Wednesday, September 30, 2015


It's the last week of the regular season and all I have to say is "Blah."  I'm not excited, I'm not annoyed, I'm Blah.  10,000 franchise wins, Yogi died, Wild Card eminent, World Series... Blah.  I wish I could say I was feeling it, but I'm not.

According to the Urban Dictionary, Blah is a word "commonly used to describe an emotional state in which the person feels a sense of having no hope; usually during a deep depression."  I wouldn't say I am in a deep depression, but when I think of the Yankee season, I am definitely not excited.  Other words that describe how I am feeling about the Yankees in 2015 include, humdrum, yawn producing, bland and dreary. The weather we are having in the Northeast certainly isn't helping.  The sunshine left with Pope Francis and we are left with Blah.

The antithesis of Blah then would be first place, division champs, stellar starting pitching and World Series.  The magic formula for these seems to have been left in the off season, when we didn't capitalize on the opportunities to go from good to great.  James C. Collins, author of Good to Great, states in his book, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”  He also states, “Bad decisions made with good intentions, are still bad decisions.”

The Yankees tried to save payroll and they did but this is where we are because of this decision to be frugal with our acquisitions.  We are on the outskirts of Toronto, in this abyss called Wild Card haven instead of on the other side, where the grass is clearly greener, with infields and outfields filled with hitting and pitching hovering at an average of 3.77 ERA overall.  This is not where the Boss wants us to be.  This would have never happened if George Steinbrenner was here to steer the ship.  He would have never let David Price or Troy Tulowitzki go to a division rival.  He would not have pulled the purse strings so tight that we had no air to breathe when injuries came or veterans retired.

We are here in this Blah, this abyss, because of our general management.  It's another season where we are left to watch other teams make the plays like we used to make and beat up on teams that we used to beat up, namely the Mets, the Jays, the Rangers and the Royals.  When does it become our turn again? 2009 is so distant, so far away.  And this Blah feeling is interfering with its happy memory.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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Let me ask you a question; If someone is giving you an attitude... if someone is talking trash, maybe calling you names... what do you do?

We are human beings. Human beings get mad, and if someone's giving me lip, I automatically want to give it back. That's me. But I've never taken a swing at a guy unless that guy takes a swing at me. That's just my own rule of thumb.  If someone comes after me because I'm giving them lip back and swings at me, well, it's open season and when I say that, I mean I go for the face and pop the guy in the eye, I give him a shiner and I walk away. Why? Because that's what a fight is.  There's nothing more than that. There isn't a knife fight, sleeper holds, etc.  It's man to man and you hope you win it... that's it.

Bryce Harper is an arrogant player.  He's also the leader of the Washington Nationals whether you believe that or not.  Jonathan Papelbon? He's just visiting. I'm not saying that Harper has the clout where Papelbon needs to sit like a good school boy and not say anything. What I'm saying is, Harper's numbers are there and they are terrific. He's an outstanding player at 22.  If Jonathan Papelbon wants to bitch at Harper for a miss play or not hustling, he is certainly allowed. But Bryce Harper can say his piece as well.  What happened next is not a contained incident that should NOT be joked about or even handled lightly. It should also not be ignored or swept under the rug. It's serious.

Choking is a dangerous act of violence. It's vicious, a symbol of hate and it's unbelievable to me that no one is expressing the tragedy of what Papelbon did. I have news for you, suspension AND anger management is the next step.

You wanna quick history of some choking incidents in our American history in just the past year alone? I'll give you 3 to make my point:

Back in 2014, a man named Randy Lee Parkerson was accused of choking a man to death and dumping his victim's body.

In September 2015, a man named Darren Michael Dobson choked a mother of 2 to death.  He later plead guilty.

In Bayonne, NJ, a woman is being charged with nearly choking her husband to death after an argument over their divorce.

Yup. People die.  Yet, baseball folks like former player, CJ Nitkowski of FOX Sports is apparently OK with this, and writes that after "polling players", the conclusion is simple. Papelbon should not be at fault. Nitkowski had the nerve to write this:

"...The clubhouse is like no other place. It’s not like an office, and it’s not like your weekend softball team. Don’t compare a clubhouse to where you work, it’s completely different. "

So, in other words, the clubhouse is where anything goes... ANYTHING, and we fans wouldn't understand.   Even choking is apparently allowed.

