Dodgers-D’Backs Brawl Incited with One Extra Unnecessary Beanball
- Updated: June 12, 2013
We talk about the “old-school” a lot on this blog. Heck, we harken back to the days where it was “OK to throw inside.” So, this is not going to be a debate about unwritten baseball rules. We’re perfectly alright with how folks handle their guys getting hit. It may seem ridiculous to then apply “logic” to unwritten rules that so many view as bunk to begin with…but we will. Last night’s Dodgers-DBacks brawl was an example of defying logic. That’s what led to the benches clearing. It never should’ve happened. And Ian Kennedy should feel the brunt of the punishment.
You can check out the video below, but the facts and scene are pretty straigtforward. In the sixth inning, DBacks pitcher Ian Kennedy hit Cuban phenon Yasiel Puig in the face with an inside fastball. It happens. The ball got away from him. It was clearly not intentional. You don’t have to be a body language expert to decipher it.
That said, you hit one of the game’s hottest batters in the head. You could argue there should not have been any retaliation from Greinke. Or you could make a case that perhaps there should have been. Regardless, what happened next was what the Dodgers clearly viewed as retribution. Greinke hit DBacks catcher Miguel Montero to lead off the seventh. Square in the back. Referring again to those unwritten rules, Zack played it by the book. Keep it low. Make the statement. Move on.
That SHOULD have been it. Tit for tat. You hit our guy, we hit yours. Ian Kennedy must’ve decided otherwise. The interesting question is whether his team, and specifically manager Kirk Gibson, agreed with the strategy. What we do know is that Kennedy then took to the mound in the bottom of the seventh with Zack Greinke stepping in for his plate appearance. This is what purists like to reference. You hit somebody in the National League and be ready to stand in the box. I hear you. But, as mentioned, this beanball exchange should have been concluded.
Instead, Kennedy unleashed a 92 MPH fastball that struck Greinke (luckily) right in the earhole. Kennedy was promptly tossed. His reaction was as telling to intent as what followed his Puig pitch. In the former, he was pissed at letting one go and putting a man on. There was no intent. This go around, he knew he was gone and his immediate “acceptance” belied his intent.
And this is what I can’t stand…he then casually walked off the field. Now, should a starting pitcher stick around and risk injury by getting in the middle of a scrum? Logically, probably not (oh wait, did we start this post discussing logic…well, whatever). But it sure does seem a convenient little way out. Let me bean the opposing pitcher in the head and stroll off to let the aftermath of my poor decision play out. Here’s the video evidence.
There’s a whole lot more going on here. You could also give flack to Mattingly and a number of the professional coaches on both ends for getting too scrappy. However, I think it does reflect a general reaction to this one extra (unnecessary) beanball. It was over. Kennedy decided it wasn’t. Now, he’ll likely be sitting. How long will reveal a lot about how MLB viewed the whole incident.