Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hitting Batters, With MLB's Blessing

I hate pitchers that intentionally hit batters. I think it's the most cowardly act in sports and given what happened to Andy Phillips, the most dangerous -- you can put a player on the disabled list, end their season, end their career or even end their life even when they're hit unintentionally. To do it on purpose is vile. That's one big reason I've never liked Roger Clemens -- he's a headhunter. (I'll take Andy Pettitte any day.)

Baseball's latest attempt to deal with it is ludicrous. Wang unintentionally hit Youkilis, putting that player out of the game and day to day. (Why pitchers don't ALWAYS move forward and show concern and express empathy for players they unintentionally drill with a baseball is beyond me. It would decrease tension and be, oh, I don't know, decent of them.) No one thought it was intentional and so no warning was given. Then Beckett drilled Giambi on the elbow in "retaliation." Giambi, being a knucklehead, thought that was fine. "He's looking out for his guys," said Giambi. How? By attacking an opposing player over an accident? Even stupider, the umpire then warned both teams not to retaliate. Huh? That means Boston got a free pass to hit a player on purpose, with the blessing of MLB. Wang did NOT hit Youkilis on purpose. Beckett did. Any time an umpire believes a pitcher hit a batter on purpose, that pitcher should be ejected from the game. Period. Issuing a warning just means pitchers who follow the rules have the inside of the plate taken away from them. If the Yankees did retaliate, throw their pitcher out. Immediately. Giving a warning lets everyone have a free pass on drawing blood and takes away an edge good and fair pitchers deserve. 99 times out of a 100, everyone knows exactly when a pitcher has intentionally hit a batter. Whenever that occurs, throw them out immediately. No stupid warning after the horses have left the barn.

That's the belief of this section 39 bleacher creature, at least. Also, I'm glad everyone thought that pile-driving of Posada was "clean," but it didn't look like baseball to me. It looked like football. I have no recommendation of how to change it, but how did tagging the plate devolve into smashing into a guy like a behemoth to try and dislodge the ball. He didn't beat the throw or make the tag around the catcher. Why should he get points for being a giant that can crush the other guy? I'm just surprised no one has had their neck broken that way.


priv8pete said...

How about "career ended in an All Star Game" because of it or do they have to have their neck broken?

joe said...

I was going to bring up the Pete Rose play as well, Pete. But I don't have a problem with that play overall.

I do have a problem with MLB's idiotic way of trying to stop brawls. Michael is 100% right. The bottom line is, if an umpire thinks a pitcher threw at someone on purpose, they should be thrown out of the game. There should be no way around it. I'd love to know how Beckett can plunk Giambi on purpose and not get any punishment, but Joba lets a few pitches get away from him and gets suspended for two games. Ridiculous.

Another example is a few years back when Clemens had to bat against the Mets and everyone KNEW the Mets were going to throw at him. I think the pitcher was Shawn Estes, and sure enough the first pitch he threw a few feet behind Roger. How is that right? Now you can say Clemens deserved it, but that's not really the point. If I remember correctly, Estes added insult to injury by actually getting a big hit off Clemens in that game...

Brucie G said...

i agree with joe on both counts. The knocking over the catcher is fun to watch, just like football players getting horribly mangled by each other is fun to watch. Catchers know what they're getting into when they become catchers...however i do agree it should not happen in an all-star game.

Michael in New York said...

Fair enough, but it's hard to play one way all season long and then stop during the All Star Game. Football is fun to watch and baseball is fun to watch. But I don't like watching football moves on the baseball diamond. Brute strength has nothing to do with it. Baserunners don't clothesline the shortstop on their way to third. Guys reaching home plate don't grab bats and start wailing on the catcher to make him "drop" the ball. If I want that, I'll watch Ultimate Fighting.

dasnootz said...

You're all weak.

I love to see players get drilled, and wish that more pitchers would use that than an intentional walk.

Bring back the stinger too.

Batters are hit because pitchers are proving that they're the alpha male in the relationship, and that they own the inside corner of the plate. If teams didn't return the favor by plunking the opposition, you'd have pitchers like Clemons throwing more high heat just to keep batters like Jeter from diving over the plate.

Once you let MLB decide whether or not a batter was hit on purpose you've given into the commies. Next you'll be letting "the man" decide our political elections too.

Michael in New York said...

I feel sorry for the Commies. They must be so lonely there in Cuba, all by themselves while the Russians make money. But hitting players intentionally is the act of a coward. In football, people wear padding before pounding into each other. We just saw Phillips' season end because of a stray pitch. Doing that on purpose isn't the sign of an alpha male. It's the sign of a pussy who knows (in the AL) that he won't have to bat and no one can ever hurt him back. I despise Clemens and his headhunting. The Ump ALREADY decide when a pitch has been thrown intentionally. It' sjust that right now they wait until after retaliation to call a halt -- or they let an intentional hit slide, evne though it's in retaliation for a stray ball. That makes no sense. Pitchers will hit batters and try to keep control of the inside of the plate. But high pitches towards the head? And if a pitcher doesn't have the CONTROL to avoid hitting batters, they should be penalized just like a pitcher who does it on purpose. So the pitcher who hit two of our guys early on recently didn't do it intentionally, but if he'd done it again, I wouldn't have any problem with an ump topssing him for lack of control. You can't keep it over the plate, you shouldn't be pitching. And raise th pitching mound to give pitchers an edge that way. Thinking it's cool to watch pitchers drill batters is like wanting to see a boxing match where one guy has his arms tied behind his back.

dasnootz said...

Mike... I think it's time for some Midol(TM).

I never said that head hunting was legitimate, but intentionally hitting a player in the leg, butt or throwing behind somebody gets the point across.

I have no problem with raising the mound back up. It helps power pitchers and will speed up the game again. Unfortunately offense seems to sell tickets.