In fact, one of the players he polled, even said: "I am perfectly OK with Pap’s reaction." Are you freaking kidding me?  Choking is allowed and accepted? Notice Nitkowski didn't name a single player he polled. Clearly he knows what he's putting to paper is not very popular. Well, it's also stupid. It's thug culture and it's ridiculous.

Also, lets make note of something pretty significant in Mr. Nitkowski's lame analysis of the Papelbon choke incident.  Nitkowski never once mentions the word CHOKE.  Instead, it was a scuffle between players... and don't worry, it's the clubhouse... anything goes.

Now people will review this and bring up my ripping of Robinson Cano for non-hustle when he was with the Yankees and suggest I'm giving Harper a free pass.  Let's not forget, ESPN the Magazine's Peter Keating thought he was slick when he quoted me in his piece about Cano, I guess hoping to embarrass me. It didn't work: (READ HUSTLE TO BE NUMBER 1... NOT 2):  

"Maybe it’s him jogging down the first base line.  Maybe it’s him NOT fist pumping after a game...  Maybe it’s him just making it seem like it’s “too easy"...Cano looks like he’s padding numbers as opposed to leading a club to a championship."

Keating went on to try and debunk my ripping suggesting "pacing" himself for a long career.  Silly. Here's the difference.  Cano dogged it forever, and his numbers didn't prove greatness. Harper is arrogant, but look at his numbers... he backs it up.  Cano is no Bryce Harper, that's just a fact.

Does it give Harper a free pass to crap around? Absolutely not, but it also doesn't mean he should be choked for it either.  Bryce Harper has the right to fight back verbally at Jonathan Papelbon, because let's face it, Papelbon is the leader of nothing.  What happened in that dugout, if you REALLY want to break it down, should have been a shiner to the eye and then you move on.  Men fight. Men don't choke.  There is also alittle something called Respect in this game. Oh yeah... it's also pretty significant in life as well.  Respect each other.  Sure, players, people will have disagreements over stuff... that happens all the time, but you're going to physically try and choke someone out?  Really?

Jonahthan Papelbon is a loser. That's my opinion.  Bryce Harper is arrogant and a very good ball player.  He was also assaulted.  Bottom line.

CJ Nitkowski is wrong.  It doesn't matter what setting a choke hold is in. You can be in a park or side of the road, in a domestic abuse apartment, or in the clubhouse... the choke does not discriminate... and it's dangerous. Nitkowski can 'wipe it' with his analysis of the Papelbon choke incident... and let me tell you something; In the end, Nitkowski and I disagree 100%, but here's what I know... he's not gonna come after me and choke me out.  Most likely he'll tell me I'm "way off base" and I don't know the clubhouse mentality... and that's fine, I don't.

But clubhouses don't get a free pass for a Kung Fu move that is known to murder people.

That's my take. You may disagree... and that's perfectly fine.

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The whole Yankee losing and not clinching thing is incredibly frustrating.  They need to lock it up! Much like Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson's dialog in Wedding Crashers, you have your bros, and they have their mission... to seal the damn deal!  There's incredible frustration among Yankee fans, and not only that, you need to almost laugh at times... it's utterly ridiculous that we can't beat the Boston Red Sox.

John Beckwith: You better lock it up.
Jeremy Grey: No, you lock it up!
John Beckwith: You lock it up!
Jeremy Grey: You lock it up!
John Beckwith: You lock it up!
Jeremy Grey: Lock it up!

It's annoying, it's frustrating and it's ridiculous as hell.   You wanna recap? Here it is, Michael Pineda didn't show up last night, neither did the Yankee offense. The end.

Sure, there were teasers.  We got alittle excited when things went our way... but in the end, we lose the game and we're icing our balls and coughing up blood and fans throw their hands up in frustration again and you know what? We should. We suck.

When is it going to happen? When the hell are we gonna Lock it up?  Bottom line, we wanna be the "Motorboating Son of a Bitch", not the one who didn't seal the deal.  It's literally that simple.

