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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hirshfield: Unfair to Fault Youkilis for Standing Up for His Teammates

Or as Pitch Williams said on the MLB Network…“Why didn’t Youkilis charge Edwin Jackson the day before…Huh? (insert blank stare here) Huh?...BECAUSE HE FELT HE COULD INTIMIDATE A 20-YEAR OLD, THAT"S WHY!”

“There are two real culprits in this Tigers-Red Sox mess, when a brawl broke out in the bottom of the second,” wrote ESPN.com’s Keith Law on Tuesday.

“First is Kevin Youkilis, who showed once again that he can’t keep his emotions in check by charging the mound without a moment of hesitation after he was hit by a pitch. Tigers starter Rick Porcello backed off and raised his hands as if to ask why Youkilis was rushing the mound. Those of us in the scouts’ seats had the same reaction.”

“Huh?” you’re asking. Wait, it gets better.

...let’s get to Law’s assessment of the event in question.

Youkilis “can’t keep his emotions in check”? Now, I won’t disagree with the fact that Youk—an All-Star for the second time in his career this season—gets a little hot under the collar every time he strikes out. That’s his M.O. It’s not completely out of character for people who are great at what they do to be hard on themselves. But, quick, name the last time he did anything inappropriate to another player. I didn’t think you could.

Next, Law—and the rest of his Ivy League cronies in the luxurious scouts’ seats—couldn’t understand why Youkilis was rushing the mound? Really?

OK, I agree that Porcello did look incredulous and scared half to death, wondering why the angry-looking, barrel-chested Sox third baseman was headed his way. Maybe the pitch did get away from him.

Repoz Posted: August 12, 2009 at 10:19 AM | 183 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, tigers

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   101. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 12, 2009 at 03:23 PM (#3290181)
SJH - Tazawa did settle down nicely, but he aint getting that ridiculous strike zone all year.

On this we agree. It seemed to me that once that wide zone was established Tazawa started pitching to that spot for strikes the rest of his outing. We'll need more evidence to see if that was a smart adjustment on his part, or if he was unintentionally missing the zone and just getting lucky with calls.
   102. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: August 12, 2009 at 03:23 PM (#3290182)
How many games is he gonna get? 3, when its all said and done?

Richie Sexson got six (reduced to five) when he charged the mound and threw his helmet a couple years ago.
   103. tfbg9 Posted: August 12, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3290185)
Dan Shughnessy told me in yesterday's paper that Tazawa was the modern-day Bobby Sprowl. Bastard lied to me.


That being said, it is hard to win consistently as a righty starter when you top out at maybe 91 on the NESN gun, which IIRC, clicks fast.
   104. tjm1 Posted: August 12, 2009 at 03:25 PM (#3290186)
How many games is he gonna get? 3, when its all said and done?


I don't know. Three would be the standard for charging the mound and starting a brawl, but the helmet toss might get him an extra game or two.
   105. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 12, 2009 at 03:26 PM (#3290188)
That being said, it is hard to win consistently as a righty starter when you top out at maybe 91 on the NESN gun, which IIRC, clicks fast.

That's a touch lower than his usual velocity in the minors this year. The scouting reports on him have his fastball at 91-93, and that was roughly the velocity he recorded in NY over the weekend. It's possible he was a bit nervous and didn't have his best heater. More evidence is needed, of course.
   106. tjm1 Posted: August 12, 2009 at 03:28 PM (#3290192)
That being said, it is hard to win consistently as a righty starter when you top out at maybe 91 on the NESN gun, which IIRC, clicks fast.


Eh. If you have a plan, a couple good complimentary pitches, and command, you can do it. Maddux defines the extreme of what you can do with a low-90's fastball as a righty, but I think we'll all be elated if Tazawa can be halfway between Maddux level and replacement level.
   107. MikeinMI Posted: August 12, 2009 at 03:38 PM (#3290202)
Hobobeard McCranium


Two words for that...Awe Some!
   108. SteveF Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:07 PM (#3290235)
You can get by with a 90 MPH fastball. Plenty of pitchers do it. You just can't get away with a fastball you can't locate to both sides of the plate. But guys that throw 95 can't get by with a fastball they can't locate to both sides of the plate. So nothing new there.

As for charging the mound, I don't think there's any situation in which that's a reasonable response. If you think they are throwing at your guys, you throw at them. The whole charging the mound thing is just over-dramatic and risks injury to your guys. Throw at them and only risk injury to their guys.
   109. Ron Johnson Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:08 PM (#3290236)
Gaelen, as best I can tell the ritual charging of the mound really goes back to the game where Ed Farmer put both Frank White and Al Cowens on the DL in the same game. Cowens didn't feel the league dealt with the matter adequately, so the next time he faced Farmer when he grounded out he headed for Farmer rather than first. A good idea if your intent is to actually fight since nobody can stop you before you get there.
   110. themendozaline Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:09 PM (#3290238)
Although I don't fault Youkilis for charging the mound last night I wonder why he lets Joba and Yankees treat him like a #####. He reminds me of Mike Piazza who PUNK'D out against Clemens after getting drilled in the head and later having a bat thrown at him in the World Series.
   111. tjm1 Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:17 PM (#3290244)
Although I don't fault Youkilis for charging the mound last night I wonder why he lets Joba and Yankees treat him like a #####.


