Squared Up: Restraint
In the car earlier today, I decided to listen to "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN. Well, maybe I should rephrase that; I decided not to listen to my iPod (forgot it at home), or to Francesa on WFAN (repelled by Giants-defense-related blatherskite), and Kay is a wart in the YES booth, but has the occasional insight and/or interesting guest on the radio show. I came in at the tail end of a rumination about what might happen if the Mets and Red Sox swapped Reyes for Youkilis, which at least got me thinking.
(In case anyone cares, it got me thinking what I've already thought for the entire season, to wit: the GM needs to trade Reyes while they can still get something for him. Not that this front office appears to understand what "something for" means based on recent big-ticket acquisitions, but my feeling is that Reyes is never quite going to pull it together and become a superstar, plus which if you don't trade him now, you'll get stuck with him for 10 years with diminishing returns, and it's not like these guys know how to release a player.)
Anyway, Kay moved next to an equally interesting discussion of the Yankees' postseason prospects, whether Girardi is right to rest his lineup — what's left of it — when the AL East lead is at stake, should he care about home-field advantage or winning these games here and now, the Yankee prospects in the postseason, et cetera and so on. Trapped in an eddy of bridge traffic, I thought to myself that perhaps I'd been unfair to Kay, underestimated him, focused too much on minor annoyances and not enough on the knowledge that his oft-mentioned access gains him.
And then, Kay buttholed out about the latest Francisco Rodriguez headline. In case you haven't heard, on top of the injury and the father-in-law-pushing and all that, K-Rod was looking down the barrel of an indictment for repeatedly texting his baby mama while under a restraining order, thereby violating said restraining order. According to Gothamist's story from this afternoon, a Queens judge declined to send him to jail but told him to quit pestering (ex?-)girlfriend Daian Pena via any means.
The story went up at about quarter to five, which is roughly the time I heard Kay saying, among other things, that
- he feels sorry for Rodriguez, because "they're" "picking on" him with this;
- he doesn't understand how "loving," "apologetic" texts violate a restraining order;
- fifty-six texts between April and September is not that many; and
- he doesn't see why Pena even has a restraining order on Rodriguez because "he didn't hit her, he hit him!"
Kay's co-host/sidekick, whose name I forget, kind of tried to point out that the average order of protection is not that elastic as to the type of contact, and that how many texts per week 56 averages out to over that period isn't exactly the point, but it didn't do much good. Kay genuinely did not understand why Pena has a restraining order in the first place, and therefore has no respect for it, and/or does not believe that texts violate it, or that Rodriguez could conceivably believe that texts don't count. Or something.
Okay, look: I stayed out of that conversation at the time of the initial incident, because…what else could I say. I had issues with that signing for entirely different reasons, namely that I don't feel the Met front office quite understands how the save statistic is derived and therefore got mesmerized by a big number that didn't tell them anything relevant to their team, but I didn't know — which evidently many many people around, or who write about, baseball did — that K-Rod has had emotional problems dating back some years and that the meltdown with the pushing and the whatever didn't come as much of a surprise.
But…what can I say to that? Nothing. The Mets handled it pretty well vis-Ã -vis the contract, I guess, although they should have taken a harder line, but it's the Mets, so of course that isn't going to happen (see: Ollie, Bad). I did hear a few commentators mention that they thought the Mets should ask an arbitrator to redraw K-Rod's contract with a provision requiring him to get anger-management counseling and to stay in it for the remainder of his time in New York; I liked that idea, but again, I don't have much to add. It's an unfortunate situation, the man is clearly troubled, and I well remember The Kevin Brown Incident, so…you know. Baseball isn't played by characters in social-hygiene films.
It isn't covered by those characters, either, but Kay has got to be fucking kidding us with that. Mikey, for real now: do you have no idea how abusers function? Do you not get that a woman who watched her boyfriend shove her dad, hard enough to hurt himself in the act, miiiight feel unsafe? That she might have felt unsafe for some time, if this is the kind of conflict resolution the guy goes with?
Do you not get that the "loving, apologetic" barrage of texts or calls or whatever is exactly how abusers try to get back in? Did you…read the texts? The Post and Daily News both had selections, I believe, and it's classic whipsawing between groveling, calling her a weakling who's letting other people tell her what to do, accusing her of gold-digging, implying that she's ruining his life — this is why you get a restraining order, so you don't have to listen to a scary fuckwad (or an individual with mental illness, if you must) tell you that his fuckwaddery is your fault.
As for his not understanding that texts constituted a violation: Caucasian, please. His lawyer argued that in court, and got by with it, but it's horseshit, and nobody knew that better than the lawyer, who no doubt instructed his client on exactly what the order of protection entailed when it got handed down.
I don't think much of Kay, but I don't think his remarks came from anywhere but ignorance. It's no excuse, though; that kind of "aw, give the guy a break" attitude towards restraining orders, and the stalking behaviors that lead to them, is how people get killed, and let's not start on judges like the one today who let the shit go. Not that Rodriguez planned, or plans, to kill Pena, and not that celebrity defendants don't sometimes get picked on, but if Pena is afraid, you gotta take the shit seriously, or what's the point of getting an order in the first place?
The judge should have sent him to jail, at least overnight, so the lesson would sink in. And somebody in this situation, anybody, I don't care who it is, needs to "pick on" him with intensive therapy like pronto. That somebody might also explain to Michael Kay that, if law enforcement is tightly focused on Rodriguez right now, it's probably with good reason.
Tags: Francisco Rodriguez Joe Girardi Jose Reyes Kevin Brown Kevin Youkilis Michael Kay Mike Francesa Oliver Perez radio daze shut up Wilpons true crime