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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Halsey joins club

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox; what you have here is the best and most intense rivalry in sports. Most times when these teams get together for a three-game series, the benches will usually clear at least once, like they did this weekend. However, like this weekend, no punches were thrown.

The cause of the latest “Yankees-Red Sox-get-to-know-each-other-better” episode was a hit batsman. New York pitcher Brad Halsey and new Boston hurler Pedro Astacio, along with Yankee manager Joe Torre were ejected after the whole ordeal.

The history of this rivalry can be divided into two categories: the games, and the fights. Like I said before, rarely does a series between these two bitter rivals go by without the benches clearing at least once. Can’t remember any? Well, let me give you some examples…

Believe it or not, Deion “Primetime” Sanders began his baseball career in the South Bronx. In 1990, during the first of three July games with the Sox, Sanders came up to the plate and drew a dollar sign in the dirt next to home plate with his bat, much to the displeasure of great White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk. Fisk said a few words to Sanders, and the benches cleared. Why do I bring up a brawl with the other Sox team? Carlton Fisk was a member of the Red Sox for almost fifteen years before moving to the south side of Chicago. He was a part of one memorable fight that took place in the early 80s that nearly cost the career of Bill “The Spaceman” Lee. He continued to pitch, but his career would never be the same.

Another physical conflict arose this season when Alex Rodriguez (you know, the player Boston thought was theirs) got into fisticuffs with Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. During that melee, Yankee pitcher Tanyon Sturtze was wrestled to the ground by both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz (heavy guy on top of heavier guy). The Red Sox would win the game in their last at bat with a home run over the green monster.

If you aren’t familiar with those battles, you will certainly remember this one, for it happened less than one year ago. The scene was game three of the 2003 American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. The pitching matchup was the best you could ask for in New York’s Roger Clemens and Boston’s Pedro Martinez. The story goes that in the middle innings of a game that already had a bad vibe, Martinez hit Yankee right fielder Karim Garcia, prompting warnings to both benches from the home plate umpire. In the bottom of the inning, Clemens sent one high, yet still over the inside part of the plate to Boston left fielder Manny Ramirez. Despite the harmlessness of the pitch, Ramirez went into a tirade and the benches cleared. During the scuffle, Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer was taken to the ground by Martinez. The Yanks ended up winning the game and the series en route to losing the World Series against the Florida Marlins.

The story goes like this. In the top of the eighth, Astacio threw behind Yankee outfielder Kenny Lofton. At that point, both benches received warnings, meaning that another hit batsman would result in the ejection of both the culprit pitcher and his manager. In the bottom of the eighth, it just happened to be Yankee pitcher Brad Halsey, added to the roster at the beginning of the month when the rosters could be expanded from 25 to 40 players, proceeded to throw a pitch high and tight to Red Sox outfielder Dave Roberts, causing both benches and bullpens to clear. This time, the players were kept apart.

After the ejections, the Red Sox went on to rout the Yanks by a score of 11-4, but that’s not the point here (not in one of my columns!). The point is that Brad Halsey, in my estimation, is now officially a Yankee. That’s right! The way I see it, you’re not officially a Yankee until you are at least involved in a mob scene around the home plate area against Boston. It’s kind of like a Bar Mitzvah, when a boy becomes a man. Of course, that’s only for teenage Jewish boys, but you see where I’m going here.

Brad Halsey came up to the Yankees a few times this season before the September call-ups to fill in for injured starters, something the Yanks have had their fair share of. He hasn’t been spectacular, but has filled in pretty well on a staff that hasn’t been this bad since 1993 (my opinion, hopefully yours too).

So, congratulations Brad Halsey. You’ve made it! No, not to the big leagues, but into the hearts of every person in New York City or beyond that loathes the Boston Red Sox. Well worth a three-game suspension as far as I’m concerned.

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