So yesterday Major League Baseball weakly laid down the proverbial smack on Albert Pujols. It was more like a light tap on the wrist. He was suspended two games for his conduct on July 13 2003, where he almost initiated a brawl after getting hit by a pitch. Greg Bennett, the Padres catcher who incited Pujols, as well as Padres manager Bruce Bochy are both receiving fines for their actions. Bennett for igniting Pujols, and Bochy for saying unkind things about the Umpire and his mother. That's it?
Let's just ignore he fact that all these shenanigans went down in the first inning of a game between the two, putting a pallor on the entire game. Let's ignore the fact that Pujols was hit intentionally, for a stupid reason. Let's ignore the fact that the manager didn't get fined for that, and the pitcher got off scott-free. Was baseball justice served here? It has not. Yes, Albert Pujols is a great player, but everyone has to play by the rules here; everone equal before the law, right?
The funny part about this entire thing is, even though his actions were caught on film and displayed in every highlight show around the US of A, Pujols is appealing the decision. Now, in the legal world, if one think one got a raw deal on a court case, they can appeal to the courts, and their trial can be looked at and maybe they could be granted a new trial. I fail to see the point of appealing in this scenario. He hit Bennett, it's on tape. Hell, he did it infront of 30,000 fans plus who knows how many on live television; what's there to appeal?
I'm trying desperately to avoid going on a rant about lawyers and the legal system here, it's a bit difficult, but I'll manage. Pujols has no reason to appeal anything. He should be able to control himself and act accordingly. If anything, more fines and punishment should be doled out, not less. Why wasn't the pitcher, Adam Eaton, fined for his actions? He, very obviously, hit Pujols on purpose. I thought the Major Leagues frowned on this sort of thing. If they're trying to put an end to retaliation, they sure are going about it the wrong way.
Then again, why would they want to put an end to it? If you ask any Boston Red Sox fan who the two biggest rivalries the Sox have going currently, you'd get the obvious answer of The Devil's Bitches and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Yup, the D-Rays. While they have problems coming up with winning seasons, they have no problem being a nuisance for the Bosox. All it took was one good brawl, and a heated rivalry was formed. Rivalries are the only reason there's a market for Professional Wrestling, so why shouldn't Major League Baseball be all for stuff like this? When the Padres come back to St. Louis, people are going to be talking about it. People might even tune in just to see what's gonna happen this time around, as everyone remembers what happened last time.
While the play of the team should be the main factor in selling tickets, or getting people to watch a ballgame, this is not always the case. Fenway will always sell out for the Yanks, as will Pac Bell Stadium when the Arizona Diamondbacks come into town, or Wrigley Field when St. Louis shows up. The team rivalry is a beautiful thing and an essential part in any sport. Save the fisticuffs for hockey, please, I just want to see baseball.