Bad Shelley

Who had March 12 in the Giambi injury pool?
Give that man a job

Update: I’m not upset about the dissenting in this post…just wanted to note that a couple of paragraphs got cut out in the middle because I misread a quote attributed to Gomes which I originally has as Shelley’s words. So that kinda took the air out of that balloon.

PeteAbe told us this afternoon that Shelley Duncan slid into Akinori Iwamura with his right spike high. Okay, I thought. No big deal. No, you don’t want your guys taking out other guys’ knees at this time of year, but from the description, it seemed harmless. In fact, I even privately chastised Jonny Gomes for running in from right field. But then I saw this pic:

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

There’s a difference between sliding with your spikes high and sending your sole towards another man’s family jewels (I’ve always loved that euphemism, family jewels). So I pretty much agree with what B.J. Upton said: “Just a flat-out dirty play. Period.”

As if things couldn’t get worse, Tough Guy Gomes ran in from right field:

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

“I probably could have done a lot of things worse, but it is a baseball field and there’s fans and kids watching,” said Gomes. “I just had to let him know, that’s not going to fly with me on the field.”

Yeah, it’s nice to see the players fired up. But this needs to end now. It really should have ended after Heath Phillips drilled Evan Longoria. But since we’re far past that point, we need Girardi and Maddon to jointly say “enough.”

Who had March 12 in the Giambi injury pool?
Give that man a job
  • J.R.

    Deffinently, with 3 more spring training games and 18 regular season games, this needs to end. Someone will get hurt and the mangers need to step in.

  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    Yeah, i’m over it. This needs to end.

  • deadrody

    Is it ok if I just call for a dose of reality here ? First, Joe, you don’t represent Yankee Fandom. I am perfectly ok with Shelley here. The Rays started it and Shelley finished it. Suck it up and deal.

    Second, Phillips didn’t “drill” anyone. Accounts from the game say he “brushed” him with a pitch and was having problems with his control.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      Yeah I agree. The sanctimoniuous-ness of the base note was gag worthy.

    • Joseph P.

      You’re okay with a blatantly dirty play? In any game, in any setting, under any circumstances, Shelley would have been tossed for that.

      • LiveFromNewYork

        I didn’t say that but I didn’t like the Yankee fans don’t appreciate tone that was present in the original post. I think these two clubs are going to take pot shots at each other for the next 20 or so games.

        • Joseph P.

          No, I gotcha on that. I was kinda relieved that it was in the middle of a misattributed paragraph. It wasn’t the right tone to take — obviously, there is some merit to the play, as argued by other fans.

          In any case, my last comment was directed to deadrody.

  • Joe

    The quote attributed to Duncan about having a teamates back was actually said by Gomes. That makes a big difference in the story. Also…can we talk about Patterson coming in again and dominating? The spot is HIS.

    • Joseph P.


  • Moshe Mandel

    Of course, Shelley had to defend himself: “That was sort of second nature,” he said. “I was taught from T-ball all the way up to have your teammate’s back. With that guy trying to hurt a teammate, I just acted how I acted.”

    Shelley, you’re doing little to endear yourself to me and my fellow Yankees fans. First off: “that guy”?

    Gomes said that, not Shelley. And Phillips reportedly grazed Longoria with runners on the corners.

  • Arod for President

    What are those size 13’s??? I wouldnt want those anywhere near my boys!

  • Casey

    I usually agree wholeheartedly with the posts here, but I couldn’t disagree more.

    Not only do I have no problem with what Shelley did here, but I am totally in favor of it. We have been bitching and moaning for years that the Yanks were too laid back and wouldn’t defend themselves. Particularly against the Red Sox, with Boston throwing inside on both Jeter and A-rod among others, there was a certain feeling around baseball that the Yanks were “too classy” to retaliate. Well, my friends, I don’t call that classy, I call it being a bunch of pussies. The Rays messed with us, we messed with them. Yea, Shelley took it up a notch with a well placed boot to the groin, but hey, shit happens. Rarely is a retaliation in any conflict exactly in line with the action preceding it; things are always escalated.

  • deadrody

    Yeah, I am “OK” with it. He didn’t injure the guy and probably didn’t even try to injure him. He did get his point across, though, didn’t he. AND, if Cervelli didn’t have a broken wrist from a completely unnecessary play, none of this would have happened at all.

