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'Bush league' or brilliant?

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff  May 31, 2007 09:25 AM

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Alex Rodriguez is in the news again today for his distractions both on the field and off of it.

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez (left) and Yankees third base coach Larry Bowa argued with Blue Jays players Howie Clark and John McDonald (right) after A-Rod's controversial callout. (Reuters Photo)
In Toronto, Rodriguez helped the Yankees snap their five-game losing streak by disrupting Blue Jays third baseman Howie Clark on a key popup late in the game. A-Rod shouted while rounding third, causing Clark to back off at the last second and let the ball fall to the turf. The move (A-Rod claims he shouted “Hah,” while the Jays say he yelled “Mine!”) touched off arguments all over the field last night (Toronto manager John Gibbons called it “bush league”) and on Internet message boards and radio airwaves this morning.

What exactly did he shout? If you're a lip reader you can try to figure it out for yourself by checking out this YouTube clip. And Sox fans, does this incident remind you of a certain glove slap in the autumn of 2004?

When asked about A-Rod's disruption on Boston sports radio station WEEI this morning, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein tiptoed around the issue, not specifically calling out A-Rod but saying that there are “certain things that you just don’t do to the opposition on the baseball field.”

Epstein was also vague about the ever-hazy unwritten rules of baseball, a topic that gets debated from time to time when incidents like this arise. So how does he define these “rules”?

“I’m not sure it’s easy to explain ... what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable probably goes way back to the early 1900s,” Epstein said. “I guess you just want to be on the right side of that and not on the wrong side of that ... certain things certainly get the ire of the opposition.”

What do you think? Did A-Rod break one of baseball’s unwritten rules? Or do you see this in the same light as a player sliding hard into second base to break up a double play -- anything to help the team win? And would you see it differently if A-Rod were in a Red Sox uniform? Let us know your opinion here ...

Meanwhile, A-Rod was all over the New York tabloids for an entirely different reason. We won’t get into it in this forum, but if you’re interested in learning more about the Yankees third baseman’s adventures in adult entertainment, check out the New York Post and Daily News.

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