I was enamored -- perhaps overly so -- with Jarrod Saltalamacchia for quite a while during his time in Texas, and despite my abundant disappointment at how he just didn't manage to figure it out here, I wished him all the best in Boston, and still do. He's posting up a solid .252/.312/.469, 2.6 WAR campaign up there this season, and probably still could evolve into an All-Star-caliber catcher. I'd feel worse about that if not for the fact that the Rangers have extracted some fantastic production out of their own catchers this season, and still have blue-chip right-hander Roman Mendez to show for their troubles.
But Craig Calcaterra synopsizes what went down between Boston and New York last night ...
The scene: Cervelli hit a homer in the fifth. He doesn’t hit a lot of homers and this one was a blast. So you could understand that Cervelli was a bit enthused about it. He emphatically clapped his hands as he crossed home plate. John Lackey and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia didn’t much care for it and the very next pitch Cervelli saw went straight into his back. Benches cleared and there was jawing, but no one fought. Probably because these two teams have a lot of old guys on them and no one wants to break a hip.
If you punch up the video, you'll find that, yeah, Cervilli did emphatically clap his hands upon reaching home plate, but didn't make an excessively huge spectacle of it, didn't make eye contact with any Red Sox players, and didn't really do anything that you would think would violate baseball's sacred and nebulous "code." It appeared to be an impromptu, genuine display of happy emotion, and not something that would merit retaliation or some such. That could just be me, though.
Anyway, Salty ended up being plunked in the wrist the next time he stepped to the plate, and after the X-rays came back negative, he decided to hold forth on Cervilli's actions ...
"As far as the clapping goes, yeah, that could have been a little much," he said. "You don't show anybody up.
"The game is changing," Saltalamacchia went on. "Younger guys are coming in. I've seen it. (Texas Ranger) Elvis Andrus, (Kansas City Royal Alcides) Escobar over at short. I mean a lot of guys - the Latin players - that's the way they play the game. And it's OK to an extent. But if they go over that, you have to kind of step back."
Saltalamacchia realized what he said might not sound right and asked reporters over to clarify himself.
"There's something I want to clarify: I wasn't trying to say 'Latin players' or any of that stuff," he said. "The younger guys are coming up wanting to make a name and wanting to stick around. The game has changed a little bit from when older guys were coming up and veterans were key in their development. I was just saying he's an emotional guy."
If Salty had back-pedaled any more, he'd be back playing in the Sally League.
Yeah, I still like Salty -- but, apparently, celebrating your little moments with enough emotion to step over this very vague and undefined invisible line (even if the original offense actually is quite innocuous, all things considered) now constitutes valid reason for the other team to knock you down on your ass and teach you a lesson. I don't get it. Is this such a dire violation of baseball's unwritten rules to merit this kind of tit-for-tat garbage that extends these interminably long Red Sox/Yankees games even further?
I guess what I'm saying is that Salty should think long and hard about going ahead and turning his mic off there ... buddy.
By the way, Saltalamacchia is 26. Cervelli is 25. Damn those guys who are basically the same age as me those young players who are disrespecting the game!