    Got news for you, lots of people aren’t saints, myself included. If that was the worst thing anyone can think of happening today, I’m more than ok with it.

  • Chip

    I think that it was great. Shelley is sticking up for his teammates and yeah while he might get suspended, it still needed to be done.

  • Bo

    Totally okay with this. I would have rather his foot be a little lower but without seeing video I’m not going to be too critical. But if you think fans are going to turn on Shelley for this, your nuts. Just like in hockey, we need enforcers and Shelley and Joba are those guys. Like most have said, I’m tired of the BoSox drilling Jeter with no retribution.

  • pete

    his left spike is high, not his right

    • Joseph P.

      Was just quoting PeteAbe on that.

  • Chris

    You can’t have it both ways by calling the play at the plate legitimate, and then calling this play dirty. They were both hardnosed plays that shouldn’t happen in Spring Training, but are ok in the regular season. Also, a single still shot of Shelley doesn’t really prove what happened. This shot is from late in the play (after he was past the bag) and he’s clearly pulling his leg back at this point. It’s not like he jump kicked Iwamura in the groin.

    • Joseph P.

      You can call it both ways. The play on Cervelli, while questionable in Spring Training, is legal. As I said above, even absent the tension, Shelley would have gotten tossed for having his spike that high.

  • Travis G.

    first off Joe, you dont know that Shelley sent his “sole towards another man’s family jewels.” were you at the game? all the time runners end up with a leg up in the air when they slide. the only evidence we have are still photos and reporters’ accounts, and nowhere do they say that Shelley sent his “sole towards another man’s family jewels.”

    second, if Maddon wants to ‘play to win’ in ST, then he should be prepared for stuff like this.

    btw, guess who the top 3 hitters in the AL are (over the last 10 years) in terms of beanings? yep, all Yankees: Giambi, Arod and Jeter in that order. i’m tired of it, and i think Girardi is too.

  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    I just saw the video of the slide and the incident. To be honest, it doesn’t look like that big of a deal. Shelley didn’t go in that hard and Gomes pushed Shelley. There was no tackle.

    • Travis G.

      link please?

      • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

        Saw it on ESPN’s PTI

        • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

          They showed a different version of it on YES too.

        • Rob M.

          I just saw the PTI video (though it wasn’t great quality) and have less of a problem with what Shelley did than I did when I had just seen the picture. Though I don’t approve, I’m not totally upset because at least it shows we can finally stand up for ourselves and not leave our hitters unprotected anymore.

          Also, I like PTI but they had no clue. Kornheiser said that Phillips “drilled the first guy up” and that Girardi should be fined 100 K which is ridiculous. I wish they would research what happened before speaking.

  • Travis G.

    Phillips “drilled” Longoria?

    from the Times –

    “It just barely hit me,” Longoria said. “I didn’t feel like it was intentional.”

    • Joseph P.

      Yes, I’ll concede that the comment was made in haste.

  • YankCrank20

    I think another point needs to be raised. I’m more than happy that the Yankees retaliated for this, but Shelley shouldn’t have been the one to do it. No player capable of making the major league roster should have done it. Let the AAA team retaliate when the minor league season starts because a couple of minor league kids were involved in the collision. Now Shelley can be suspended, and with the Sox going off to Japan and having a rough schedule to start, we have a chance to start fast and maybe get a good lead on the East in April. With Shelley suspended for a week or two, that decreases our chances of that happening.

  • EJ

    Completely unnecessary Shelley.

  • RobertGKramer

    I have no problem with what happened. Looks like Iwamura was trying to prevent Gomes tackle too!

    As far as Duncan, what can you expect from a guy who uses his middle name rather than be called Junior? And what a choice, Shelley! Kinda reminds me of the Johnny cash tune “A Boy Named Sue.”

  • Pique

    EJ and the others objecting to the slide:

    Do you understand that the still photos don’t necessarily depict what actually happened? Just like words being taken out of context, one picture doesn’t necessarily mean Shelley was trying to kick Iwamura in the balls.

    These photographers are paid to take the photos that will attract the most conversation. Obviously, this guy succeeded.