The Yankees are an incredible franchise.  We have had amazing moments and amazing comebacks all season.  But there is something to be said about a team that can't lock it up when it's really important.  Sure... we have time, but that's not what the fans are thinking about.  Every fan is thinking about how we DIDN'T make the post season for 2 years in a row. Will we make it 3? If so, Joe's gotta go.

We don't want to crawl into the playoffs. We want to go into it as aggressive lions, ready to conquer anything! We need to lock this up. WE NEED TO SEAL THE DEAL NOW!

A few stats I want to throw at you.  The Yankees score 4 runs to the Sox 10.  We had only 7 hits.  We were 3 for 8 with runners in scoring position. We don't have a single player in our lineup batting .300.  Think about that for a second.

Our pitching is not consistent.  We have injury and we are now going to ask a guy in Masahiro Tanaka, who's been on the DL twice this year to try and pitch us into our 10,000 franchise win and a clinch... something we've been waiting for for 2 days.

I said this the other day and I'll repeat;  While every other team is clinching and excited about the post season, I am going to suggest something bold.  The Yankees need to win this game tonight, shake hands, hit the showers, shut the lights off in the Bronx, go home and get a good, hard cry in. No champagne. No celebration. Go home and cry it out.  That's because the Yankees are not playing like champions.  Their wins near the end of this season are luck.  They need to cry hard, reflect and wonder why they deserve to be in the post season. This is assuming we even get there.  It's downright pathetic.

No true recap after this game. You know where I stand.  If the Yankees don't Lock it up A.S.A.M.F.P, they don't get into the post season, and if they do, they don't have a chance in hell.  That's because they aren't playing like champions. The New York Yankees are going through the motions and they'll end up not going very far.

I am not giving up on my team. I am demostrating the reality of the situation here.  No one is a bigger fan than I.  This is passion now spilling on the pages of BYB about my team. The Yankees have let me down. They have let us all down.  There are clubs out there that have gelled wonderfully down the stretch... exactly what you're supposed to do right about now.  Not us though. We can't get out of our own way.  We've lost games because we've beat ourselves night after night.

I'm sorrry... there is zero reason why we can't lock this up.  If we don't...well... 

Final: Red Sox 10 - Yankee 4

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015


If there is anything you need to read today, it's Derek Jeter's piece on The Players' Tribune about Yogi Berra

It is tremendous, fantastic, amazing, tear jerking and I stand applauding as I write this. Here's a portion:

"One of my earlier years with the Yankees, I was in a hitting slump and none of my teammates were talking about it. Yogi came by my locker one day and sat down, but he didn’t say anything for a while. He just sat there with a serious look on his face.

'I’ve got your solution,' he said finally.

By this time, a few of my teammates were leaning over to listen in.

'Try swinging at strikes.'

He opened up a huge grin and the room lit up.

That was Yogi. He knew baseball as well as anyone and he watched all of our games, but he didn’t like to over analyze things. He loved simplicity. I think that’s why he often spoke in short sentences that were full of meaning. With Yogi, less was truly more.

When I think of Yogi Berra, I see him sitting next to me at my locker or in the training room. When he came to the stadium, we would catch up, usually in the sacred hour of down time before the first pitch. Everyone remembers how good he was at talking. What I remember about Yogi is how good he was at listening."

The full piece is HERE. Read it. You will love it.

Derek Jeter. Never disappoints.  Bravo my friend. Rest in peace Yogi.

 Be Read. Get Known.

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My kids watch baseball with me from time to time, and there is usually a lot to explain about how the game works. It's not the  simplest game in the world, but occasionally something exceptional happens which sparks conversation and excitement. One day  a couple of years ago we were watching a game where a batter started arguing balls and strikes and was summarily ejected from the game. "What happened, daddy?" "He was thrown out of the game." "Why?" "He broke the rules, he yelled at the umpire, he was being obnoxious, and he was thrown out. That's what happens when you misbehave." Seemed like a great teaching opportunity, and I made it relevant for their age.

Enter Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon was suspended three games for throwing at Manny Machado's head in a game between the Nationals and the Orioles. He appealed the suspension, as baseball players always do, but he later dropped the appeal. Three days later his antics escalated. He attacked his teammate Bryce Harper, arguably the leading contender for the NL MVP, for failing to run all the way to first base on a fly ball. Harper found himself in the dugout with Papelbon yelling at him and grabbing him by the throat. To put the icing on the cake, Papelbon came into the game afterward and surrendered two runs in the ninth before being yanked from the game. Not that the results matter.