Joba didn't actually hit Youkilis, and the umpire did throw Joba out of the game for throwing at him. I think those are big differences.
   112. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:21 PM (#3290250)
He reminds me of Mike Piazza who PUNK'D out against Clemens after getting drilled in the head and later having a bat thrown at him in the World Series.


I don't remember Piazza PUNKing out, but I'm not really sure what "PUNK'D out" means. Piazza went 0 for 3 against Clemens after Clemens threw the broken bat at him, although he did hit a HR off a reliever in that game. He also hit a HR off Clemens the next time Clemens faced the Mets.
   113. Dirty Tom Rackham Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:34 PM (#3290262)
Next, Law—and the rest of his Ivy League cronies in the luxurious scouts’ seats

Wha? There's a lot of Ivy League scouts out there?

Brawls are generally pretty stupid. Baseball should adopt the hockey/basketball rule of no players can leave the bench/bullpen. If someone wants to charge he's on his own.
   114. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:42 PM (#3290277)
Joba throwing at batters heads and pumping his fist like a polio chimp[emphasis added]

That's considered acceptable terminology now? I would have thought not.
   115. Gaelan Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:45 PM (#3290280)
Gaelen, as best I can tell the ritual charging of the mound really goes back to the game where Ed Farmer put both Frank White and Al Cowens on the DL in the same game. Cowens didn't feel the league dealt with the matter adequately, so the next time he faced Farmer when he grounded out he headed for Farmer rather than first. A good idea if your intent is to actually fight since nobody can stop you before you get there.


That's a good story. Once in three pitch softball there was a dustup when I slide into second and because the base wasn't nailed down the guy standing there wiped out. He was pissed and tried to fight me then. Later in the game another guy on their team was at first and I was at shortstop with the game out of hand. There was a hit to the outfield and instead of running to secondbase he ran straight at me and blindsided me. I got up, whacked him in the face a couple of times before everyone broke it up.

Having been in that situation the clear answer is that the other players shouldn't break up the fight. If the other players hadn't arrived I would have put that guy in the hospital and he never would have done it again.
   116. Ron Johnson Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:46 PM (#3290281)
#113 that's basically the way it was for quite some time. Problem being that there were some hideous mis-matches. Casey Stengel damned near killed Phil Weinert after Weinert hit him in consecutive at bats.

Best I can tell it stayed that way until sometime in the 50s. I've read stories of Joe Adcock chasing a much smaller man (Ruben Gomez IIRC) all over the field while his teammates laughed. The chasee came back with a knife for round two. As I've heard it, Willie Mays talked him into putting the knife away.
   117. SoSH U at work Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:51 PM (#3290288)
Baseball should adopt the hockey/basketball rule of no players can leave the bench/bullpen. If someone wants to charge he's on his own.


I'm not sure encouraging 9 on 1 fights (or at most, 9-4) is a realistic solution. There's a reason hockey and basketball can do that, because there's always (or close to always) an identical number of players on the playing field at the same time.
   118. RJ in TO Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:54 PM (#3290294)
I'm not sure encouraging 9 on 1 fights (or at most, 9-4) is a realistic solution.


When is it ever going to be 9 on 1? The nine aren't going to gang beat the one unless he does something stupid like charge the mound, in which case the one deserves what he gets for being a moron.
   119. Gaelan Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:56 PM (#3290296)
I'm not sure encouraging 9 on 1 fights (or at most, 9-4) is a realistic solution. There's a reason hockey and basketball can do that, because there's always (or close to always) an identical number of players on the playing field at the same time.


This could be stopped for two reasons. The first is the code. You don't jump into a fight to gangup on another guy. The second is the rule that backs up the code. The third man into a fight gets massive punishment.

Now the real reason this wouldn't work is that MLB umpires are too fat, slow and weak to break up a fight whereas NHL linesman are all in superb physical shape. This could have the additional advantage of winowing the umpire herd.
   120. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:56 PM (#3290297)
Charging the mound in baseball has a long and storied history,


Does it? I'm not doubting the statement at all, just noting that I'm pretty sure I never noticed any until the last, I dunno, maybe 20 years. Maybe that's attributable to the scarcity of TV games, lack of highlights shows, etc. during my first couple of decades of paying attention to baseball.
   121. SoSH U at work Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:02 PM (#3290307)
This could be stopped for two reasons. The first is the code. You don't jump into a fight to gangup on another guy. The second is the rule that backs up the code. The third man into a fight gets massive punishment.


