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Monday, October 13, 2003
Two takes on the Fenway Fracas

By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

Having the dubious fortune of knowing several scribes from both Gotham and Beantown, I awoke Sunday morning with an extra-special buzz and rush, as if someone had spiked my coffee with some greenies from inside a major-league locker room.

I couldn't wait to log on and read the coverage of Game 3 in the Boston and New York newspapers. I couldn't wait to absorb the bile and venom the way a good piece of toast soaks up the Hollandaise and yolk off a plate of Eggs Benedict.

I knew, as I watched Zim and Petey and Rocket and Manny boil the adrenaline over an open fire, that the press box at Fenway had to be at Fahrenheit 451. By the time Jeff Nelson went Charles Bronson on that Fenway groundskeeper (or, depending on whose side you take, the Fenway groundskeeper got treated like Anita during her "West Side Story" visit to the Jets' headquarters),I knew the press box had to be ready to burst aflame in spontaneous combustion.

Pedro Martinez
Pedro Martinez shouts at Karim Garcia after hitting him with a pitch.
Imagine, then, my disappointment upon reviewing the Web sites for the Boston Globe and New York Times. So much reasoned analysis. So many columns where the writer had stepped back and distanced himself or herself from the blood-and-guts of the most insane day in Yanks-Red Sox history, opting instead for the well-written and literate avenue.

Who needs that?

It wasn't until I came to the tabloids that my faith in The Rivalry began to be restored. There, in the Boston Herald, was columnist Steve Buckley calling in outrage for Dukin' Don Zimmer to "hang it up."

Then it reached full restoration with a simple visit to the Web site of the New York Post.

The Post came through like Derek Jeter in October.

First was the purity of their one-word headline on the sports page: "MAYHEM!" with a picture of Pedro heaving Zim to the ground. It got even better when you checked out the front page -- "FENWAY PUNK." Two simple words screaming to New Yorkers on Sunday on the streets of Manhattan, above another picture of Pedro tossing aside Zim like a rosin bag.

Below came the sweet rush of finger-pointing rage, as the Post sub-head read: "Two Yankees May Be Charged in Boston Melee After Psycho Pedro Slams Zimmer."

Pulitzer, anybody?

Anyway, it got us to thinking at Page 2 about the conversations that will surely be a part of the future as the history of Game 3 takes shape. Any lawyer will tell you the least reliable evidence in a crime comes from an eyewitness, and so it will be when Red Sox Fans and Yankee Fans analyze the Rights and Wrongs of the Fenway Fracas.

You say potato, I say potato; you say Psycho Pedro, I say Deranged Don Zimmer.

That sort of thing.

NEWS ITEM: Pedro Martinez Hits Karim Garcia in the Back.

Yankee Fan: "Friggin' Pedro! Lunatic! Headhunter! Guy should be arrested!"

Red Sox Fan: "Mike Piazza on Line 2, buck-o."

NEWS ITEM: Garcia Goes Hard Into Second, Starts War of Words Climaxed by Jawing Between Pedro and Jorge Posada, with Martinez Pointing to His Head in Threatening Manner to Posada.

Red Sox Fan: "Garcia tried to kill Todd Walker! Jerkface should be arrested."

Yankee Fan: "Karim Garcia plays hard, even if Joe Torre called him "Sergio" after the game on Fox and he can't carry Paul O'Neill's week-old jock to the laundry bin. Besides, Pedro should have been tossed for threatening Jorgie with a beanball. Jerkface should be arrested."

Red Sox Fan: "We already put the claim on your jerkface, Garcia, to be arrested. You can't steal our bit."

Yankee Fan: "We beat you to the punch. We called for Jerkface Pedro to get arrested when he hit Garcia."

Red Sox Fan: "Screw the debate. Pedro was just telling Posada to use his head in a risky investment scheme the two had discussed with a real estate broker in the Caribbean. I swear, you could read Pedro's lips: 'You need to use your head before we go in on that piece of real estate in Jamaica.'"

Yankee Fan: "I can read lips, chump-o. My girlfriend made me see that Marlee Matlin-William Hurt flick back in the '80s when I was in high school. Pedro said he was going to add to Jorgie's ear wax. Jerkface should be arrested."

NEWS ITEM: Manny Ramirez Ducks At Roger Clemens' Pitch, Threatens Clemens. Clemens Responds With Shout.