This behavior is so outrageous that it defies logic how he still wears a baseball uniform. I know the rules, the influence of the players union. I had to take a step back and ask myself, as I often do when I see crazy things in society, what can we learn and what can I teach my children from this. How would I explain Papelbon's behavior to my daughters if they asked? Here is what I would tell them.

If you lose, show respect to your competitor.

When you play better than the other team, you win. If your opponent plays better, they win. That's how games work. Getting angry at your competitor and retaliating in anger is what sore losers do. This guy Papelbon has lost perspective. Don't be like him. If you don't like losing, work hard to make sure you win. Even then you lose sometimes. Congratulate your opponent and try better next time. Trying to hurt your opponent is dishonorable and unsportsmanlike, and will only bring you disgrace.

If you get angry, never respond with violence.

Playing with passion is admirable. It inspires others to cheer you on. When your passion to win drives you to the point where you're trying to physically hurt someone, stop. Something is wrong. If I tried to throw a rock-like projectile at the head of my co-worker or grabbed him by the throat because he angered me, I would be fired on the spot. The same would happen to you, or worse. Many people sit in prison today for acting out in violence on another person because they were angry in the moment. If a boyfriend or husband ever did that to you, I'd tell you to get away from that person immediately and call the police. If you do it, you will ruin your relationships and lose the respect of your friends. The same thing is happening in the Nationals clubhouse. It's not worth it.

Don't take your frustration out on others.

Jonathan Papelbon had lost control of himself before Bryce Harper stepped to the plate. He was a hiccup away from erupting, and that fly ball was just the trigger. Nobody likes having someone not run out a play. It's not an excuse to grab them by the throat. If you're tempted to respond to frustration in disproportionate ways like that, stop. Go for a walk. Get a drink. Get help. But don't act on those feelings. Eventually, you will regret it.

If you do something wrong, fess up and apologize.

After the dust settled, Harper and Papelbon said they talked it out and they're good. You know what that means? It means they won't fight in public anymore. They were either told to say that or the bigger man - in this case, Harper - decided he was going to take the high road and act honorably. It says nothing about whether or not they made it right. You know what makes it right? "I would like to apologize for my behavior in last night's game. I lost my temper and my behavior was way out of line. I want to apologize to Bryce Harper for attacking him, the Nationals for the negative publicity I've brought to them, and to everyone who saw what happened for letting that kind of ugliness be part of a baseball game." Or something like that. It starts there. Making excuses, minimizing the impact of what you did, and  saying you're "good" - everyone sees through that. Nobody thinks you're good. People may still be mad after you apologize, but most will forgive if you work hard to redeem yourself.

That's it. The one positive thing I took away from this is that the Nationals did the right thing. They suspended Papelbon for what is effectively the rest of the season. Still, seven games just doesn't seem to be enough for throwing at someone's head and attacking a teammate. Beanings and fights have always been part fo the game. Once upon a time, so was sliding into second basemen spike first. Baseball dealt with that, and they need to deal with this. It is a blemish on the beauty of the game.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

Be Read. Get Known.

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Many of us in the greater Tri-State Area (NY, NJ & CT if you’re scoring at home) get our Sports Talk Radio fix from WFAN. The shows are great.  The have Boomer & Carton, Joe & Evan, Mike…(well, I liked him better with the Mad Dog) Francesa and Steve Somers. No matter who is on the air, I listen and enjoy. It’s true I feel they NEED to lose Suzyn Waldman…but that’s for another post. Goodness Gracious...

The reason I like the WFAN so much is by and large they call it like it is, quite similarly to Bleeding Yankee Blue.  They have their favorite teams, but have zero issue calling them out.  It’s great.

Recently, I was listening to Joe and Evan, Mets’ fans, and was truly thrilled to finally hear someone drop a truckload of reality on the club from Queens and their fans.  Hey look, the Mets are a good team.  They are.  No question.  BUT THEY ARE NOT AN ALL TIME GREAT TEAM.  Period.