Except it's also code for catchers to protect their pitchers. So it's potentially 2 on 1 right there. You're not going to stop catchers from jumping in.

And what happens if it's a non-charging incident, where the shortstop and second baseman start a brawl with a runner who came into second too hard? Do we have different charging the field rules in that scenario?

Baseball fights are stupid. But, due to the rather uncommon nature of the sport, I suspect any ironclad rule designed to stop them will have even dumber consequences.
   122. OCD SS Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:13 PM (#3290335)
That's pretty much Aikido. Youkilis lost the "fight" without question.


Well in theory, but not in practice. For it to actually 'be' aikido Porcello shouldn't have planted his leg and then pulled with his arms upper body and fallen backwards. That's more of a wrestling approach. An aikidoist would actually either step back or move in slightly to pivot and turn his hips while redirecting Youks with less arm strength.
   123. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:18 PM (#3290345)
If the ball is over the batter's box when it hits you


that requires the batters box chalk not being demolished early

they should replace the chalk with a hard clay outline
   124. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:22 PM (#3290352)
And the Tigers should give Porcello another start in Fenway since He didn't work much today.

Because I don't want Porcello to face KC
   125. Kurt Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:33 PM (#3290368)
And the Tigers should give Porcello another start in Fenway since He didn't work much today.

It may seem so, but He works in mysterious ways.
   126. Ron Johnson Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:41 PM (#3290389)
I'm not doubting the statement at all, just noting that I'm pretty sure I never noticed any until the last, I dunno, maybe 20 years.


It's become a ritual in recent years. And as I've said I'm pretty sure you can trace it back to Farmer/Cowens.

But it wasn't uncommon before then. I mentioned 2 earlier in the thread and there's also Bob Meusel/King Cole (with a Babe Ruth/Ty Cobb screaming match as a side event). This was followed by a riot (as in game called, order could not be restored).

One other instance from the 60s. Bob Gibson knocked down Dennis Bennet twice. Jack Baldschun hit him. Gibson threw his bat at Baldschun.

There were other cases. Not rare but generally newsworthy.
   127. cardsfanboy Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:41 PM (#3290390)
Does it? I'm not doubting the statement at all, just noting that I'm pretty sure I never noticed any until the last, I dunno, maybe 20 years. Maybe that's attributable to the scarcity of TV games, lack of highlights shows, etc. during my first couple of decades of paying attention to baseball.

ask Roseboro that question, 1965 seems to be more than 20 years ago.
   128. Ron Johnson Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:45 PM (#3290395)
Roseboro/Marichal happened specifically because Sandy Koufax wouldn't throw at anybody and Roseboro felt Marichal was due a brushback. So he buzzed Marichal with the throw back to the mound.

Which is why Marichal went after Roseboro.
   129. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:46 PM (#3290398)
Well in theory, but not in practice. For it to actually 'be' aikido Porcello shouldn't have planted his leg and then pulled with his arms upper body and fallen backwards. That's more of a wrestling approach. An aikidoist would actually either step back or move in slightly to pivot and turn his hips while redirecting Youks with less arm strength.

You definitely know more about it than I do, but I was mostly saying that using the other guy's momentum against him is an Aikido principle.
   130. Swedish Chef Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:50 PM (#3290404)
Having been in that situation the clear answer is that the other players shouldn't break up the fight. If the other players hadn't arrived I would have put that guy in the hospital and he never would have done it again.

As a bonus you would have had plenty of time to read Nietzche in jail.
   131. JMPH Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:55 PM (#3290411)
I do think Porcello is telling the truth when he says he hit Hobobeard McCranium by accident.

I agree. I thought the most telling thing was when they showed a replay (I think it was on NESN--I was watching on MLB.TV) from behind home plate and you can see Porcello's immediate reaction after the ball hit Youkilis. He looked pretty frustrated with himself and looked away from Youkilis. If he'd done it on purpose, I don't think he'd have done either of those things. He would have been ready for what was coming.

Also, I couldn't tell for sure, but the pitch looked like a breaking ball that got away. Why would Porcello hit Youkilis with a breaking ball?
   132. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 12, 2009 at 06:05 PM (#3290428)
Also, I couldn't tell for sure, but the pitch looked like a breaking ball that got away. Why would Porcello hit Youkilis with a breaking ball?

On the NESN slow-mo replay, the pitch looked like a fastball. Tough to tell of course if the pitch really did slip, but certainly that's the way it appeared after a couple of replays. Breaking balls that get away often sail way over the batter's head, or they don't break enough to get into the zone and out of the batter's box. This pitch didn't look like either of those cases.

