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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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16 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

geoflin

You forgot Brandon Workman. Suspended 5 games for throwing at Evan Longoria this year.

Aug 14, 2014 05:22 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Zachary Levine
BP staff

Yes, he got 6 games. Apologies for that. It didn't get recorded like all the others for whatever reason, and it wasn't actually a hit by pitch, but that should count and I shouldn't have forgotten that one.

Aug 14, 2014 07:53 AM
 
BP staff member Sam Miller
BP staff

Updated in the article

Aug 14, 2014 08:22 AM
 
shmage

In the last month (including last night) Juan Lagares of the Mets has been plunked in the letters four times--without the slightest sign of retaliation by Mets' pitchers. And judging by last nights game there are signs of the consequent demoralization affecting his fielding and baserunning, as well as his hitting!

Aug 14, 2014 07:28 AM
rating: 3
 
amazin_mess
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The Mets have been notorious pansies over the last ten years. I can't remember the last time they retaliated.

Aug 14, 2014 10:57 AM
rating: -4
 
LeafontheWind

The Mets have been notorious grown ups over the last ten years.

Aug 14, 2014 19:21 PM
rating: 2
 
tommybones

The McCutchen drilling reminded me a lot of Benitez dripping Tino Martinez back in the day. Shocked Pirates teammates didn't storm the field for that gutless display

Aug 14, 2014 09:00 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Zachary Levine
BP staff

The fight that followed that was one of my 5 favorite memories of my baseball childhood.

Here's the video just because:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKIHNsf8O_A

Aug 14, 2014 09:28 AM
 
LynchMob

The silence after the McCutchen beaning is amazing. I'd actually be OK with no suspension of Delgado, as long as they did something (fine/suspension/both) to Towers and Gibson, as I believe Delgado was simply following orders. The problem is the orders ...

Aug 14, 2014 09:04 AM
rating: 1
 
therealn0d

Meh.

Aug 14, 2014 11:06 AM
rating: -3
 
TGT969

The whole McCutchen incident was so Bush League. Yes one got away and hit
Goldsmith ending his season. It was not intentional. Yet for Gibson to order
Delgado to hit him on the 3rd pitch(!) then defend it is just insane. To top it off
LaRussa to make his outlandish statement is beyond the pale.
The take-no-prisoners attitude in Arizona demands suspensions for Delgado,
Gibson and LaRussa

Aug 14, 2014 09:43 AM
rating: 3
 
Dave Pomerantz

If the league starts handing out LONG suspensions (10+ games) for this crap for both pitcher and manager, it'll stop real fast.

Aug 14, 2014 10:23 AM
rating: 5
 
bhalpern

This. The 'standard' six game suspension for starters is a joke.

Aug 15, 2014 10:15 AM
rating: 2
 
PeterBNYC

I seem to recall that MLB has a guy who is in charge of this sort of thing. What's his name? Oh yeah, JOE TORRE. What's up Joe, are you gonna get on this as soon as you are back from Cooperstown?

The blame should be put on the guy in charge, and that is Torre.

Aug 14, 2014 13:57 PM
rating: 4
 
therealn0d

"Pain does not exist in this clubhouse, does it?"

"No, Gibson!"

"Fear does not exist in this clubhouse, does it?"

"No, Gibson!"

"Defeat does not exist in this clubhouse, does it?"

"Well..."

Aug 14, 2014 14:17 PM
rating: 7
 
Llarry

Yeah, I think you've kind of nailed it. Gibby and Towers and TLR are all saying tough things, because they don't want their players to just roll over, but then when it comes time to act on that attitude, well, one look at the D'Backs current record should give you an idea how well the execution of such a plan will go... (And I say that as a D'Backs fan).

People are freaking out like the D'Backs are some sort of evil, when I really think it can be adequately explained by stupidity/incompetence. That said, I would have expected suspensions; there's nothing wrong with punishing incompetence instead of just malicious intent...

Aug 14, 2014 17:35 PM
rating: 1
 
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Eyewitness Accounts: A... (08/14)
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Skewed Left: The Nomar... (07/31)
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