So-called “baseball fights” are an insult to the game of baseball and the sport of boxing; they are “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”*
Some over-sensitive batter takes umbrage when a pitcher almost hits him with a pitch and off we go: the batter charges at the pitcher, with the catcher chasing after him; the pitcher throws out his arms wide, like a hermit crab challenging a charging tuna; the nearest thing to a baseball move is that they both “swing and miss.”
Now here comes the Cowards’ Cavalry to the rescue, the bullpen brigade suddenly awoken, like so many sleeping fireman, comes cantering, half-fast, across the outfield; if they were looking to mix it up, they could stop and battle the other team’s bullpen warriors, but, instead they arrive at the infield and engage in a form of benign belligerence, standing around with their arms outstretched; oh, blessed are these peacemakers.
Suddenly the game shifts from baseball to rugby, as the teams form a scrum and push against their opposing unorganized team amoeba . The most aggrieved of the bunch are in the eye of this tug-o-war hurricane and holding onto each other’s biceps, like exhausted heavy weight fighters, hoping that someone will ring the bell.
On the fringes of this melodramatic macho maelstrom the bullpen non-coms exchange restaurant recommendations and make dates for golf the next day. Most of the seasoned veterans and journeymen players are straining their muscles, in their face, to hold back laughing at the farcical fight.
Soon the umpires, who have been feckless in their duty to maintain order, like a squad of unarmed bemused British bobbies, are chatting and laughing and making a list of the players to be ejected. Soon the plate umpire is informing each manager, who will be awarded the privilege of the hot water in the showers first, like a monotone motorcycle cop reading your ticket to you on the side of the road.
Yes, and after wasting 30-plus minutes on “sound and fury, signifying nothing,” the baseball fight is just a “tale told by an idiot” and that brings us to Bumbling Bud Light and his campaign to speed up the game.
Some of my Old School Baseball chums still find these so-called “fights” amusing;
It was certainly not amusing to All-Star pitcher Zack Greinke, who spent weeks on the DL recovering from a fractured left collarbone, incurred, when 235-lb Padre OF Carlos Quentin’s ego was mortally wounded by a fastball to the left bicep, and a blow to his manhood, and collided with Greinke on the mound.
The moron media hacks rolled out the old “bench-clearing brawl” cliché, but failed to accurately report that those players who left their comfortable seats went into a crawl, not a brawl.
Recall that in 2010 when cowardly Cincinnati pitcher Johnny Cueto kicked Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue in the head. LaRue suffered a concussion and never played again.
How did Bud handle it?
He gave Cueto a seven game suspension for his “violent and aggressive actions.” A seven game suspension meant that he would only miss one start. Commissioner Bud said he was referencing the 1965 Roseboro Incident, where Juan Marichal was suspended for nine games when he took a baseball bat to the helmeted head of John Roseboro. He was also prohibited from making the final road trip to Los Angeles, which forced the Giants to rearrange their rotation.
The only thing La Rue did was try to get between Cueto and his teammate, Chris Carpenter.
The NBA forbids players from leaving the bench during a fight or be automatically suspended for a game. Using the “Third Man Rule,” the NHL can eject anyone who interferes in a one-on-one swing fest.
After a recent “brawl,” Dodger Manager Don Mattingly said that Greinke felt he had to hit Montero or else lose face in the clubhouse.
This is just macho horse shit; it’s time for these prima donna crybabies to grow up.
At the risk of being labeled a spoil sport by “traditionalists” and the casual fans who attend WWF events more often than baseball games, I am calling out the Commissioner on the “baseball fights,” which are a black eye on the game that Bud claims he cherishes.
And Bud, before you go all knee-jerk response and blame the Players’ Union yet again, recall that one of the fundamental reasons that unions were created was to protect their members from injuries. There appears to be no reason for the MLBPA to oppose the end of awkward tussles that too often result in collateral injuries.
Bud hides behind his mouthpiece, MLB senior vice president of public relations Pat Courtney, who hides behind an email:
“We do not support brawls and speak to on-field personnel each year to discuss the issue. Brawls are against our rules and there are repercussions for those who are involved in them.”
Sorry Bud, but sending Pat The Flack out to do your job is cowardly and, instead of insulting the press and the public by disingenuously blowing sunshine up their skirts, it is well past time that you establish some rules with some teeth in them; to wit:
- Let the home plate umpire decide when a pitcher is intentionally attempting to hit a batter with a pitch. If he believes this is the case, he gives a verbal warning to the pitcher: “Next time I think you are intentionally trying to hit a batter, you are out of the game.” And, the offending pitcher is awarded a “three-start suspension.” [see comment by jfb1138 below].
- With the exception of the catcher behind the plate, no player may become involved, if a batter charges at the pitcher. A catcher may restrain the batter to protect his pitcher, but, if he goes on the offensive, he can also be tossed out of the game.
- Pitchers will be instructed to back up toward second base; if a pitcher engages the onrushing batter, he can be tossed out.
- The base umpires and home plate umpire will all restrain the charging batter.
- A player who physically resists an umpire’s effort to restrain him will be ejected from the game and sit out the team’s next 5 games without pay.
- Other than the team managers, any coach, or player that steps onto the field of play to join in the confrontation will be ejected from the game and fined one week’s salary.
- If a player is injured and placed on the DL, the player who caused the injury will be suspended without pay, until the injured player returns to the 40-man roster.
- Any fan who steps onto the playing field during a confrontation between players will be ejected from the game and permanently banned from all MLB games for life.
While a case might be made that violence is part and parcel in contact sports like as American football, ice hockey, rugby football, lacrosse, soccer, boxing, mixed martial arts, and wrestling, the Commissioner and the MLBPA dishonor this great game by permitting these ridiculous “fights” in the cause of increasing corporate profits.
So, yo, Bud, it’s past time that you earn some small portion of your million dollar salary by putting an end to “baseball fights.”
So, Bud, you got a problem with’ dat?
*William Shakespeare, Macbeth in Act 5, Scene 5.