One fan called in and ACTUALLY compared the current Metropolitan roster to the 1998 New York Yankees…. that’s the 1998 Yanks!  The 114 wins, swept everything, could play with the Big Red Machine Yankees.  Joe and Evan were having none of that.  Joe stated calmly that he is a life long Met guy, but needed to set this caller straight.  The two on-air personalities went on to explain that the 2015 aren’t even better than the 2015 Yankees. The Season series went to the Bombers 4-2. Fact!
Yes, the Mets staff is better, but games outside the NL East show that New York’s National League team is an average one.  The Phils, Braves and the Fish would probably finish outside the Final 4 of the College World Series.  The division is having an awful year. 

The Mets clinched, but they might not have a better record than the Yanks when all is said and done.  These were all points Joe and Evan made, I'm just repeating.  That was refreshing to hear.  They aren’t in the tank for the Mets.  They pull for them to win, but put facts before kooky talk.

Look, I get that Mets’ fans are excited and they should be.  Their boys are headed for October Baseball!  They have the pitching to go deep.  Their Captain is back and they went out and got that big hitting free agent.  They have a lot to be happy about…but breathe.  Count to 10, relax, and meditate.  Whatever you need to do.  Just don’t fly off the handle and call into WFAN.  Those guys are not going to validate crazy thoughts or delusional beliefs.  They talk sports, NEW YORK SPORTS.

Well done, gents.  G’luck to your Mets.

** A song about the Radio with some guys I like…that’s all. **

--Mike O'Hara Senior "Features" Writer
Twitter: @mikeyoh21

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Pathetic showing by the New York Yankees.  They spent more time watching the scoreboard  than they did actually playing solid offense last night.

The planets were aligned in such a way that it was really going to be a good night. The Red Sox are terrible.  They Yanks were set up to get their 10,000th franchise win. BYB Senior writer Ike Dimitriadis was at the game.  Some times things are just perfect. Here's the problem... the fans cannot swing the Yankees bats.  Our team couldn't do a thing last night. They scored one 1 on an ARod sacrifice.

 Ivan Nova was pitching well until he wasn't.  That was the 6th and 7th when he gave up 2, 2 run homers to the Sox.  And suddenly, people all over the Tri-state turned off their TVs.  It's a shame when your own fans can't support or believe in you at that moment.  This is not the 1998 Yankees folks. We are crippled and crawling into the playoffs. I got news for you... and here's the reality; The way this team is playing, how in the hell do you believe they can win in ANY short series of the playoffs? How?

Now, I'll get angry mail... "You're giving up on your team" and "They've had a good run all year, we're lucky to be doing this good." REALLY? We're lucky to be this far? Well, it means nothing to me if we don't get to the playoffs and win the whole damn thing.

You know what I want to see if the Yankees get their playoff berth? I want them to be professionals... humbled.  I want them to shake each other's hands, shower, shut the lights off at Yankee Stadium, go home and lay in bed and think about how fucking hard this was for us fans.  Pull from the Ralphie playbook after he beats up the red headed bully and cries to his mother in Christmas Story. 

Yup ,that's right, time for a hard cry.  These players need to feel alittle bad and angry and consumed by emotion.  It's been a struggle and fight and absolutely painful the entire way...You'll be lucky if you get there. Now do your job!

Final: Red Sox 5 - Yankees 1

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Monday, September 28, 2015


Rob Refsnyder is impressing the Yankees.  But why did it take so long? Guys like BYB writer Steve Skinner have been suggesting exactly what the Yankees decided to finally do in the Chicago White Sox series... "pencil him in." 

Great article by Ryan Hatch of about how the whole thing came to be. I'll take a portion:

"...Joe Girardi decided to pencil in Refsnyder's name, giving him his first big league start since those afternoons in July. 

It was a relatively low-risk move.

First of all the Yankees, though not one person on the Steinbrenner payroll would admit it, pretty much had (and still do) the Wild Card wrapped up. They aren't going to catch the Toronto Blue Jays for the division, but the consolation Wild Card wasn't (and still isn't) much in danger. In other words, Thursday against a non-divisional opponent wasn't the biggest deal in the world. 