    Oh, and this might be a better representation of what actually happened.

    • Travis G.

      good find.

    • Joseph P.

      Good find indeed. It looks like there’s a point of contact in both stills.

    • J.R.

      Yeah that angle makes it look a lot less dirty.

  • Jeteupthemiddle

    While I may be a bit annoyed by the play at the plate (however, it is all from second hand accounts, I didn’t actually see the play) I feel the need to note that it was a play at the plate. If a catcher doesn’t want to get knocked down, then said catcher shouldn’t be blocking the plate. If you say “it is his job to prevent the runner from scoring,” well, it is the runners job to “score anyway he can.” Perhaps a bit much in Spring Training, but the only reason there is mention of it is because Cervelli got hurt.

    However, if Shelley’s play was just dirty. Spikes high? Seriously? If he was attempting to break up a double play, then it would be as dubious as the one above…a little annoying for spring training, but basically legal. The real issue, however, is that he wasn’t trying to break up a double play. He just wanted to slide in hard.

    I am all for fans wanting the Yankees to “develop some personality” because they think the Yankees aren’t “tough enough,” (it is not an opinion I share, but it is one I can accept), but this has just reached absurd levels.

    It is March 12!

  • RichYF

    One point that hasn’t been made that I think should:

    This is the problem with “playing to win” or “hard-nosed plays” in Spring Training.

    Yeah, the play at the plate was 100% legit and it happens all the time. But, because it happened in ST, Shelley, or Heath Phillips, or TJ Beam, or Farnsworth can feel free to retaliate even if the game is 1-1 in the top of the ninth. What happens if the Yanks lose? NOTHING. There is absolutely no negative result (on the Yanks record) to be held accountable for.

    Yeah, Shelley gets tossed in the first or second inning. Oops. Oh well. Yeah he’s out at second “stretching” out a single. Terrible call on his part. Result? None.

    This is probably why it’s a bad idea to get rough in ST. The other team can fight back and it literally faces no win/loss consequence.

    If he gets fined/suspended that’s one thing, but it’s not like he’s the #1 player. So if one of the AAAA (yes, AAAA) guys on the DRays decides to retaliate in the 2 other games this spring and gets suspended, it just doesn’t matter.

    I’m not against either play because everyone knew it was coming. If Maddon said, “he shouldn’t have done that in ST,” Shelley probably lays off. He condoned it, so Shelley took it upon himself to return the favor. Is he right? No. Did I smile? Yes.

    • Jeteupthemiddle

      I’m not sure that’s true.

      It is quite possible that Duncan is suspended.

      • RichYF

        I understand Shelley will probably get suspended. But, as I said, he’s not a big name guy. That’s the issue. He’ll be the biggest name that gets suspended, but how many guys will get hurt? If Tampa decides to retaliate, it’s not going to be Carlos Pena or Scott Kazmir that do the retaliation. This one isn’t over. Not by a long shot.

        The worst part is, if a guy gets fined or suspended for the retaliation, something tells me someone will pay his fine/reimburse his pay. It’s just a very very rough road to go down. Bad blood with young kids continues to boil. With veterans it might not stop boiling, but it doesn’t come to a head (most of the time). This could get dirty.

  • LBA Prequel

    First, I’m never happy to see dirty plays, whether it comes against or from my beloved Yankees. Secondly, this is ST after all, so I’d hope people (especially players) keep things in perspective.

    That being said, I’m glad someone on our team decided to grow some balls. Shelley Duncan continues to endear himself to me every single day, slowly becoming one of my favorite Yankees. I don’t care if it was Francisco Cervelli or Jorge Posada behind the plate with his wrist broken, the psuedo gentleman’s agreement in ST is that such contact is taboo. When the Rays player decided to steamroll Cervelli, he threw the first punch. Maddon said that is was just playing hard.

    Now, Maddon is a complete hypocrit, calling Duncan’s play “borderline criminal,” and basically getting a taste of his own medicine. A bitter pill, I’m sure. But thank God we have Shelley. I’m glad someone is out there with some hair on his peaches willing to stand up for his fellow pinstripers.

