like it. I don't think Porcello was trying to hit him, but I'm sure his intent was to come inside. Whether that was retribution or whether it was because that's just a good way to pitch I'm not entirely sure.
Either way, the climate was perfect for a fight when Youkilis led off the bottom of the second. I'm convinced that sometimes, particularly when tensions are high like that, a batter will go to the plate having already made the decision to make a big deal out of anything close to hitting him. That's how we wound up with Manny Ramirez inciting a bench clearing incident in the 2003 ALCS on a pitch that was high, but over the plate. That's how we wound up with Richie Sexson charging the mound on a pitch that was outside. And that's how we wound up with Youkilis, who had already been plunked once in the series, charging the mound on a two seam fastball that appears to have hit him without any intent.
According to pitch f/x, Tuesday night Porcello threw eight four seam fastballs, averaging nearly 93 MPH and topping out at 94 MPH. He threw half as many two seamers, averaging just under 92 MPH, and topping out at 92.2 MPH. MLB Gameday had the two seamer that hit Youkilis at a blistering 89 MPH. According to fangraphs, Porcello's pitch selection and velocity Tuesday, despite the small sample size, was in line with his results this season. So if he wanted to hit Youkilis, why would he choose to do it with a two seamer, a pitch that he throws half as often and anywhere from 1 to 5 MPH slower than his four seamer?
Some might point out that entering last night's game, Porcello had hit just one batter in 111 IP in 2009. That's a fair point, but in his lone minor league season, Porcello plunked 11 batters in just 125 innings of work. But I mean, that's all in the past right? 20 year old Major League pitchers should have impeccable control.
Either way, Youk charged the mound and threw his helmet like a coward. Porcello, giving up about twenty pounds, executed a nice hip toss that would have made Tito Santana proud, leaving Youk at the bottom of the pig pile.
Despite what the pro-Sox contingent commenting here had to say, Youk isn't winning this one on the national stage. The Deadspin comments - not the best gauge but definitely not a biased cross section - were decidedly anti-Youk. Keith Law tore him a new one before the game was even over. MLBN was none too kind to him Tuesday night, and what little coverage I saw on ESPN wasn't too complimentary either. In a way, even the MLB suspensions speak to that: Youk got five games which he began serving last night. Porcello, his ejection dubious to begin with, was also given five. However, most starting pitchers suspended for similar "offenses" have been given six games. The Tigers can easily work Porcello's suspension around an off day, making sure he doesn't miss a start. Alternatively, if Porcello's appeal reduces the suspension by a single game, it will cover his normal rest. But whatever, ignore what's being said on the national stage - several dozen anonymous commenters here can't be wrong.
Now, I don't want to pick through all ninety-some-odd comments we had on the initial post and critique them one by one, but there are two that I'd like to highlight.
First, we have the Greco-Roman wrestling expert who proclaims (sic'd) "The man on defense has the advantage when he knows its coming". Well, sure they do, that's why it's called going on the defensive. Wait - never mind - it's called going on the offensive, because, you know, it's better to attack than be attacked, particularly when you have a running start, your opponent is retreating, and you elect to use protective gear as a missile. I may not be the fighting expert that this anonymous commenter apparently is, but I have taken several physics courses, and I do know that Youkilis' 220 lbs coming at a full sprint is preferable to Porcello's 200 lbs at a standstill. Momentum equals mass times velocity. And for future reference Youk, next time you attack a guy who has you by four inches but is giving you twenty pounds, it might be a better idea to go low. Perhaps if you had spent more time with the Huggins Thugs during your time at Cincy you would know this.
Secondly, we have "I love how you end the clip before youk rolls over on him like he is about to ground and pound him to a bloody pulp". Yes, I'm sure that's exactly what was about to happen next. We've all seen this guy before. He's usually the one who talks a bunch of shit, tears his shirt off, then begs his friends to "hold him back", you know, for the other guy's good, not because he's really a pussy and doesn't actually want to fight. Alternatively, he's the guy who gets his ass kicked, and upon the merciful ending of the fight asks his friends, "Why'd you break it up?!?! I had him right where I wanted him".
Anyway, thanks for the record-shattering day everyone. With just one post we received about a month's worth of traffic. Too bad most of it was a barren wasteland of anonymous idiocy. Despite what I've described above, I see now that we probably should have blindly praised Youkilis for his gritty guttiness and his gutty grittiness. The rest of the post should have been about how the Yankees suck and all take steroids and buy championships and how insecure they are with a 5.5 game lead more than two thirds of the way through the season.
Never mind the fact that I completely unfairly slammed the guy on Monday for his outfield play over the weekend, and no one said peep. The guy took one for the team when it was needed, put himself on the line, and we (predictably) made fun of him for it no one called us out on it. The lowest common denominator wins again.
I realize that calling the blog "Fack Youk", though done somewhat tongue-in-cheek, is antagonistic. As such, a certain amount of what happened yesterday is to be expected when people don't get the joke. But I'm utterly amazed that what I thought was a fairly cut and dry post spurred the pissing match that followed. But what do I know? Keep the comments coming; let's just try to up the collective IQ a bit this time around. As for me I've said my next-to-last about the Sox until the next head-to-head series starts next Friday.