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On Workplace Sanctity and the Digging of Holes, or: Hey Coco Crisp, Keep Your Cleats to Yourself

After walking in the first inning yesterday, Oakland’s Coco Crisp dug himself a little foothold near first base, to get a better jump should he decide to take off for second. Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez immediately strolled over and rubbed it out with his cleat. (Watch it here.)

What in the name of Mo Vaughn was going on?

Ramirez may be all of 30 games into his initial season as a first baseman in 15 years as a pro, but he clearly has firm ideas about propriety surrounding his new position.

His reaction brings to mind the kerfuffle started by Alex Rodriguez in 2010, after he flied out against those selfsame A’s. On his way back to the visitors’ dugout at the Oakland Coliseum, he crossed atop the pitcher’s mound, a gesture that A’s starter Dallas Braden did not appreciate. The lefthander gave Rodriguez an earful as he trotted away.

The ensuing fallout was massive, the topic dominating national media conversation for weeks afterward—including the overwhelming sentiment that Braden had overreached, having little right to so much as notice Rodriguez’s actions, let alone grow irate over them.

I said then, and still believe, that Braden was justified. The mound is sacred space for a pitcher, and those who have no business atop it better treat it accordingly. Similarly, the area around first base is Hanley Ramirez’s office, and he’s entitled to enforce his own reasonable standards within its boundaries while on duty. Denying Crisp the slight advantage of digging a toehold falls well within those boundaries.

Had Crisp taken umbrage—had he gotten into Ramirez’s face and argued for his right to kick dirt around as he pleased—many more people would be paying attention right now. Instead, he laughed the whole thing off, and everybody moved right along.

Which is exactly as it should be.

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4 thoughts on “On Workplace Sanctity and the Digging of Holes, or: Hey Coco Crisp, Keep Your Cleats to Yourself

  1. Never a good idea to piss off a former Golden Gloves boxer like Crisp, lest what happened to Shields happen to you.

  2. I think the differnce between Ramirez/Crisp and Braden/Rodriguez is that the former pair were nonchalant about it. Crisp could have gotten in Ramirez’s face, sure, but Ramirez could just as easily have done the same. Instead he casually sauntered over and scrubbed it out. Maybe even said something just as casually to Crisp as he did so.

    I don’t think there’s any way that Braden could have casually defended the sanctity of the mound, though.

  3. You’re right — Braden’s only other option would have been to ignore the matter entirely. Luckily for the rest of us, that’s not Dallas Braden’s style.

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