Last night's Diamondbacks-Dodgers brawl was one of the ugliest in recent memory. Punches were thrown. Coaches were fighting with each other. A coach nearly got thrown over a rail into the dugout like he was being ejected from the ring in the Royal Rumble.
As Vin Scully so eloquently put it, "That's fertilizer."
The whole affair was a giant mess, not only in terms of the brawl but also the interpretations of the "unwritten rules" pertaining to retaliation for hit by pitches and throwing at players' heads. Frankly, both teams and MLB are lucky that nobody got seriously hurt.
No doubt in the coming days we will hear about the fines and suspensions the league will hand out for the debacle. Someone from the league office will surely also issue some sort of verbal wag of the finger to the teams for their behavior. What the league won't do is implement any changes to their system to prevent such ugliness from happening again. That is a shame, because MLB actually has several options at their disposal to curb this behavior yet they have never employed them.
The first thing they could do is really drop the hammer on the offending parties in terms of suspensions. Under normal circumstances, the pitcher that intentionally threw at the batter gets hit with a suspension that causes him to miss one start. If he is a reliever, he misses a handful of games. Any position player that earns a suspension typically gets banned for a few games, one week at the most if he has a history of such behavior like Carlos Quentin did when he earned an eight-game suspension for charging the mound against Zack Greinke earlier this year.
Those punishments do hurt the players and teams, but only marginally so. For a lot of teams, they just consider it the price of doing business and protecting their players. So they have to use a spot starter once. Big deal. Given the regularity with which these events occur, it is pretty safe to say that the current system of penalties is not acting as an effective deterrent.
If the league were to greatly ramp up the length of suspensions, players and managers would all think twice before getting involved in all of this petty retaliation. If a starting pitcher knows he is going to have to miss four or five starts if he intentionally hits a batter and a position player or reliever knows he is going to be banned for four weeks if they instigate a bench-clearing incident, that gives them a lot to think about. Not only does the player go into the situation knowing that they are going to deprive their team of their services for nearly a month over some misplaced sense of machismo, they are costing themselves a big fat chunk of their paycheck. As much as it might hurt a player's pride to not protect a teammate who got dotted in the back last inning, it hurts a lot more to take such a big blow to your own wallet.
The long suspensions also pass the buck to the managers quite a bit. In many cases, these beanballs and brushbacks come at the direct order or tacit approval of the manager. Now if the manager wants to retaliate, he has to make the conscious decision to sacrifice a player, potentially a very good one, for an extended period of time. Say what you want about being gritty and tough, any manager that gives such a command to a player would be downright derelict of their duty.
Alas, because testosterone inevitably leads to grown men doing stupid things, beanball wars would still breakout from time to time, forcing benches to clear. Unless, of course, MLB made the clearing of benches a punishable act. Much like the NBA did to put an end to their own bench-clearing brawls, MLB could put in the rulebook an automatic suspension for any player that leaves the dugout, bullpen or defensive position during an on-field altercation. This, again, puts the onus on the coaching staff to control their players since no manager in his right mind could allow his entire roster to get suspended for the sake of milling around in a throng, puffing their chest out and acting like they want to fight when they really don't.
Without 50+ people on the field grabbing and shoving each other, the odds of someone going ape, throwing a sucker punch, body slamming an unwitting player or anyone getting hurt go down to pretty much zero. Nobody breaks a hand, nobody dislocates a shoulder, nobody gets a black eye like the league received last night.
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You are dumb. You are using the NBA's rule on leaving the bench as an example for baseball. Let's see, NBA is 5 on 5. At best (including coaches, bases loaded and on deck batter) it is 9 to 7 in favor of the defensive team. More then likely you are looking at 9 to 4 (two being coaches). That is why they leave the bench. Their guy is at a severe disadvantage.
Also, what is wrong with someone protecting their guys? So using your logic, a pitcher can throw a fastball at your cleanup hitters head and nothing happens. You can't protect him because if you throw at someone, now you are suspended for a month.
The benches clearing in baseball should and will never go away, just like managers coming onto the field and arguing calls. It is part of the game and people who actually understand and appreciate the game know that.
Nice try though.
@nyrnyg17 I also said the players would not be allowed to leave their defensive positions. If a pitcher and a batter are going to be cavemen and get into a fight, it would be one-on-one. However, the whole point is eradicating this stupid behavior to begin with. If you fight or if you intentionally throw at a batter, you get hit with a big suspension. That is the deterrent.
That is how you protect guys from getting balls thrown at their head. The "nothing" as you called it that happens to the pitcher is he gets a huge chunk of his season AND paycheck wiped out by the league via suspension and fines. Make those penalties hard enough and you won't have to worry about teammates "protecting" their guy because the beanball behavior will be made obsolete.
Explain to me how someone throwing at your cleanup hitters head can be proven to be on purpose and warrant a month long suspension? Now you are changing an entire teams season because of what could have been an accident. Your logic is just not realistic.
