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Yesterday’s column set a DP record
for responses, and I want to thank
everyone for the feedback. In the flood of responses, a few readers hit on
the same two points, so I want to talk a little about them here.

The first common thread was that I’d misinterpreted the actions of
Andres Galarraga in last Tuesday’s game. Many readers believe that
Galarraga did nothing untoward after being hit by a John Wasdin
pitch, and that the brawl was caused by Wasdin’s taunts.

I don’t have a tape of the game handy, and enough people share a similar
opinion that I’ll probably have to concede the point. I certainly agree
that the brawl was caused by Wasdin’s mouth. Where I and many of you
part ways is in determining whether the pitcher’s anger was precipitated by
anything Galarraga did.

At the time, and in retrospect when writing the column, I felt Galarraga
acted as if he felt the pitch was delivered with intent. It’s apparent that
his actions can be interpreted differently, which would, of course,
separate the Big Cat from what Gerald Williams did Tuesday night in
Tampa Bay.

As far as Williams is concerned, more than a few people surmised that
Williams may have been attempting to get Pedro Martinez ejected, in
the hopes of improving the Devil Rays’ chance of winning the game.

I have to say I disagree. The concept is one you see a lot in hockey, where
a lousy player is sent out in an effort to draw a penalty, particularly a
major penalty, from an opposition star. You simply don’t see this in
baseball, and there’s a fairly good reason: an initial hit-by-pitch, with
no prior action, isn’t an ejectable offense. It’s charging the mound, or
retaliatory hit-by-pitches, than can be cause for ejection.

If Williams really went to the plate thinking, "If he hits me, I’ll
charge the mound and maybe get him tossed." I’d be quite surprised.
It’s simply a high-risk strategy with very little chance for success, and a
significant risk of injury and suspension. It also mocks the game’s
integrity and even runs the risk of alienating the local fans, a portion of
which no doubt showed up last night to see the great Mr. Martinez.

Readers 1, Columnist 1. I believe that puts Readers up 269-2 on the year.

  • Had a bad day? Not as bad as Jerry Spradlin, who gave up two
    singles and a home run to the Twins to turn an 8-4 game into an 8-7 one,
    then was released an hour later.

  • It’s just about September and there are still ten teams in the American
    League within nine games of a playoff spot. I’m not a real big fan of the
    wild card, but there’s no way that, with this system, 15 or 18 or 20 teams
    can go into Opening Day with no shot at the playoffs. Please, please,
    please remember that next spring, when the Chicken Littles are out.

Joe Sheehan can be reached at jsheehan@baseballprospectus.com.

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