    I haven’t seen a video of the play as of yet, but from the various pics posted, the one here seems to be a bit late, maybe looking more gratuitous because Iwamura had grabbed/lifted Shelley’s leg? I don’t know. But other pics seem to have the leg in a “reasonable” range for a hard slide, if such a standard exists. Maybe I’ll change my mind once I see the video, but for now, I’m looking at it as a *typical* hard slide. From what Longoria himself has said, the Phillips pitch is a non-factor despite the “drilled” language found here.

    Again, I don’t like dirty play and I don’t like seeing guys hurt, but at the same time, I think that this sort of precedent – standing up for teammates – has to be set early on. Good for Shelley. I hope that one of his teammates buys him a nice steak dinner tonight.

  • RobertGKramer

    Too much ado about fringe ballplayers!

  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    “What we saw today is the definition of a dirty play. There’s no room for that in our game. It’s contemptible, it’s wrong, it’s borderline criminal. I can’t believe they did that.” – Joe Maddon (from Pete-LoHud)


  • LBA Prequel

    Oh, and kudos to Johnny Gomes for simultaneously claiming to be conscious about “kids and families watching the game,” yet having the presence of mind to start a bench clearing brawl. That’s practically G-Rated, Johnny!

  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    Yeah, I heard that too. Kornheiser is an idiot.

  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    ^ That was in reference to the PTI comments.

  • J.R.

    it wasnt a double play, we was trying to stretch a single to a double.

    • Jeteupthemiddle

      Right. Which makes it not even borderline acceptable.

      Just a dirty play.

      Even if at the point of contact his spikes were not that high.

  • Steve S

    my god this shouldn’t even be a discussion, everyone take the tampon out. there are degrees of wrong. What Johnson did to cervelli in a spring training game was wrong to an extent. What Shelley did was wrong, in a sense. But guess what Shelley wears pinstripes. Unless he pulls a Chris Simon, hes fine in my book and Gomes and Johnson are scumbags. I know some important people apparently read this blog but we are still fans right?

  • Manimal

    PTI and Sportscenter had videos of this, sportscenter also had PeteAbe on the phone talking about it.

    -Evan Longoria was not hbp, it hit his shirt and the ump over reacted.
    -Why didn’t Girardi make a scene?!? Lasorda at 80 years old argued with the umps more than him
    -Shelley went hard, but it wasn’t that violent…
    -WTF was Gomez thinking?
    -Anyone else notice every outfielder throw their gloves off like it was planned?

    If I was Girardi I would tell the yankees to just knock it off until April 4th.

    • Barry

      Lol what was Gomez thinking? I don’t think there is anyone in the league that could throw down with Shelley and walk away fine. That guys a caged lion and the team should be ecstatic that they have him.

    • LBA Prequel

      -Why didn’t Girardi make a scene?!? Lasorda at 80 years old argued with the umps more than him

      Probably because it’s Spring Training…if this were July and the Yankees are fighting for a playoff spot, I’m sure Joe flies off the handle.

      ST? I don’t think so.

      Too bad the Rays didn’t realize this was just ST. Now Maddon looks like the schmuck he is.

  • Barry

    not for nothing but “drilled longoria,” apparantly the ball grazed his shirt.

  • Travis G.
    • LBA Prequel

      Yeah, I think Shelley went in a tad high there. No doubt about it.

      It’s borderline criminal!!! :p :p :p

  • Trish

    Ah, for me it’s never officially spring training until someone does something stupid and it’s endlessly analyzed. I can breathe easy now.

    • Count Zero


  • Travis G.

    and another

    just playing ‘hardball’, as Joe Maddon would say.

    • Motown Yankees Fan

      THat’s a great video, if only for demonstrating how fast Joe Girardi got right in the middle of the whole thing.

      Shelley’s play is a whole lot less “dirty” than I thought it would be. Much more gentle than the home plate slide.

      I just hope this is over now.

  • scott

    irresponsible to say that Heath Phillips drilled longoria, the ball barely hit him

  • LiveFromNewYork

    AGREE. This is how it is in Yankeeland. They do and it’s hardball. We do it and its criminal. I know Shelley can take it.

  • nick

    I love that play!

    Was it dirty? Doesn’t matter!
    Was it criminal? Doesn’t matter!

