On Aug. 18, 1967, Tony Conigliaro was hit in the face by a pitch, and his career never recovered. On Sunday night, Aug. 18, 46 years later, most of the 38,000 fans at Fenway Park cheered as Alex Rodriguez became a baseball dartboard for Ryan Dempster, who hit him in the back with a 3-0 pitch. The crowd roared approval as Rodriguez went to first base, and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi rightly erupted.
Rodriguez deserves to be reviled by anyone associated with the game. By all appearances, he has refused to abide by the rules and now arrogantly tries to manipulate the system. He does not deserve, nor does any player, to be punished for such transgressions by being thrown at in the batter’s box. Dempster’s pitch could have slipped, and Rodriguez could have been hit in the face. I doubt the 38,000 in attendance would have reacted the same way if that had occurred.