Red Sox Fan: "Who does Roger think Manny is, Mike Piazza?"

Yankee Fan: "You used that bit, just like you used the Jerkface-Should-Be-Arrested Bit. Besides, that pitch was over the plate. Weak sauce from Ramirez."

Red Sox Fan: "Over the plate? That pitch was beyond chin music. It was a Wagnerian symphonic piece in Manny's ear."

Yankee Fan: "Nice call, idiot, but Billy Wagner is a Houston Astro. What exactly did Manny yell to Rocket, anyway? 'If you're going to throw at me, at least make it close'?"

Red Sox Fan: "Well, we know what Roger yelled, and it looked close to 'FONDUE.' Is that any kind of language to be using after you buzz our superstar?"

Yankee Fan: "What's wrong with a little Swiss cuisine from a chafing dish?"

Yankees bullpen
Jeff Nelson and the groundskeeper go at it in the Yankees bullpen.
NEWS ITEM: In the Ensuing Drama, Don Zimmer Rushes Pedro Martinez and Raises His Left Hand. Pedro Throws the 72-Year-Old Man to the Ground.

Yankee Fan: "And for his next act, Pedro takes on Sister Dolores O'Reilly from Brookline parish."

Red Sox Fan: "Zimmer threatened him!"

Yankee Fan: "Like Grenada threatened the Reagan Administration."

Red Sox Fan: "Our star pitcher has the right to defend himself from harm."

Yankee Fan: "Agreed. So what does that have to do with Zim?"

Red Sox Fan: "He could have hurt Pedro. What would you have done?"

Yankee Fan: "Bear-hugged Zim and asked him if I could have this dance. Zim's a romantic at heart."

Red Sox Fan: "Zim should never have charged Petey. And while we're at it, Zim could have held a 14-game lead back in '78."

Yankee Fan: "Now we get to the real issue, Bitter Bostonian. Speaking of real issues: Zim loathes any player who talks of pitches to the head. He's got a metal plate in his skull to prove it."

Red Sox Fan: "I told you, Petey was just warning Posada about an Internet start-up he was about to invest in."

Yankee Fan: "I thought it was Caribbean real estate."

Red Sox Fan: "Let's move on."

NEWS ITEM: In the Ninth, a Fenway Groundskeeper is Involved in a Brawl in the Yankee Bullpen That Included Some Blows From Karim Garcia, Who Hopped the Right Field Wall.

Yankee Fan: "Jeff Nelson should be lauded for defending his turf against malevolent intruders who step over the line."

Red Sox Fan: "Sort of like Pedro should be lauded?"

Yankee Fan: "The groundskeeper in question doesn't qualify for Social Security, nor can he remember the Marshall Plan."

Red Sox Fan: "Our noble groundskeeper is doing his job, and gets jumped by your thugs, including Garcia, who hopped the wall like an East German with something to hide in the 1970s."

Yankee Fan: "Your noble groundskeeper was probably down a flask of Southern Comfort, like all Sox fans must be after that Game 3 loss."

Red Sox Fan: "See you in court on that one, chump. And bring your abacus to count the cleat marks in our noble groundskeeper's chest."

Don Zimmer
A contrite Don Zimmer (with band aid) addresses the media on Sunday.
NEWS ITEM: Ben Affleck Watches the Final Out in Despair, While Bronx-born Girlfriend Gloats.

Red Sox Fan: "Affleck is a true fan, worthy of Red Sox Nation."

Yankee Fan: "Did you see the look on his face after the final out? Looked like he was reviewing the box office receipts from 'Gigli'."

NEWS ITEM: Zimmer Holds a Tearful Press Conference on Sunday, Saying He's Embarrassed.

Yankee Fan: "To see Zim like that just breaks your heart."

Red Sox Fan: "Embarrassed? Where was the embarrassment in '78, Popeye?"

Yankee Fan: "Again, Bitter Bostonian, the real issue."

NEWS ITEM: Rain Postpones Sunday's Game.

Yankee Fan: "You're lucky. Momentum was on our side."

Red Sox Fan: "Nay, brother. The baseball gods were simply shedding tears over the disgrace to our great game, our great rivalry, our great cities, and our noble groundskeeper."

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes every Monday for Page 2.