Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hitting, Plunking, and Beaning

Any of you who are baseball fans saw the brawl between the Tigers and Red Sox after Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch by Rick Porcello - in retaliation, I might add. I'll start by saying that I like a good brawl every now and then. Not too frequently, but a couple of good brawls per season lets the bad blood out. It's similar to what Clemenza said in The Godfather about mob wars.

That being said, there are right and wrong ways to go about this. I completely dislike the MLB rule about the manager and pitcher being tossed after retaliating to protect a player who had been hit previously. They have codified the stupid standard of the retaliator being the one to get in trouble, rather than the instigator. This is one thing the NHL gets right - the instigator gets a harsher penalty. I am completely in favor of protecting one's players; the other team should never be allowed to get away with throwing at opponents with impunity.

In a way, this has been an argument of mine against the designated hitter (DH) - if a pitcher has to bat, he would be less inclined to throw at people knowing that he has to face the other pitcher later as a hitter. The AL rules basically allow throwing without consequence (save for ejection) because the pitchers don't have to hit.

As for last night's brawl, I think Youkilis is a wimp for throwing his helmet and letting Porcello whip him to the ground. I also believe that the Red Sox are among the worst instigators in baseball when it comes to these things. They have a bully complex - they strike, but react poorly when the other team dares to strike back. Baseball isn't Christianity - no one will be turning their other (butt) cheek, but they may come back for retribution.

(Image from the AP)

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