Thursday, April 12, 2018

Unwritten Rules vs Thug Baseball IV

Photo by Maddie Meyer (Getty Images)
Ah, yes. It's not baseball season until I have to break out my soapbox and start calling out thug baseball. And last year I had to wait until May. Yesterday we had not one, but two fights that delayed games.

The first one happened in Denver yesterday afternoon. There's been some craziness in the series between the host Rockies and the San Diego Padres. Padre outfield Manuel Margot is out after getting one in the ribs, and early in the game yesterday Trevor Story of the Rockies and Hunter Renfroe of the Padres were both hit, though I believe unintentionally.

And of course, because the neanderthals are still in charge, this happened when Nolan Arenado stepped to the plate in the third.

Not to be outdone, when the Yankees and Red Sox renewed their rivalry last night, tempers got so heated the benches cleared twice.

I kind of get the anger from the Red Sox' perspective. Going in with your spikes is dangerous, but other than using his spikes, the Yankees' Tyler Austin did nothing wrong: he slid directly into second base, albeit ending up past the bag (though by the rule, you only have to be able to remain on the bag after completing the slide and since the force was already completed, the fact that he was off isn't an issue). That's why I don't take issue with the benches clearing in the aftermath of that play.

Still image from Fox Sports
But in both of these games, we see the old school unwritten rules in full force. You hit one or more of our guys, we're hitting yours. You spike our second baseman, the runner who slid is getting thrown at his next time up. It's the way that baseball has been played for years so it's in no way a surprise.

But here's the rub. It's 2018, and we're still acting like thugs about things. I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't defend your guys, because in team sports you have to know that your teammates have your back. But there has to be a better way than by assaulting an opponent with a deadly weapon. That's what this is. Don't give me the "he hit him in the back, or on the rear, it's okay," bullcrap. Fastball velocity is... fast, and that can do some serious damage. And if it happens to get away and you end up hitting a guy in the head? We're talking potential life or death territory here.

I love a good donnybrook as much as the next guy, but this crap that precipitates these scrums needs to stop. One of these days, a guy is going to get seriously hurt by an intentional beaning... or worse. There's no place for assault with a deadly weapon in the game anymore. We should be beyond it. The league needs to start stepping in, though like I said last year, I don't see Rob Manfred doing anything about it.

If it were me, it's getting to the point where I'd start getting draconian on incidents like this. I'm talking month-long suspensions for the assaulting pitcher and multigame suspensions for the manager to hammer the point home. Suspensions for the fights resulting from beanings can stay where they are now, but players need to find a better way to police themselves.

It's an extreme example, but one day, someone is going to get killed by one of these retaliatory beanballs. What happens then? I'd rather get this removed from the game before something like that happens.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

2018 MLB Preview: AL West

And so we've come all the way across the country. Five divisions down, one to go.

I broke one tradition with my 2018 MLB previews in condensing this down from six days of posts to three. But one tradition I didn't break was the alternating of leagues and working across the country.

And now, we conclude with the division that contains our defending champion: the AL West.

2018 MLB Preview: NL West

Opening Day is tomorrow! Excitement is in the air, everyone is a contender (...well, except for the Marlins) and hopefully the weather will warm up so taking a trip to the ballpark will be a little more pleasant.

I've condensed my process down to three days' worth of posting instead of six, so we're down to just two divisions to preview. We're back to the National League one more time with one Wild Card berth still up for grabs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

2018 MLB Preview: AL Central

We're onto the second preview of the day as we pass the halfway point of a look at the 2018 Major League Baseball season. I've condensed the process down this year to three days instead of six, going through two divisions a day. Tomorrow I'll look at the west coast.

I got a look this morning at my most familiar division. Today, I go to my second most familiar division as we stay in the Midwest and take a look at the AL Central.

2018 MLB Preview: NL Central

We're onto the second day of MLB previews as I've condensed this year's batch down to three days instead of six. We're still working our way across the country, alternating leagues, before ending with the division containing the defending World Series champion.

This brings us to the country's center, and after ending yesterday in the American League, we go to my division of greatest familiarity in the NL Central.

Monday, March 26, 2018

2018 MLB Preview: AL East

I'm changing up the rate at which I'm cranking out previews this year. If you're reading this and are surprised that I put out a pair of previews in one day, that's the plan.

I'm doing two divisions a day for the next couple of days as well, rounding things out with the division of our defending World Series champion. This year we're starting out east again and after covering the National League side of this geography, we're moving on to the AL East.

2018 MLB Preview: NL East

It's kind of crazy to think that we're already in late March, and that the 2018 Major League Baseball season is upon us.

This year I'm not plugging a Tournament of Champions with the MLB one concluded last year. Instead I'm focused solely on the upcoming season.

As is my custom, I go through one division per post, but this year I'm condensing stuff down to three days, with two posts coming per day leading up to the start of the season. As usual, I'm alternating leagues and working my way around the country, ending with the division of the defending champion. With that thought in mind, let's kick things off with the NL East.