EDIT: Dammit, the clip is not loading on the redsox.com website. I was hoping that there would be a radar gun reading on the pitch.
   133. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: August 12, 2009 at 06:05 PM (#3290430)
ask Roseboro that question, 1965 seems to be more than 20 years ago.


Wheeling around & clubbing the catcher, a few inches away, with your bat is not quite the same as charging a mound 60 feet away, IMHO.

As always, YMMV.
   134. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 12, 2009 at 06:09 PM (#3290439)
Two things, only tangentially related:

I think Youkilis threw his helmet because that's what Tom Sizemore does in "Saving Private Ryan."

My favorite reaction to an HBP has to be in the famous clip of Babe Ruth getting hit, then trotting down to first while flicking at his arm and mouthing off at the pitcher: "Seriously, is that all you got?" or something similar.
   135. JMPH Posted: August 12, 2009 at 06:10 PM (#3290440)
On the NESN slow-mo replay, the pitch looked like a fastball. Tough to tell of course if the pitch really did slip, but certainly that's the way it appeared after a couple of replays. Breaking balls that get away often sail way over the batter's head, or they don't break enough to get into the zone and out of the batter's box. This pitch didn't look like either of those cases.

Okay, cool. I'll admit to being horrible at identifying pitches, so thanks for clearing this up.
   136. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 12, 2009 at 06:17 PM (#3290452)
Okay, cool. I'll admit to being horrible at identifying pitches, so thanks for clearing this up.

Replay is up and I just watched it a couple of times. Real tough to tell; the pitch didn't register a radar gun reading, but just going by eye appeared to be a fastball based on velocity. It did tail towards the end a bit though.

And your observation about Porcello's reaction is correct based on the replay: he looked away for a second as if he was disgusted with himself. Interestingly, on the pitch that buzzed Martinez, he did NOT do this, but rather stared in at Martinez after the pitch went by. So maybe intent was there, but on a different batter? I dunno.
   137. JMPH Posted: August 12, 2009 at 06:27 PM (#3290465)
So maybe intent was there, but on a different batter? I dunno.

I think that's a fair assessment. I think he got a raw deal getting tossed from the game, but, as a Twins fan, I'm all for the Tigers' bullpen being overworked. It's easier than beating Kansas City, apparently.
   138. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 12, 2009 at 07:11 PM (#3290564)
Willie Wilson football-blocking Ken Schrom from behind and folding him into an acute angle (1987) is still the gold standard of batter-on-pitcher devastation.
   139. dave h Posted: August 12, 2009 at 07:40 PM (#3290622)
My favorite is Lieberthal's tackle from behind from 2003 or so. Don't remember the details.
   140. SuperGrover Posted: August 12, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3290646)
Somebody actually tried to tell me that Guillen's slide into Pedroia was legit, using the (imagined) commentary of Boston's announcers (Orsillo and Eck) as evidence. Never mind that what actually happened is that Eck quoted the rule that says the runner has to be able to reach and maintain the base on a takeout slide. Replay shows that even if Guillen could have touched second base (a fact that is very much in doubt), he would have slid right through it and past it. I'm sure that played into the brawl as well.


What rule is that again? According to rule 7.09 (f) and (g):

(f) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.

(g) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a batter-runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball, with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead; the umpire shall call the batter-runner out for interference and shall also call out the runner who had advanced closest to the home plate regardless where the double play might have been possible. In no event shall bases be run because of such interference.

Source: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/07_the_runner.pdf

I see no place in the rule book where it mentions a runne rmust be able to reach and maintain second base. Seems to me Eck is full of it.
   141. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:17 PM (#3290684)
Youkilis and Porcello both get 5 games. Youkilis is not appealing the suspension and will begin it tonight.
   142. JMPH Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:24 PM (#3290702)
The AP story has both players appealing. Where'd you see that about Youkilis?
   143. Gaelan Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:25 PM (#3290705)
Youkilis and Porcello both get 5 games. Youkilis is not appealing the suspension and will begin it tonight.


Now I know that a 5 game suspension for a starting pitcher is basically meaningless but why should he be suspended at all. He shouldn't even have been thrown out of the game.

The intentional HBP should be an allowed and recognized part of the pitchers arsenal.
   144. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:28 PM (#3290710)
MLB.com has Youkilis dropping his appeal. #### AP.

MLB.com represent!
   145. RJ in TO Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:29 PM (#3290711)
The AP story has both players appealing.


