Jewish World Review Oct. 15, 2003 / 19 Tishrei, 5764
False bravado from the mayor of New York
On Saturday, 72-year-old Yankee coach Don Zimmer charged at 31-year-old Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez and a bench-clearing brawl for which Martinez was largely responsible.
MARTINEZ threw Zimmer to the ground, a cowardly move considering Zimmer's age and physical condition. Zimmer was injured a little bit.
But New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took it to another level, using the threat of the law for political gain with New Yorkers saying "If that happened in New York we would have arrested the perpetrator. You just cannot assault people even if it's on a baseball field."
Yes, right. Does that include hockey rinks, too? When's the last time Mayor Bloomberg went to a New York Rangers game. There are "assaults" there almost every night, often unfair unnecessary fights.
If he wants to crack down on violence in sports across the board, do it. But you can't just pick a brawl you don't like and threaten to call out the legal cavalry.
Now, does that mean it's never appropriate for the long arm of the law to start pitching? No. If it's true that other Yankees, for example, attacked a grounds keeper in a separate incident in the bullpen only because he was rooting for the Red Sox, that's different. Just because a bench-clearing brawl shouldn't lead to charges, does not mean that beating up the towel guy after the game should go unpunished as well.
Now Major League Baseball fined Martinez $50,000, Zimmer, only $5,000, I think as it should be. But it was an incident for baseball to address. To keep the sports analogies going, I want to see uniformity. If Martinez would have been charged, then every player that throws a punch or throws someone to the ground has to be charged as well. And if the mayor is not ready to go that far, then he shouldn't spew toothless threats in the name of the law.
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