In his gamer that spent so much time harping on Dukes's jawing with Pelfrey and the fans that he barely had space to mention Cristian Guzman's first ever multi-HR game and no space at all to mention Luis Ayala's second save in two days or Joel Hanrahan's ERA going over 4 in yet another bout of lost command or David Wright's gigantic night or Mike Hinckley throwing yet another scoreless inning...
Despite dedicating almost the whole gamer to the Dukes incident (which included no violence, no fight, nothing thrown, nothing but talking, nothing that doesn't happen on basically every down on Sunday at FedEx), he somehow couldn't find space to mention this:
Dukes was beaned in his third at bat and walked to first, cool as a nice mountain breeze.
According to Harlan, he had "displayed plenty of power and little of his restraint," and yet, he had showed incredible restraint just as the situation was most likely to spiral out of control.
I was watching the game with a bunch of folks from Hendo's Hutch, and after what had gone on earlier, we were sure that Dukes would charge the mound, or at least jaw a little more. We were saying that Manny should have benched him if not for disciplinary reasons at least to protect him. But then Pelfrey goes and does the most aggressive thing a pitcher can do to instigate the situation... nothing.
Look, I realize some people hate the blown kisses and the jawing with the fans. Personally, I don't understand baseball's moral code that says it's "good school" to dive head-first, Jack Tatum-style at the ACL of a defenseless players turned away from the play, but that it's somehow totally beyond the pale to talk a little. I was raised that both qualify as bad sportsmanship, but that risking the injury of another player is far, far worse than shooting your mouth off.
But when Harlan writes a story that, like so much of the Dukes coverage in the St. Pete Times and on ESPN and elsewhere makes no mention of the good and focuses disproportionately on the bad--that's slanted, unfair, biased journalism. When a brief gamer has room to use all these words to describe one player, you're going way over the top: "volatile," "looking for a fight," "wrestling-style," "trying to amp up the animosity," "downside," "turbulent," "aggressive" (twice), "glowered," "a fire to put out," "live wire," and "public enemy" (that in particular is a racially insensitive choice of words). What, you couldn't figure out how to work in "growling," "rabid," "berzerk," "insane," "criminal," "feverish," "jungle," or "gangsta"?
I tend to think that it's less racism than just a general news media bias towards conflict and sensationalism. Running pictures of Elijah scowling like a junkyard dog last night will sell more papers than pictures of him smiling and cheering his teammates, as he's done all year.
But regardless of the motive, it's slanted, one-sided, biased journalism. It's uncalled for. He's been the nearest thing to a model citizen all year. We don't need a hatchet job from the hometown paper.