Friday, December 02, 2005

The question is "Who owns the ball?"

The question is "Who cares?"

The Boston Red Sox are suing former first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz for possession of the ball that made the final out of the team's 2004 World Series win.

Mientkiewicz lived up to his reputation as a good gloveman that night, so good that he held on to the final out through the on-field celebration, had it certified by Major League Baseball, then put it in a safe deposit box.

Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy (why is it always Shaughnessy?) stirred the pot when he wrote about it last January. Then the Sox traded Mientkiewicz to the Mets. Then Mientkiewicz graciously agreed to let the Sox have the ball for one year so they could parade it around with the World Series trophy.

Now the Sox want a Suffolk Superior Court judge to grant them the ball, saying Mientkiewicz got it only through his employment by the team and that the ball remains Sox property.

So to quote Statler (or is it Waldorf?), "Who cares?"

I'll pay two-to-one the Sox want to put it on display so they can charge you admission to see it. This team doesn't have better things to worry about? Like who's going to play first base next year? Or centerfield? Shouldn't those attorneys be combing through the collective bargaining agreement and Manny's contract looking for a way around his no-trade clause?

It's not like Mientkiewicz is spotless here either. He certainly didn't win any fans when he referred to the ball as "my retirement fund."

What he should have done was give the ball to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the moment Dan Shaughnessy called him for a comment. No fight with the Sox, no lawsuit a year later, and no scoop for the man who not only gave birth to the Curse of the Bambino, but also sounded the death knell in the Theo Epstein contract negotiations.



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