    Like a lot of other people I’m happy to see the retaliation. I don’t care whether or not the Cervelli play was legitimate. It ticked the yanks off, and so they got retribution. That has been the standard other teams have lived by when playing the yanks, and its about time that the yanks are doing the same.

    (As for the earlier comment about Kornheiser doing research…have you watched PTI? The guy doesn’t have an informed opinion on anything!)

  • LiveFromNewYork

    As I said in the Cervelli thread I think the Drays are playing head games and going after the big boys (Yankees/Red Sox). They’re being purposely aggressive and I think the Yankees are right to let them know they will slap back. We’ve been way too passive the past couple of years. The last good Yankee brawl involved Don Zimmer and Pedro Martinez for gits sake.

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » Pride of the Yankees 3/12/08 The Bloggers

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » The Empire Strikes Back

  • David

    This was completely necessary. The fact that we took the actions we did today gives notice to everyone that the days of the Yankees serving as target practice are over. Good job Shelley.

  • JeffG

    Go Shelly… you’re a great team mate.

    Dirty vs Stupid… if the Rays want to be idiots and round guys around third and get guys hurt in ST than screw them they deserve it.

    We dole out payback far too infrequently – I’m glad our boy has some heart.

    Man I love Shelly.

  • Chris

    This image is a much better representation of what the actual slide looked like. When I see this picture, it looks like a good hard slide.

  • Mike R.

    I heard Maddon called the “borderline” police to file a complaint. If found guilty Shelley could serve “borderline” time”.

  • Mike A.

    I’m glad Shelley stuck up for his teammate, but he went about it in the wrong way. High spikes is just a no-no, there’s other ways to slide hard into second that don’t involve potentially castrating a guy.

  • rbizzler

    The video tells a much different story than the stills, which make Shelley look like he was crotch hunting.

    Much ado about nothing, IMO, but it is another excuse for people to spew more Yankee hate.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    Girardi is trying to put a little attitude into the Yanks and I for one couldn’t agree more. It’s about time we start seeing plays like this, Thanks Shelly.

    Grit has been lacking on this team for years and it’s the main reason we stare blankly at our TV’s as the team dies every October the first time the opposition fights back.

    • Jeteupthemiddle

      I just can’t let this go.

      grit is the reason the Yankees die every October? They weren’t gritty enough? Seriously? That’s what you are going with?

      So what, hitting other players and slightly dirty slides into second base will remedy that? If the Yankees do that they will remember that it is ok to hit in October and their pitching won’t go into a tailspin?

  • Ed
  • deadrody

    “grit is the reason the Yankees die every October? They weren’t gritty enough? Seriously? That’s what you are going with?”

    Uh, yeah. Maybe you have a better word for it, but I would go with toughness and, you guessed it, grit. David Cone was grit personified, as was Paul O’Neill. These Yankees could use a SERIOUS infusion of grit.

    • dan

      Too bad David Eckstein signed with the ‘Jays, we might as well concede the division to them

  • AndrewYF

    Oh please. Potentially castrating a guy? These aren’t track spikes. Tackling someone, shoulder down, is legal, but much, much more dangerous.

  • Sal Paradise

    Catchers blocking the plate get run over. That’s how the game is played. If Cervelli hadn’t been in the basepaths, there would have been no issue. Yes, it was Spring Training, but you had a career minor leaguer in tryouts trying to make an impression on the team to advance his career. Do you say, “Oh, it’s just Spring Training, I shouldn’t bother” when your career is on the line? Cervelli didn’t, and that’s why he was blocking the plate.

    Going in spikes-up on a slide into second, however, is a definite no-no. The people who were there saw it for what it was — a dirty play — and no amount of second-guessing with various angles will change the (very real and immediate) reactions of the people on the field.

    Duncan should be suspended, and players who are scared of getting hurt during Spring Training should stay out of the basepaths, or just stay home.

  • AndrewYF

    Wow, did anyone even watch the ‘redlasso’ video?

    The slide wasn’t even that bad. And it also shows that Cervelli was NEAR home plate, but was not BLOCKING it. At worst, you could say that his foot was next to the baseline. A clearly unnecessary play, especially for Spring Training.

