Here’s the thing. I got an e-mail from someone somewhere saying that if I pimped the State Farm “Call Your Shot with David Ortiz” contest, I’d get some kind of fabulous prize. So I encourage you to click here for your chance to stand alongside David Ortiz at this year’s All Star Game Home Run Derby and call the location of one of his home runs. There’s a multitude of cool things to win and, as I mentioned, you get to stand next to David Ortiz, which has its own rewards.
But that’s not the point. The point is all this Sox Love isn’t sitting well with the Yankees because, goddam it, the All Star Game is being held in their stadium and it’s the last Big Important Thing that will occur there and spotlighting a Red Sox player at any point in the proceedings–let alone have said player imitate a move most often associated with uber-Yankee Babe Ruth–is being perceived as some kinda sacrilege.
“We’ve spoken to Major League Baseball,” Randy Levine, the Yankees’ president, said Friday. “They understand the sensitivity of the matter and we’re going to sit down and discuss it.”
He declined to say if the Yankees had demanded that State Farm’s Call Your Shot promotion be altered to exclude Ortiz, or to add a Yankees batter.
Rich Levin, a spokesman for M.L.B., said Commissioner Bud Selig had nothing to add to Levine’s remarks. A State Farm spokesman had no comment.
The Yankees’ sensitivity is focused on the incongruity of having a star player from a team with a historic rivalry with the Yankees trying to imitate Babe Ruth’s called shot in the 1932 World Series as part of the program at the stadium’s last All-Star Game.
Glenn Stout, the author of “Yankees Century” and “Red Sox Century,” said the promotion’s concept was historically dubious. “The event being mimicked never actually happened,” he said. And he added: “If anyone should have their wrists slapped, it’s M.L.B.; you’d have to be an idiot to think the Yankees wouldn’t take umbrage. I could see them doing the event and picking someone else, or having several players try, but to designate David Ortiz as the designated Babe Ruth is off in tone.”
I certainly understand the Yankees’ argument; I wouldn’t have wanted to see the 1999 All Star Game at Fenway interrupted for a Derek Jeter-Scott Brosius Dance-Off. But I think at this point, Tito — your AL manager for this year’s All Star Game, which is unspeakably awesome in and of itself — should go for broke and stock the entire infield with Sox players for just one inning.