There is absolutely nothing appealing about Youkilis.
   146. JMPH Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:30 PM (#3290715)
I think 5 games for Porcello is ridiculous, especially when you consider that he already essentially missed a start by being ejected in the second inning of the game.
   147. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:35 PM (#3290723)
Bob Watson must have determined that the pitch(es) towards Martinez and/or Youkilis were intentional.
   148. JMPH Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:40 PM (#3290730)
The part that bugs me is that Porcello wouldn't have gotten 5 games if Youk hadn't charged him, whether or not Watson determined the pitches were intentional. He might have gotten fined, but that's all.
   149. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:45 PM (#3290735)
uhghghgh, Melky!??!
   150. An Athletic in Powderhorn Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:59 PM (#3290753)
This is an old story, but I've always liked Spaceman Lee's description in The Wrong Stuff of his donnybrook in Puerto Rico.

"I was pitching winter ball for Mayaguez and was the starting pitcher on a Sunday afternoon that saw us hosting Caguas, a bitter rival from a neighboring town. Eliseo Rodriguez, a major-leaguer with the Milwaukee Brewers, was the Caguas catcher.
...It was a slider that got away from me in the seventh inning that brought us together. Rodriguez was hanging over the plate, guessing sinker. When the ball ran in on him, he was unable to get out of the way, and it clipped him on the elbow. Stepping out of the batter's box, Ellie rubbed his arm and started yelling at me in Spanish. I didn't comprehend a word of it, so I just shrugged, hoping he understood the hit wasn't intentional. I don't think he got the message. Dropping his bat, he took two steps toward first, turned, and charged toward me on the mound. I had an immediate understanding that he was not coming out to tell me what great stuff I had that day. Especially since his entire team had emptied the dugout and was following behind him. I felt like Davey Crockett at the Alamo. As Rodriguez reached the mound he lunged at me. Stepping to one side, I set myself and caught him with a quick left lead, laying him out on the mound.
...The next day, the headlines read MAYAGUEZ LOSES, BUT LEE TKO'S RODRIGUEZ IN THE SEVENTH. That was embarrassing for Ellie, who was a former Light Heavyweight Golden Gloves champion of Puerto Rico."
   151. JMPH Posted: August 12, 2009 at 09:21 PM (#3290774)
This is an old story, but I've always liked Spaceman Lee's description in The Wrong Stuff of his donnybrook in Puerto Rico.

New to me. I enjoyed it, thanks for posting it.
   152. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 12, 2009 at 09:22 PM (#3290776)
I think it's completely stupid for a pitcher to ever throw at a batter, but that's just me.
   153. dave h Posted: August 12, 2009 at 09:26 PM (#3290782)
The intentional HBP should be an allowed and recognized part of the pitchers arsenal.


Fortunately MLB disagrees with you.
   154. esseff Posted: August 12, 2009 at 09:41 PM (#3290808)
A five-game suspension for an SP seems like more of a punishment for the team than the player.
   155. Mister High Standards Posted: August 12, 2009 at 09:44 PM (#3290813)
Suspensions are unpaid.
   156. esseff Posted: August 12, 2009 at 09:48 PM (#3290819)
Last I knew, MLB suspensions were with pay, except for the drug program.
   157. Surreality Posted: August 12, 2009 at 09:57 PM (#3290827)
I think Youk had every right to do what he did. He had got drilled the day before and V-Mart had got drilled the inning before and then on the 1st pitch he gets drilled with a high pitch. It was pretty blatantly intentional.

I would've done the same thing if I was him!


Seems unfair that Porcello only has to miss one actual game (and not really even that since he can just start a day or two later than he would have before) while Youk has to miss 5 actual games just for basically defending himself and his team mates.

I don't mind if a guy is just pitching inside and hits someone by accident but hate it when huys are actually throwing at people and trying to hit them. I think if the umpire thinks a starting pitcher is doing it deliberately he should be suspended 25 games (5 starts). That would make them think twice.

Some of you guys think this is cool and funny until someone gets hit in the head and their career ended by it.

Like Dickie Thon
   158. Gaelan Posted: August 12, 2009 at 09:58 PM (#3290829)
Fortunately MLB disagrees with you.


Why? There is no reason to disallow and plenty of reasons to allow it. This is elementary.
   159. Gaelan Posted: August 12, 2009 at 10:03 PM (#3290834)

Some of you guys think this is cool and funny until someone gets hit in the head and their career ended by it.


Career ending injuries are part of all sports. Once you outlaw the HBP you outlaw pitching inside as well since the difference is only a matter of control.

Considering the efficacy of diving out over the plate as a matter of strategy for the hitter the game needs to have an allowed counterstrategy. Once again this is elementary.
   160. Harold Reynolds Number Posted: August 12, 2009 at 10:12 PM (#3290848)
Why? There is no reason to disallow and plenty of reasons to allow it. This is elementary.


It was an intentional HBP. Incidental HBP's are part of the game. Intentional HBP's are a serious death/injury risk to highly paid, highly valued employees of the MLB enterprise.

