As Cardinals fans, the level of enjoyment we derived from having Julian Tavarez on our team the last few years is exceeded only by the relief we felt when he left. Tavarez was an excellent setup man, but every relief appearance was fraught with peril: Is this the time he's going to snap? Every time Tavarez took the mound, you crossed your fingers: Blue wire, or red wire? Fingers crossed ... whew. Our favorite moment was the NLCS two years ago, when, a day after breaking his finger by punching a wall, he took a line drive back up the middle, right off that finger, and still got out of the inning. Exciting, effective, crazy ... but a little much sometimes.
Anyway, we can't say we were too surprised when Tavarez, now with the Red Sox, punched Tampa Bay's Joey Gathright after being spiked yesterday in an exhibition game. It was a rarity in sports fights: A clean, solid punch. You don't see that nearly enough.
Red Sox fans, eager for some fire that was missing last year, are taking this as a reason to love Tavarez. We understand this inclination, but still warn Red Sox Nation to beware. Tavarez is four kinds of crazy, and eventually, he's gonna end up decking Schilling. Only a matter of time.