Kansas City Royals

July 24 in Sports History: The Pine Tar Incident

In 1983: George Brett of the Kansas City Royals hit a two-run homerun off Goose Gossage of the New York Yankees in the top of the ninth at Yankee Stadium to take a 5-4 lead. Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles alerted manager Billy Martin that the pine tar on Brett’s bat was a little too high, and Martin argued. Umpire Tim McClelland recalled the obscure rule 1.10(b), which stated that “a bat may not be covered by such a substance more than 18 inches from the handle.” Brett’s bat apparently was covered up to 20 inches. He walked to the dugout and signaled that Brett was out. Brett erupted out of the dugout in one of the most famous tirades in history and had to be restrained by teammates; and the Yankees were awarded a 4-3 victory. The Royals protested, and A.L. President Lee MacPhail ordered the home run to stand. The protested game was finished on August 18, with the Royals holding on to win, 5-4 — 25 days after the game had started. Brett, who up to that point had been best known for almost missing the 1980 World Series because of hemorrhoids, would now be famous for the time he went all Jack Nicholson in The Shining on an umpire.

In 2004: The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry reached a fever pitch (sorry, folks) with a bench-clearing brawl at Fenway Park. In the top of the third inning, Boston’s Bronson Arroyo hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch. As A-Rod stared Arroyo down, Sox catcher Jason Varitek stepped in and told the $250 million dollar slugger, “We don’t throw at .260 hitters. Get your ass down to first base.” After a few more pleasantries, Varitek shoved Rodriguez and the benches cleared. Varitek and A-Rod were ejected, along with Boston’s Gabe Kapler and New York’s Kenny Lofton and Tanyon Sturtze. A handful of players were also fined and suspended. The ending was also memorable, as the Red Sox rallied off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning to win on a Bill Mueller homerun, 11-10. Many felt that this game helped turn the Red Sox season around, and they eventually won the World Series.

By Vin

Vin is a Philly boy who shouldn't be invited into your house because he'll judge you on your book and music collection. He owns Dawkins, Utley, Iverson, and Lindros jerseys, which is all you really need to know about him. He can be reached at [email protected].

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