If it hadn't been blindingly obvious that Porcello was throwing at Youkilis, and that Porcello had been throwing at Martinez in the previous inning, he wouldn't have been suspended. 5 games (reduced to 4 on appeal no doubt) isn't a real suspension for a SP anyway.
   161. An Athletic in Powderhorn Posted: August 12, 2009 at 10:13 PM (#3290847)
New to me. I enjoyed it, thanks for posting it."


De nada. Naturally, that story made me look up Ellie Rodriguez. Played from '68-'76. I know nothing about his defense, but for a few years, he was quite the hitter for a catcher. Couldn't take a hit, though.
   162. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 12, 2009 at 10:13 PM (#3290851)
Once you outlaw the HBP you outlaw pitching inside as well since the difference is only a matter of control.

This is a strawman - no one is saying outlaw HBP, but they are saying that the practice of throwing at people on purpose to "make a point" or retaliate is a bad thing. Throwing inside to establish yourself there or set up another pitch and missing is certainly part of the game, and you'll find no good argument against this. Throwing at someone on purpose, however, is not the same thing, and whether you or I agree with it or not, a valid argument can be made against it, for the reasons already put forth on this thread.

Edit: seems I owe a HRN a carbonated soft drink.
   163. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 12, 2009 at 10:16 PM (#3290855)
Unsurprisingly, Gaelan is taking some ridiculously extreme viewpoint.
   164. Gaelan Posted: August 12, 2009 at 10:30 PM (#3290868)
The problem is that it is not at all obvious that Porcello was throwing at Youkilis. It's a judgement call and the problem is that the judgement always goes against the pitcher. Just the other day Ramirez was thrown out of the Yankees Red Sox game for no reason. That potentially had a huge effect on the game because the umpire was given the power of capricious judgement.


If it hadn't been blindingly obvious that Porcello was throwing at Youkilis, and that Porcello had been throwing at Martinez in the previous inning, he wouldn't have been suspended. 5 games (reduced to 4 on appeal no doubt) isn't a real suspension for a SP anyway.


This is totally false. Punishment has nothing to do with justice in these cases. The pitcher is always suspended when the batter charges the mound. There is no evidence that MLB makes any effort to discern intent.
   165. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 12, 2009 at 10:46 PM (#3290884)
The problem is that it is not at all obvious that Porcello was throwing at Youkilis

Most of us disagree. The happenings of the past beanings within a small time frame, plus the fact that it wasn't just high and tight, he nailed him right in the back...it was blatantly obvious. However, I don't think Youk should've charged the mound either, though it might just turn out to be one of the motivational things that gets the club really going for the run to the playoffs.
   166. Backlasher Posted: August 12, 2009 at 10:59 PM (#3290902)
This is totally false. Punishment has nothing to do with justice in these cases. The pitcher is always suspended when the batter charges the mound. There is no evidence that MLB makes any effort to discern intent.

This statement is true, and does have an impact on the game. Once the situation between teams has escalated to a certain point, a pitcher is powerless to pitch inside. Any HBP is likely to lead to an ejection, and any aggressive position taken by the other team is going to lead to a suspension for the hitter.

I am not for intentional HBP; I do think they should be met with discipline by MLB. TO that extent, I disagree with Gaelen.

But his other point, namely, how MLB makes a poor showing of evaluating intent or meting justice is sound. I agree with his example. I'm not sure why RamRam's HBP merited an ejection. With Procello, I can see surrounding circumstances that might lead to a conclusion of intent. (I am a Braves fan, so I don't think its Sox bias, unless that is just coming through from watching the telecasts).
   167. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: August 12, 2009 at 11:23 PM (#3290926)
The happenings of the past beanings within a small time frame, plus the fact that it wasn't just high and tight, he nailed him right in the back...it was blatantly obvious

I'm still not sure it was. The pitch at Martinez was, but based on Porcello's reaction I think Youk was unintentional. He may have been trying to throw up and in, but the way he looked away it seemed like he was disgusted at himself, not the other team.
   168. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 12, 2009 at 11:42 PM (#3290946)
Gaelan, I also agree with your other point, a la BL. Why didn't you just say that in the first place?
   169. Lassus Posted: August 13, 2009 at 12:10 AM (#3290988)
That potentially had a huge effect on the game because the umpire was given the power of capricious judgment.

Better him than you, Gaelan.

Also, he was given the power of capricious judgment? He isn't one of the Wonder Twins. He may have capricious judgment, but it isn't something you can be given by someone else. His power is judgment, period. That's his job.
   170. Gaelan Posted: August 13, 2009 at 12:30 AM (#3291020)
Also, he was given the power of capricious judgment? He isn't one of the Wonder Twins. He may have capricious judgment, but it isn't something you can be given by someone else. His power is judgment, period. That's his job.


What is capricious is the power to use his mindreading abilities to decide when a pitcher is throwing at a hitter. There is a clear difference between making a judgement between a strike and a ball and the case where the umpire goes out of his way looking to throw someone out of the game.

