The Red Sox-Rays series got off to a heated start in the Red Sox’ 3-2 win last Friday. Rays’ starter David Price hit two Red Sox batters, including a seemingly-intentional plunking to David Ortiz, but was not ejected and has not faced any suspension. Meanwhile, Brandon Workman was ejected from the game after a near miss of Evan Longoria and Major League Baseball has made the decision to suspend Workman for six games. In the first few days after the game, Ortiz’s words for Price were the story surrounding the Red Sox-Rays rivalry, but now the focus has shifted to Workman’s situation and for good reason.
Workman has decided to appeal this suspension, and is still slated to start tomorrow’s series finale against the Cleveland Indians, but the issue is not the appeal but the unfair circumstances that require that appeal.
Let’s take this way back to October of last year: Game Two of the ALDS to be exact. David Ortiz crushed two home runs against David Price in that game and Price did not take kindly to Ortiz’s slow trot around the base paths. So now, in Price’s first start against Boston since then, in Ortiz’s first at bat of the game, Price hits Ortiz with a none-too-subtle beanball. The umpiring crew issues warnings then and there, but Price is not ejected when he hits Mike Carp later in his outing. To be fair, Carp’s plunking did not appear intentional, but since warnings had been issued, Price still should have been ejected from the game.
But it gets worse. Not only has Price faced no punishment for his immaturity, but Brandon Workman is currently facing that six-game suspension. Yes, it’s pretty obvious that Workman meant to hit Longoria, and one could even make the argument that Workman should be suspended for his actions. However, if Workman is going to be suspended, then there’s no doubt that Price should be as well.
In other words, Workman is right to appeal this decision. Whether or not the suspension is overturned, it brings awareness to this unfair situation hanging over the heads of both teams right now. However, the suspension should be overturned and if it isn’t, or if Price isn’t brought along for the ride to suspension station, then that suggests that there are further issues in Major League Baseball’s umpiring system. We’ll see how this plays out, but this situation could certainly present itself again when the Red Sox face the Rays next.