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May 29, 2007 at 2:23 pm ET
10 Comments
Twins whine and Sox just watch

Monday’s 10-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins was unsettling on many different levels. The Sox wasted a rare opportunity to steal a win against Johan Santana due to a few timely infield hits and some shakey Sox bullpen work.

Evidently, this sign applies at the Metrodome as wellBut the most unnerving aspect of the Sox meltdown was the way Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was allowed to questionably accuse A.J. Pierzynski of intentionally trying to injure Justin Morneau while running out a double-play ball. Not only did the umpires not do anything to discipline Gardenhire for tirade, which required the other three umpires to restrain him from the first base umpire. But no one in the Sox dugout seemed to step up to defend their much-maligned catcher from these accusations.

After the delay and the Memorial Day tribute, the Twins fueled off Gardenhire’s outburst and scored five runs while the Sox appeared a bit shellshocked throughout the remainder of the game.

In looking at the replays, it doesn’t appear that Pierzynski made any contact at all with the leg of Morneau. At the very most, he grazed his calf with his leg. After the game, Pierzynski talked things out with both Gardenhire and Morneau, both of whom were satisfied with his explanation. This is probably because it wasn’t something that should have required explanation. Due to a less than perfect turn by second baseman Luis Castillo, the play at first was close and Pierzynski put his head down to try to beat the throw. But the idea that Pierzynski was intentionally trying to step on Morneau’s foot makes no sense.

The fact that Guillen didn’t rush out to stand up for his catcher leads me to wonder if the two have really put their Mike North radio squabble behind them. While A.J. has done plenty over course of his career to damage his public image as far as off-field relationships go, he hasn’t done anything to earn the reputation of a dirty player that would intentionally try to injure the reigning league MVP. But if his relationship with Guillen and some of his teammates is strained in other areas, it’s conceivable to understand why the Sox dugout wasn’t screaming from the dugout in his defense.

Pierzynski and the Twins have talked and made up about yesterday’s incident. However, I think A.J. needs to focus more on repairing the relationships within his own clubhouse from here on out. If this team has any hope of returning to the postseason this year, they need to recapture that “us against the world” mentality that they had in 2005. Right now, there are too many internal forces working against each other to develop this kind of unity.

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10 Responses to “Twins whine and Sox just watch”
  1. Landon Evanson Landon says:

    Gardy has a bit of a temper and has felt for years that teams are allowed to get away with things that Minnesota doesn’t (physical plays, bean balls, etc.) and so he gets a bit reactionary at times.

    That said, Pierzynski has a way of making contact with players from time to time–usually just a shoulder here and there–but yesterday it seems as though Gardenhire thought something was up.

    Do I think A.J. was trying to hurt Morneau? Absolutely not. Do I think that kind of thing could accidentally happen with Pierzynski simply trying to irk a player? I can believe that easily.

    I don’t think he was making an effort to hurt Johnny Canuck but let’s not forget that Gardenhire had Pierzynski as his catcher and knows the kind of things he does to “get under opponents skins.”

    I don’t think I’d classify anything as whining with Gardenhire considering how many Twins batters have been plunked, intentionally or otherwise, the past several years only to have a warning issued immediately before the team has a chance to even debate whether or not to take action.

    I realize it happens all over the game but with the Twins it’s been borderline ridiculous since Gardy took over.

  2. John Renneke says:

    I don’t so much have a problem with Gardy’s reaction as much as that nothing was done in response to it, either by the umpires or the White Sox. I cannot recall a manager ever getting in an umpire’s face that much and not being ejected. And the fact that the Sox dugout didn’t seem to flinch makes me wonder whether they have A.J.’s back. I imagine they would have reacted differently had the accusations been made against Konerko, Dye or Thome.

    As far as A.J. trying to “irk” Morneau, I wouldn’t even give him that much credit. I just saw him trying to beat out the throw and taking out some frustration on the bag by pounding on it as he was called out. Stepping on Morneau’s foot would have put himself at greater injury risk than Morneau anyway.