    • Travis G.

      yep. people have to stop going off that one photo. and eliot johnson CLEARLY could have slid in safely without risking anyone’s health. perhaps it was maddon’s ‘play to win’ message that caused it.

      i will now use Tampa’s defense from the other day to defend Shelley Duncan, and they go:
      1. he’s a fringe MLer trying to impress the manager.
      2. it’s a hard, but legal play. if you dont want to get hurt, get out of the way.

      funny how that works. but one guy is out 10 weeks, the other not even a game.

      • Sal Paradise

        ‘Spikes up’ is an illegal attempt to injure another player. A hard charge against the catcher during spring training may be an ‘unspoken rule’ of things not to do, but it’s certainly legal in the sport.

        If a boxer breaks his opponent’s nose, makes him require sutures, bursts capillaries in half his face and gives him a concussion, we can hardly compare that to a badminton player who slaps an opponent across the face. We can say, “The boxer was excessive!” yet he was doing his job. We cannot justify the badminton player’s act by saying, “The other person wasn’t hurt!” or saying, “The boxer who was hurt was his brother, and the opponent was the other boxer’s brother!” and expect that to make it okay because the injury was more slight.

        What Duncan did was foul and against the rules. Bottom line.

        I don’t think that what happened to Cervelli was in the best of taste, but it wasn’t illegal. Too much? Probably. Illegal? Certainly not. You shouldn’t try to equivocate the two. It shows poor judgment.

        • Travis G.

          I’M showing poor judgement? who are you to decide what’s right and wrong? obviously there were members of the Yanks that felt Johnson was in the wrong. do they all have ‘poor judgement’ too? how does it feel to be self-righteous?

          according to Shelley, he was trying to knock the ball loose, and there’s NOTHING illegal about that. iirc, he did it a time or two last year and was never ejected. bc of the umps sensitivity today, he was tossed.

          Mike Lowell put an elbow into Cano’s face last year, but that was ‘good hardball’, and no one started a fight over it.

          btw, you conveniently failed to address my other points while harping on the last one.

  • Pingback: River Ave. Blues | A time-lapse show of new Yankee Stadium set to terrible music

  • bostonsucks@life

    Why do people keep saying brawl ? There was no punches thrown and it was a 1/2 assed attempt by Gomes to do anything.I guess it just looks bad cause there was 140 players on the field. The whole issue is assanine. It just looked like a horrible slide on Shelly’s part, albeit the spikes came up it just looked like a bad slide. Can we all just let this go.

    • Dimaggio5

      Brawl? Hockey players must be laughing their a**es off today. Now hockey players, they brawel. :-)

  • The Good Doctor

    C’mon, the slide was borderline dirty at most. I wholeheartedly disagree that he’d have been tossed in any other game. The umps were sensitive to it because of the words between the two clubs. And btw, the play at home was just fine. We can’t complain that our guy got hurt when he’s blocking the plate. It’s a fair argument for the Rays to suggest that had their guy slid into home plate he too could have been injured. Hey, that’s baseball and I’m a little surprised at Girardi — unless he had ulterior motives.

    But if anyone was dirty, if anyone should should be fined and/or suspended, it’s Gomes. Holy Hannah, that blindsided tackle was the cheapest shot I’ve seen in baseball in a very long time.

    But seriously, is Gomes that much of a wimp or is Shelley that strong? Because even with a full head of steam running in from right field and hitting him blind sided, Gomes barely moved Duncan!! Nonetheless, Gomes should be fined.

  • Curramba

    Yeah, that was a dirty play. You want to take the guy out fine slide through the bag and take him out but don’t bring the spikes up that high. I would have understood if he had spiked him in the shin.

  • CaptainCargo

    I’ve watched the film just like everyone else. The picture showing him looking like he going to spike the giys spike is not actually correct.

    Look at the guy’s knee. Thats where the guy got spiked. The picture everyone is showing as after the fact. The foot is just hanging there in midair. The guy never got spiked in the nads.

    That being said I didn’t like the slide anyways. But the Dray never got spiked in the balls. Thats just so much BS.

  • Geno

    I would have preferred Ohlendorf drilling someone in the back with a 95 mph fastball.

  • Curramba

    I think drilling Longoria with a 95 mph fastball would have been a better way to give notice that the Yankees are taking care of their own.

  • Pingback: The Fightin’ Devil Rays! |