Boston — The Washington Nationals learned a hard lesson at Fenway Park yesterday: Tom Brady gets protected everywhere.
“Mr. Perfect” Brady’s ceremonial first pitch was less than that–low and away to designated catcher David Ortiz, who snagged it on one hop. But it was the Washington Nationals who suffered, as they were immediately flagged for roughing the Patriots star quarterback.
“We weren’t anywhere near the guy!” Nats manager Matt Williams complained. “We weren’t even on the field!” But the umpires patiently explained to the Nats skipper that “The Brady Rules” apply everywhere, not just on the football field. “They told me waiters get ejected just for breathing on him when they serve his ground rhino horn soufflé,” a baffled Williams said.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that the Nats’ penalty was totally within the officiating guidelines for anything involving Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or any of the league’s marquee quarterbacks. He added that the NFL is so powerful that all other sports have to do what he says or he will come down on them as hard as Mel Kiper’s hair.
In a related story, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who was on the field with Brady, stated that, to the best of his knowledge, he did not tamper with the baseballs.
The Red Sox beat the Nationals, 9-4, in large part because the roughing penalty forced the Nats hurlers to pitch from center field.