Monday, April 25, 2005

Content and Context

A number of posters present thoughtful response to my commentary on 'head-hunting'.

Steve D writes, "The problem with your scenario (heavy fines and suspensions etc.) is that it's impossible to prove intent." Both leagues have personnel assigned to mete out discipline in exactly this situation after review of the context of the situation. Steve is correct that every pitcher says "the pitch got away". Using that logic, managers should never be warned, and no one should ever be ejected, because no court, judge, and jury were assembled to prove intent.

A secondary (and surely less plausible point for most) note is where wildness occurs. Generally, RHPs will be wild inside to RH hitters (natural ball movement) and LHP outside to RH hitters.

Having pitched from Little League, Babe Ruth League, Legion, high school, college, the Intercity League, and even in an old men's league, I don't think I hit 3 lefthanded batters, and nobody anywhere near the head. Maybe that's why I was such a mediocre pitcher?

Steve adds (lacking due process) "your "remedy" is sorely lacking in my opinion." That seems to be a trend in society, both nationally and internationally, as each of us, from individual to government 'knows what is right' and acts on that knowledge. A very valid criticism.

Redsoxer questions, "In your perfect world, why stop there? What about the owners who hired the managers?" My column states exactly that. How many owners would want to pony up $250,000 because their employees decided to take baseball justice into their own hands?

He adds, Re: "Will that happen? Of course not, because the “labor unions” will prevent harsh treatment of their coddled members." Never mind. Ah, class war!

MLBPA resembles most labor unions the way a sledgehammer and a ballpeen hammer are both hammers. Last time I checked, the average 'dues paying union member' makes over 2 million dollars. I remember seeing the Texas Rangers waiting for their charter at BWI. The younger players were playing cards and spitting tobacco juice on the airport carpet. The 'grizzled' veterans were carrying briefcases, wearing three-piece suits and reading section C of the Wall Street Journal. They're entitled to their lifestyles because they have skills that you and I lack, but let's not confuse them with Everyman.

What will happen? There WILL be suspensions and fines, appeals, and then suspensions and fines will be enforced. Then the cycle will repeat itself, until the next Conigliaro happens.

We are talking about degree. As George Bernard Shaw wagged, "we already know what kind of woman you are. We are negotiating over the price."


RedSoxer said...

When Ortiz feigned charging the mound Sunday, that set the ball in motion for the "bench clearing" and subsequent ejections. Had he just ducked and shook it off, that probably would have been the end of it. When the umpires doled out the ejections they made arbitrary decisions in an attempt to diffuse the situation. They weren't in my opinion passing judgement as to the intent of what I believe was an inside pitch that got away. I guess my point is, you can't apply simple solutions to a case like that when you honestly don't know what the intent was to begin with.

RedSoxer said...

If it could be established that Carter's pitch to Ortiz was as you described, a "purpose pitch" (deliberate head shot) then I'd be in favor of banning Carter from MLB for life. Unfortunately, we'll never know if that was his intent.

Rick A. said...

It would be great to think that major leauge baseball had the guts to really try to do something to pitchers who throw at people intentionally. The simple fact of the matter is that the buzz that the issue creates is good for their "business". The arguments about "the union" and "players intent" are fuel for the fire.