So running Refsnyder out there was in the lowest-pressure situation possible for a late September game. If he failed? Well, just a game, and he could always be replaced midway through if it was a total disaster. If he did OK? Then great, maybe it will give him some confidence heading into the off-season.

But a third option, perhaps the one most unexpected, happened: Refsnyder went 4-for-8 with a double and played flawless defense over three games, even starting a double play on Saturday. 

It's possible, Girardi said, that Refsnyder factors into the plans as the Yankees prepare for the playoffs." 

So what does it all mean? Well, it means that we're right at BYB. Sometimes the hunger of a young kid that's trying to prove something needs to be tested. Refsnyder passed the test and now most likely Joe Girardi will trust him out there in a pinch, or even in the starting lineup. 

It also means that Refnsyder's recent numbers are a small sample and it could all change, you just don't know... it's baseball.  What happens next is up to Ref and whether or not the Yankees decide to play him more consistently.  For me personally, I believe he has provided a ton of heart that the Yankees can't deny.

Let's see what happens next...

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I know when Masahiro Tanaka returns from that hammy.  Do you? If you don't, check this out.  It turns out it's gonna be Wednesday.  I'll hand this one off to Hardball Talk:

"The Yankees have announced that Masahiro Tanaka will return to the Yankees’ rotation Wednesday against the Red Sox.

Tanaka missed his previous start due to a hamstring strain. After a couple of bullpen sessions over the weekend went off without discomfort or issue he was given the OK."

We need this guy to help us in what feels like the biggest stress of a Yankee fan's life right now. With 2 years not in the post season, there is just this cloud of doubt as we enter the last few days.  Even if we're in, how would we do in the post season? We'll just have to cheer our heads off!

 I can't wait to have Tanaka back.

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If you haven't seen the video of Jonathan Papelbon attacking teammate Bryce Harper... watch it.  Then read, FINALLY SOMEONE CALLS PAPELBON A 'COWARD' involving a confrontation between Pap and Manny Machado of the Orioles. Recognize something; this is the live destruction of a man.  Jonathan Papelbon should no longer be considered a "bad boy." He should be considered a problem and perhaps Major League baseball needs to do more than just suspend Pap and fine him... maybe they should consider removing him all together.

This is the incident that occurred between Papelbon and Bryce Harper. I love this vine because it really captures the attack:

According to the Daily News:

"The mouthy reliever, who has worn out his welcome in Boston and Philadephia, appears to have punched his ticket out of DC - by attacking superstar Bryce Harper. 

One day after the Nats were eliminated from the NL East race, Jonathon Papelbon and Harper brawled in the Nationals dugout. 

After a flyout in the eighth inning of what became a 12-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, Harper headed to the dugout, where he and Papelbon, the team’s closer, exchanged words. The argument escalated, and Papelbon reached out with his left hand and grabbed Harper by the throat.

Papelbon then shoved the outfielder toward the bench with both hands, before teammates pulled the pair apart.

'I mean, he apologized, so, whatever,' Harper said with a shrug afterward in the clubhouse, messy smears of eyeblack on his cheeks. 'I really don’t care.' Asked whether he had tangled with a teammate before, Harper responded: 'Usually fighting the other team.'

Papelbon said: 'I’m in the wrong there. ... For me, I can’t allow that to happen in the middle of a game. You can handle that after the games or allow the manager to handle that. So in that light of it, I’m wrong.'"

Well, you're damn right you're in the wrong, but you also need to apologize.  Apologize to Harper, apologize to the Nationals fans. Apologize to all of baseball you piece of crap.  You see? That's what's wrong with this loser... he never feels the need to apologize for his actions.

Papelbon grabbed Harper's throat... that's an action of a lunatic.  Grabbing someone in the throat is something that's done in Kung Fu grappling or self-defense. Last time I checked Harper didn't swing at Papelbon, so, explain why he'd even use the throat hold? Why? You can kill a guy with that if it's done correctly.  In other words, he was looking for a fight.  Talking trash to a teammate and them talking back doesn't mean you attack them.  It's bullshit.

Bottom line, Jonathan Papelbon needs to be removed from the season... maybe even major league baseball.  Let him go home, make anger management mandatory and let's move on.  This guy is a cancer to any ball club and clearly his ego has taken over.

Get lost Johnny, you're a piece of trash.

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