  3. Troy says:

    Wow, you’re a total homer and you completely lack objectivity.

    No doubt Gardy should have been tossed from the game, but that fact that he wasn’t completely points to the fact that what A.J. did was wrong and warning both benches after the Sox (who always play cheap) were playing cheap all game long was the wrong thing to do as well and the umps knew it. Honestly, I think Gardy’s goal was to get tossed.

    First baseman put there foot on the side of the bag, just like Morneau, to give the runner access to the entire top of the bag. A.J. clearly and intentionally tried to run close to Morneau for whatever reason and he clearly hit Morneau’s foot. And, being the class act that he is, he didn’t have the common courtesy to apologize. Gee, I wonder why almost everyone in Major League Baseball hates this guy. Come on man, his own teamates don’t even have his back. What don’t you get here? A.J. is a loud-mouthed jerk, plain and simple.

    I love this rivalry because my team plays with class and almost always outperforms the White Sox.

  4. Steve says:

    The reason Gardy didn’t get ejected is because he was 100% right, and the umpires knew it. AJ has been a pain in the ass his entire playing career. As much as Gardy gets ejected, it’s pretty obvious that if the Umpires thought that Gardy was even a little wrong they would have tossed him. The only person on the White Sox that any of us Twins fans like is Ozzie because he’s the only member of the White Sox that gives the Twins any respect. There is a reason why so many people can’t stand A.J. It’s because he is a huge antagonizer and a pain in the ass. Even his own manager hates him.

  5. John Renneke says:

    Torii Hunter’s steal of third base in the eighth was real classy.

    Saying the White Sox “always play cheap and were playing cheap all game” is a rather broad and inaccurate observation. Name another Sox player that could be considered to be a “cheap” player.

    The Sox do usually stand up for their own though, which is why yesterday’s game indicated to me that there may be some division in the Sox clubhouse between A.J. and the rest of the team. I won’t deny that Pierzynski can be a jerk from time to time. But he brings an edge to the Sox that they would lack otherwise and he’s made them a better team since coming over. But his latest actions (the Toby Hall comments not the Morneau incident) weren’t healthy for the team and yesterday only brought that to light.

    For the record, he did apologize to both Morneau and Gardy after the game.

    Should be a fun game tonight.

  6. sG says:

    John Renneke is right, it will be a fun game. It will also be a fun win for the Twins

  7. Jeff says:

    This article is way off base. Gardenhire was not arguing the suposed “contact” between AJ and Morneau but rather the first base umpire’s gesture to the Twins dugout to stop their jawing @ AJ after the inning.

  8. twin-X says:

    “Torii Hunter’s steal of third base in the eighth was real classy.” Compared to the beaning that the Sox would have gotten from any other team… it was the classiest way to send a message. And for good measure, we did it again :-).

  9. John Renneke says:

    Steve, if the umps thought Gardenhire was right then they should have tossed A.J.. I will agree that a few years ago the Sox didn’t respect the Twins as much as they should have. But now I would say they respect them too much, to the point of being somewhat intimidated by them. Santana owns pretty much everyone in the lineup and the “piranhas” have killed the Sox ever since Ozzie gave them their nickname.

    Jeff, it doesn’t matter what Gardy was arguing. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be able to berate an umpire about anything like that and stay in the dugout. The ump was just telling the Twins dugout to shut up and let him do his job.

    In any case, the focus of my column was more about my frustration with the Sox inactions than the Twins actions. So far, the Twins have come out with a purpose in this series and played the first two games with playoff intensity. Meanwhile, the Sox have looked like a bunch of emo kids on valium through the first two games.

    Tomorrow’s pitching matchup favors the Sox, but if teams continue to compete the way they have been it might not matter who’s pitching.

  10. Matt says:

    The Twins responded in the best manner possible: beating the mother-loving piss out of the Sox between the lines.

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