Pitchers are thrown out of games all the time for no reason at all. And the warning nonsense is no better since that effects the game just as much if not more. The game would be much better off if we just accepted that HBP were part of the game and moved on. The reason hitters charge the mound more now is because they've been taught that being hit by a pitch is not acceptable. The ironic result is that in the effort to make the game safer the game is in fact more dangerous.
   171. Gaelan Posted: August 13, 2009 at 12:34 AM (#3291028)
Gaelan, I also agree with your other point, a la BL. Why didn't you just say that in the first place?


Because unrelated to that point I also think there is a place for retaliation and message sending.
   172. Danny Posted: August 13, 2009 at 12:38 AM (#3291040)
Those of us in the scouts’ seats had the same reaction.”

Hey, did you guys hear that Keith Law is a scout, and not just a stat guy?
   173. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: August 13, 2009 at 12:40 AM (#3291042)
Yeah, the Yankees have such real tough guys, like Joba throwing at batters heads and pumping his fist like a polio chimp after every strikeout. Or a few years ago Sheffield taking a swing at a fan in RF. Please.

We'll just chalk this one up to "my organization's awesome, and yours sucks" and move on.


One quibble with this, Smiling Joe: Sheff did not take a swing at the fan. The fan hit Sheff.

Other than that, carry on, but please, stop feeding that filthy troll, Yankee Redneck. What a ####### maroon.

edit...Do you know how I can tell how the Red Sox are just another team in the league, no more liked or disliked by any other teams? Infielders always exchange pleasantries with baserunners during their games, just like during any other teams' games. If the rest of the league agreed with stupid moron troll YR, you wouldn't see opposing players yucking it up with Youkilis when they reach 1B.
   174. Ron Johnson Posted: August 13, 2009 at 01:06 AM (#3291101)
The intentional HBP should be an allowed and recognized part of the pitchers arsenal.


Words fail me. Seriously, anybody who truly believes this has something seriously wrong with them.

And anybody who believes that it's OK to throw at batters but sees steroids as some kind of evil has their priorities seriously out of balance.
   175. Ron Johnson Posted: August 13, 2009 at 01:18 AM (#3291117)
Career ending injuries are part of all sports.


But there's no reason to make them more common.

And here's a thought for you. Stipulating that it's actually effective to throw at a batter rather a gesture of petulance -- why shouldn't the batter escalate? Go Cowens on the pitcher but take his bat with him. I flat guarantee this would happen.

Hell, why not take bring a handgun with him. Or take hostages.

We know where your notion will lead. It's the way the game was played in the 1890s. Thankfully Ban Johnson and the Sporting News (and others) prevailed. We don't need regular riots and beanball wars.
   176. An Athletic in Powderhorn Posted: August 13, 2009 at 01:23 AM (#3291123)
One quibble with this, Smiling Joe: Sheff did not take a swing at the fan. The fan hit Sheff."


The fan hit Sheff. Then Sheff shoved his glove into the fan's face, which was hard to describe. It was somewhere between a shove and a punch, closer to a shove. He didn't pull a Ty Cobb, he didn't forget about the baserunner. The only egregious act was by the fan, not that you were saying otherwise.

Other than that, carry on, but please, stop feeding that filthy troll, Yankee Redneck. What a ####### maroon."


Ok, #56 is 100% Grade A trolling, but Yankee Redneck isn't a troll. Sure, you won't find them in this thread, but he does often make intelligent, well-reasoned posts.
   177. Harold Reynolds Number Posted: August 13, 2009 at 01:36 AM (#3291140)

This is totally false. Punishment has nothing to do with justice in these cases. The pitcher is always suspended when the batter charges the mound. There is no evidence that MLB makes any effort to discern intent.


I don't believe this is the case. For example, I don't believe Ryan Rupe was suspended after Trot Nixon was suspended for his post-HBP antics 5-6 years ago (A while ago and insignificant, so my memory is fuzzy). I don't believe there's a comprehensive database for suspensions, but if you know of one please let me know.

One major problem with MLB's "justice" system is that it seems to only react to altercations. It's just about impossible for a pitcher to be suspended without some sort of on-field altercation/delay, but an on-field altercation/delay arising from a HBP does not always lead to the pitcher being suspended. Padilla was waived then released by the Rangers for intentionally hitting batters this season, but the league office never investigated him.

Umpires also need to start ejecting the first pitcher who throws a ball with intent to hit a batter, rather than letting the other team drill one guy intentionally before issuing a warning. The current state of affairs is barbaric and will get someone killed, fancy new helmets or no.