Throwing at or backing hitters off the plate is the right of the pitcher. The opposing pitcher has the right to defend his guys. It is that simple. Any attempt to get rid of that is just as dumb as the attempt to get the DH in the National League. Stuff like this happen from time to time. It is what it is. Thankfully no one got hurt but it is part of the game. People need to stop being such babies about everything.
You do make some valid points and I agree with some of them. Throwing at someones head is ridiculous and should be punished harshly. However, it needs to be clear intent. Pitchers still need to have the ability to use the inside part of the plate. The first Greinke incident was absurd and I personally believe that Quentin should have been suspended for much longer. I am not totally opposed to some long suspensions (such as the Quentin incident when he charged for no apparent reason and knocked a guy out for a few months) but to group all incidents in together with a zero tolerance policy is the wrong way to go about it.
Intent to injure should be long suspension (Quentin on Greinke, Puig/Greinke pitches to the head) but sometimes things just happen and I 100% disagree with you on the zero tolerance. Mostly I disagree because it is not logical and cannot happen.
Can you cut down on it? Absolutely. Can you get rid of it completely? No. Which is why your ideas to be are just plain illogical.
I feel like your way could easily allow a pitcher to throw at a batters head and claim "it got away" (Clemens/ Piazza ring a bell?) and guess what? The other team can't do anything about it because they don't want to be suspended a month because they decided to "protect my teammate, bro". Now, you could have more intentional head hunting which is truly the most serious danger there is.
You are just grouping all fights into one type. I have seen catchers get run over and not like it and fight. Guys bump, talk a little and then fight. It is part of the sport. To call it a "misguided sense of machismo" is ignorant. Just because people fight and get worked up doesn't mean they think they are tougher then they are or are trying to be the alpha male.
They want to win and they want to protect their teammates. I have worked with, played ball with and been friends with people who have your mentality. And needless to say, you don't trust them if it hits the fans because they won't have your back. You need to protect your own and you clearly do not understand this.
It is part of sports. Hell it is part of life. There is no getting it out of sports. All your ridiculous plans will do is just hurt the teams in the long run. When adrenaline kicks in no one thinks about if they will get in trouble, they worry about protecting their brothers, at all costs.
Like I said, I agree with some of your points but as a whole your argument is very flawed, too emotional and just not a realistic solution to the "problem".
@nyrnyg17 OK, I'll be serious. I have no problem with competition. But throwing at someone's head isn't "competition." It is downright dangerous and one of these days someone is going to end up suffering a life-altering injury. And we tolerate that why? Because "gotta protect my teammate, bro."
Be emotional, be intense, don't be stupid and start a 50+ person brawl out of some misguided sense of machismo. And don't give me that BS about a suspension changing an entire season. You know what else changes an entire season? Someone suffering a major concussion because some pitcher taught him a lesson by putting a 95 MPH heater in his earhole. Or even just ask the Dodgers how they feel about Zack Greinke missing several weeks after getting hurt in their last brawl and Yasiel Puig hurting his shoulder in this brawl.
It is time for a zero tolerance policy on intentional beanballs and on-field fights to put all this BS to an end.
Obviously you have played at least some sport. So, how can you be so opposed to the competition? Fair play? Letting the players decide it and not the umpires?
Sometimes peoples emotions take over. It is one of the greatest things about sports is it isn't scripted. That fight just happened and was pure emotion and intensity. And you want to take all of that away for some random judgement call that could change an entire season. That to me is idiotic.
@nyrnyg17 Nope, never played any sports in my life, unless you count frisbee golf. I don't even know what this bases ball thing is. Can you explain to me what a DH even does? Is he the guy that takes the penalty shots? And what team is Tim Tebow on again?
Yea the DH is ruining baseball and is a joke... Umpires discretion? So now you want umpires to make on the spot decisions that can change an entire season? That is ridiculous. Umpires need to stay out of the way as much as possible and do as little to effect the talent on the field as possible. But apparently you are all for them taking complete control of season changing judgement calls. Ridiculous.
Have you ever played competitive baseball or competitive sports in general (that doesn't include a tv and controller)? Emotions run high and things happen. Trying to police the sport up with your retarded idea will just ruin it more then it already has been.
Oh and anyone who supports the DH in both (or really either league) has lost all credibility with me. Thing is a joke, just like taking away the inside part of the plate, small ballparks, steroids, etc are.
@nyrnyg17 It would be at the umpire's discretion, just like it is now. And let me be the first to express to you my condolences about the NL adopting the DH. Figure I should do it now rather than tracking you down ten years from now.
I just have to wonder just a little bit why the perception seems to be that there's this 'tradition' of fisticuffs in baseball (to say //nothing// of hockey), but if it happens in football or basketball we're aghast. Shouldn't we be aghast when it happens in baseball? It's the least inherently physical of the four.
@TheNetSet I'm at that same place. We should be aghast. There is no need for any of this nonsense in baseball. I think the only reason it is allowed and tolerated is because baseball has a toughness inferiority complex, so the beanballs and brawls are only ever punished with a slap on the wrist so that players and fans can still feel like they are meeting the macho quota for the sport.