A little less than a week ago, I wrote of retaliation in Major League Baseball, and the examples keep on coming. Two nights ago, St. Louis Cardinals' phenom, Albert Pujols, smacked a walk off homerun. During this bomb, Pujols lingered near homeplate watching the ball fly out of the ballpark. He only began his trot around the bases when the ball had almost completely left the field.
I know what you're saying, "So what, this Pujols guy hit the ball realy far, big deal." Well, I guess it is a big deal. While Pujols was playing to the hometown crowd, the San Diego Padres, the Cardinal's opponents, became angry. When Pujols finally made it around to home plate, Pads' catcher, Gary Bennett, had a few words for him. I'm sure they were not along the lines of "Nice hit."
The next game, yesterday, started normal enough; that is until Albert Pujols came to the plate. Pitcher Adam Eaton lobbed a soft, 66 mph breaking ball directly at Pujols. This was his first pitch to Pujols, and his 11th overall. Pujols became angered as he and Bennett exchanged more words, which culminated in Bennett taking a Pujols right square on his jaw.
The repurcussions haven't been ironed out just yet. What must be figured out first, is who's to blame. It's not the umpire, that's for sure. He immediately ejected Eaton, then Pujols, then Bennett, then Padres' manager Bruce Bochy for their involvement in the ensuing melee. Is Pujols at fault? Sure he took a long time to round the bases, or even get going, but he's playing at home and just hit a walk off home run. Does Sammy Sosa get beaned everytime he does his silly little jump/skip after he hits a dinger? No. Pujols is at fault for being an idiot, and not taking his base on a beanball, especially after the pitcher got tossed instantaneously.
So, is it the Padres' no-named catcher, Gary Bennett? Well, yes and no. So Pujols was being an A-hole and San Diego almost won but didn't, life goes on. There is still 90+ games left in the season. It's not like the Padres are in the middle of a play-off run anyway, we haven't even reached the half-way point yet. Bennett should have kept his yap shut and went back to the dugout.
My guess is as such. The pitcher, Adam Eaton, might miss one game, if any, for his small part in this fiasco. Pujols will get two or three for throwing a punch, but nothing more. Bennett should get 3-5 games for being a dolt. I would also suspend the manager for not being able to control his team, and his pitchers. The reality of the situation is that Pujols is probably not going to get anything more than a fine. I mean this guy is the Albert Pujols, he's gonna be one of the athletes Major League Baseball will be riding on in the coming years. I'd also suspend Barry Bonds for the rest of his life for wearing full plate mail body armor to the plate, but I digress.
We're at a point, now, where professional athletes, from all walks of life, involved in every major sport, are almost outright refusing to act professional. Do they need a Code of Conduct to be written out and posted on the benches, so the players can't escape it? No, I'd like to think that that's a bit much, these are, afterall, mostly adults; even if they don't act like it. MLB has always had a problem of controlling their whiners, their multi-million dollar crybabies. I remember one Boston Red Sox game where Roger Clemens, back when we liked him, had to leave the game in the second inning of a small blister on his thumb, of his non-throwing hand. Suck it up and play the game like it was ment to be played. Stop Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Ty Cobb, and other phenominal players from rolling over in their graves, please. The fans want baseball.