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August 14, 2014

Skewed Left

Where Have All The Suspensions Gone?

by Zachary Levine


One of my least favorite hot takes in all of sports comes when people say that the National Hockey League should ban fighting. Not because I find the sport’s method of supposed self-regulation to be at all attractive but simply because fighting in hockey is banned. Know how I know it’s banned? Because not only is it a penalty to fight, it’s a major penalty. The NHL banned shooting the puck over the glass from your own zone a few years back, and you only get two minutes for that; thus certainly fighting is banned if it's five.

So technically you are not allowed to throw at hitters in Major League Baseball. If you hit someone, he goes to first, which, if it’s leading off the inning, costs about a third of a run. And if you miss, the 1–0 count isn’t good either. And these days you’ll probably try again. Sometimes you’ll even get ejected like Randall Delgado did when he punctuated Andrew McCutchen last week.

Hitting a batter, by this logic, is still banned.

But boy does it not feel like that, and all of a sudden, too.

Last year, you could get suspended for this sort of thing. As the aerial assaults continue, however, the discipline has sharply, abruptly, and perhaps dangerously stopped. The lasting question in the wake of three recent incidents in the National League is whether we have reached a point where baseball can no longer suspend players for throwing at each other.

First, let’s rewind to 2006, a year when 12 players were suspended multiple games for beanballs alone. Since then, it’s been mostly downhill, though it had stabilized in the past few years.

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<< Previous Article
Eyewitness Accounts: A... (08/14)
<< Previous Column
Skewed Left: The Nomar... (07/31)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: Saber Sem... (08/21)
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