Thursday, April 20, 2005

Behind The Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson

Cool head prevails for Sheffield

The major league baseball season has barely gotten the ink dry on the players’ uniforms and already there is contention – this time between fans and players.

It is not a very long stretch to realize the big fiasco that was caused by the brouhaha, when the NBA players had a knockdown drag ’em out fight. That fight spilled over into the fan area and it is still being discussed far and wide.

Not far removed and only 10 games into the MLB season and already a fan had gone head ups with a player. This one was a little bit different. Normally you would have a fan vying with a player, trying to souvenir hunt. Like in the case of a homerun ball, but this one had a different twist.

New York Yankee outfielder Gary Sheffield had a run-in with the Boston Red Sox fan at Fenway Park. Sheffield was intending to reclaim a ball down the right side fence when a fan took a round house right in Sheffield’s direction. If there wasn’t enough damage, all the fan had to do was calmly pick up the errant ball and throw it back into the field of play.

Even Sheffield realized that it was a bad mistake, but at least he had the foresight to not let it get out of hand. It was this very instance that we referred to above that made Sheffield think and he let it pass. Sheffield was actually hit by the swinging uppercut, but it did no real damage to his confidence or his bridge work.

Instead, he let it pass! He did not retaliate with a punch. There was no beer shower. There was no chair throwing, and not a single fan left the stand. Of course, you can see the moral in all of this.

How closely these major sports parallel each other. Tempers are bound to get hot, but this is one instance where a cool head by Sheffield did not let it get any further.

Does this mean that we’re going to have cooler heads prevail? Maybe not, but it, at least, shows that some lesson was learned in the NBA some few months ago.

Without making this too long, the Griz really lead a charmed life. They made the playoffs for the first time in their history, not totally unlike the Boston Red Sox, and they repeated this season through no really good luck of their own. The basketball gods were really watching out for them.

How often is it that you can lose four games in a row, head into the playoffs and still come out smelling like a rose? There’s an old adage that says “If you make the playoffs and lose in the first round, then you’re bound to lose in the first round again.”

Whose adage is that? Mine.

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