If MLB were better about policing its pitchers I doubt we'd ever see these HBP-sparked altercations. Pitchers also wouldn't feel the need to "protect" their teammates by engaging in ### for tat HBP exchanges.
   178. Gaelan Posted: August 13, 2009 at 01:52 AM (#3291153)
If MLB were better about policing its pitchers I doubt we'd ever see these HBP-sparked altercations.


I can't imagine a world in which pitchers were punished more than they are now. As it is pitchers are thrown out of games all the time for situations in which there was no clear intent.


Words fail me. Seriously, anybody who truly believes this has something seriously wrong with them.


I guess I don't see it as that dangerous or that common. I don't see how you can be fine with brushing a guy off the plate but not ok with him getting hit. The two events go hand in hand. Now obviously there are limits but in the pendulum of things right now the hitter is completely secure and owns both sides of the plate and then on the rare occasion he gets hit has the temerity to be upset about it. I'd gladly trade more hit batters if it would limit opposite field homeruns.

This isn't about intentionally injuring players its about restoring balance to the game and if someone like Padilla gets out of control players policing their own is both effective and just.
   179. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2009 at 02:01 AM (#3291159)
The reason hitters charge the mound more now

Point of fact: They don't. The only difference between now and then is instant visual publicity.
   180. Ron Johnson Posted: August 13, 2009 at 03:57 AM (#3291221)
Point of fact: They don't. The only difference between now and then is instant visual publicity.


It'd make for a much more meaningful discussion if you agree on what time frames you're talking about. I agree that it's happened with broadly similar frequency for the past 2 1/2 or so decades -- through a variety of disciplinary policies.
   181. baric Posted: August 13, 2009 at 04:09 AM (#3291225)
that's the other thing i never understood about retaliation pitches. why are they always 90+ mph fastballs?


I remember when Darryl Kile would presumably be told to hit a batter. He clearly didn't like to do it, so he always slopped a slow, fat curve right at their back. You could see the batter instinctively turn away and then seemingly wait and wait for the pitch to finally get to him, lol.

It was very obvious because none of his normal pitches were thrown that slowly.
   182. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2009 at 04:23 AM (#3291229)
I don't see how you can be fine with brushing a guy off the plate but not ok with him getting hit.


In one case you're not trying to hit him. In the other case you are.

See the difference?

Agree with Ron's point, fully. The position "steroid use is Evil but pitchers should be allowed to intentionally hit batters" is lunacy.
   183. tjm1 Posted: August 13, 2009 at 08:56 AM (#3291295)
I remember when Darryl Kile would presumably be told to hit a batter. He clearly didn't like to do it, so he always slopped a slow, fat curve right at their back. You could see the batter instinctively turn away and then seemingly wait and wait for the pitch to finally get to him, lol.


Maybe I'm a weakling, but having been hit by 65 mph fastballs in low level amateur games, I'd have to say that those hurt enough that I wouldn't like to know what it feels like to get hit by a big league fastball.

I'd gladly trade more hit batters if it would limit opposite field homeruns.


Check out the numbers of HBP per game over time:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/bat.shtml
http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/bat.shtml

The level the last ten years or so is about twice the historical average, and about 3 times what it was in the 1940's. It hasn't been this high since the dead ball era. For the record, I do agree with your point that pitchers need to be able to pitch either inside or outside to be effective, and that if they can't pitch inside because of the body armor and the rules about throwing at people being enforced even when they weren't throwing at someone, then they won't be able to pitch outside either, because guys will hang over the plate. I'm just not sure that more HBPs will get the job done, since we're already getting more HBPs than we've had in a long time.
   184. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2009 at 10:49 AM (#3291302)
The reason hitters charge the mound more now


Point of fact: They don't. The only difference between now and then is instant visual publicity.

It'd make for a much more meaningful discussion if you agree on what time frames you're talking about. I agree that it's happened with broadly similar frequency for the past 2 1/2 or so decades -- through a variety of disciplinary policies.


Fair point, but I was actually thinking back into the 1950's and 60's, when beanball brawls were also a fairly common occurrence. Some of the more legendary examples involved Joe Adcock's chasing Ruben Gomez clear across the field at County Stadium after he'd been conked, and of course the even more famous incident between Juan Marichal and John Roseboro, which wound up with Marichal slamming Roseboro with a bat.

And then you also had a form of delayed beanball brawl that took place when a batter seeking revenge didn't charge the mound immediately, but instead waited until his next at bat, dragged a bunt down the first base line, and slammed into the pitcher who was covering first. Jackie Robinson, one of baseball's best bunters, used this plenty of times, most notably against Sal Maglie. This doesn't happen much today, probably in part because so few hitters have mastered the art of bunting.

Back then the equation was slightly different from today. The batters didn't lean over the plate as much, but OTOH pitchers were less reluctant to brush back hitters, so the overall result wasn't all that different. And human nature being what it is, you wound up brawls all the same.
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