Under the sweltering heat of the summer sun it is easy to get a temper, especially when mired in the conflict of a heated rivalry. No, I'm not talking about a playground bully, I'm talking about baseball. The Boston Red Sox finished a four game series with the New York Yankees yesterday, and all I can say is "ugly."
I'm not talking about the physical looks of either team, as much as I hate to admit it, the Yanks are as good, if not better, than the Bosox. However, these two teams have so much history together, for so long, that that is what really drives and sells this matchup. Ask any Bostonian what they think of the New York Yankees and I'm sure you'll get an expletive filled response, comments of the "Devil's Bitches" or "the worst thing to ever happen to baseball".
So when these teams meet, we all take an interest to see what they do, and how they act. An all too common occurance in Major League Baseball is the physicality of the sport. No, I don't mean slamming into the catcher at home plate, I'm talking about beanballs and retaliation, baseball's new buzzword du jour. During Roger Clemens' outing, where he got walloped by the Red Sox hitters, he hit Kevin Millar on the brim of his batter's helmet. Was this because he was frustrated it's taking him so long to get 301? Or the fact the Sox were making him look like he should have retired already? Who knows, because I sure don't.
It could have been an act of retaliation, yes, but let's skip ahead two games, to the last matchup of the series. Pedro Martinez is pitching for Boston, by far the best pitcher to pitch in Beantown is Clemens himself. Pedro hits both Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter in the hands, causing both players to have MRIs and forcing both players out of the game. Derek Jeter is the Yankee's captain, and Alfonso Soriano is the best 2nd baseman the majors have seen in years. With both players having been hit, by a Red Sock pitcher, many wondered how Mike Mussina, the Yankee's pitcher that day, would respond. Would he hit Nomah in the hand? Or maybe he'd take out slugger Manny Ramirez? Nope. Moose would do nothing of the sort. Instead he retired 21 Red Sox hitters in a row. That's 7 straight innings where the Red Sox were shutout and shutdown. That's retaliation.
Major League Baseball is becoming violent. I can remember watching SportsCenter years ago and rarely seeing a basebrawl. Now, it seems like every month the benches clear in atleast one game, if not more. Pitchers throw at hitters for hitting grand slams, pitchers throw at hitters when the opposing pitcher hits a player. Frankly, this is absurd. Baseball is a game, folks. Yes, it's their job too. They get paid to go out and win. They do not get paid to brawl. They do not get paid to hurt others.
So what has the MLB done about this? Not too much really. When Mike Piazza charged the mound he got a 4 game suspension, as did the pitcher, Guillermo Mota. 4 games? Out of 182? The pitcher only missed one start. Oh, and this happened in spring training! Pre-season! And Piazza's charging the mound! Sammy Sosa gets 7 games and a reputation as an idiot for using a corked bat, and Piazza gets four games for charging the mound?
A game that once had a great meaning for several people is being stepped on and muddied. Baseball is not hockey. The game is not supposed to be a violent brawl every time someone gets hit with a baseball. I'm sure it hurts, but I'm also sure it's not intentional more often than it is. Unless your on steroids, I'm sure you can control your aggression. You are, afterall, not God's gift to baseball.
So what can be done about this? Well, thankfully, Bud Selig is not going to be running for another term as commissioner of baseball, so hopefully something can get done about this. If I were in charge, I'd make the fines rediculous. If you are a player and you leave your dugout, automatic one game suspension. Boom! Done, automatic. You purposefully hit someone as a pitcher, out for 2 weeks, atleast. Charging the mound? A week, atleast. Your entire team leaves the dugout? They're all suspended one game. Hope you have reserves.
Drastic? Yes. But if you want to curb this sort of behavior that's what you have to do. It's obvious to tell that the NBA loves their pot-heads. They do not have strong punishments for those caught with ganja in thier car, or a joint in their pocket. All in all, what does this show the kids? If I ever have kids, and am coaching a team, and one little Johnny gets plunked and charges the mound, I'd throw him off my team. I'd probably spank him in public. Of course, by that time it might be acceptable ball, and the game I grew up with would be gone.