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  • MLB Beanballs

    Marlins pitcher José Ureña began Wednesday night's game against the Braves by plunking Atlanta phenom Ronald Acuna square on the elbow with a 97.5 MPH first-pitch. The HBP came for no apparent reason other than that Acuna had absolutely eaten the Marlins' lunch throughout the series to that point, going 8-13 with 4 HRs (including 3 of those to lead off the game), 9 RBI, 2 walks and 7 runs in the first 3 games. Benches cleared and no punches were thrown. The pitch that hit Acuna was in the 99th percentile of the 2,000+ pitches Urena had thrown to that point in the season, furthering the notion that it was intentional.

    Naturally, baseball analysts are calling for MLB to make an example out of Urena with a harsher punishment than usual, the premise being that what typically gets doled out has not been sufficient to deter the behavior

    NBC Sports' Bill Baer: A 15-game suspension, for example, would force Ureña to miss at least two starts and it would inconvenience the Marlins enough to more seriously weigh the pros and cons of exacting revenge. The Marlins couldn’t work around it the way they did Straily by pushing back his scheduled start one day.

    Major League Baseball also needs to make a legitimate effort to do away with this culture of revenge against players who are just a little bit too happy. Batters get thrown at when they flip their bats, when they yell at themselves in frustration, and even when they’re just hitting well. Baseball’s stagnating audience is very old, very white, and very male. It is not going to bring in fans from diverse backgrounds by keeping this antiquated culture that prevents baseball players from showing their personalities and being emotive. In the event Acuña needs to go on the disabled list for a couple weeks, that’s two weeks that Acuña isn’t on SportsCenter’s top-10, isn’t on the front page of MLB.com, and isn’t in articles like this. The culture of revenge is actively harming MLB’s ability to market its bright, young stars. If ending this culture of revenge doesn’t hit MLB from a moral angle, it should absolutely hit home from a business angle.


    Baer's colleage, Craig Calcaterra: Baseball needs to make a major example of Urena and the Marlins for this. Not just for basic, perfectly sufficient “it is wrong to throw a ball nearly 100 m.p.h. at someone with the intention of hitting them” reasons. Also for “it is an awful look for the game in general when a pitcher for a losing team that has made a mockery of the notion of entertaining and competitive baseball via its complete disinterest in putting a real roster together because it places more value on debt service and cash flow than it does wining to intentionally injure one of the game’s most exciting young talents and, potentially, alter the course of a pennant race, simply because that exciting young talent is playing very good baseball lately.”

    Yahoo's Jeff Passan: MLB’s punishment for intentional hit-by-pitches is anemic and inadequate. Last year, when Boston reliever Matt Barnes buzzed Manny Machado with an up-and-in pitch, he received a four-game suspension. Similar incidents typically get five games. For a starting pitcher, they might miss a start – or just get an extra day’s rest between starts. It’s a penalty that doesn’t penalize.

    While it’s true that players aren’t inclined to increase the length of suspensions – both because it alters precedent and could give MLB an argument to implement longer suspensions in other areas – the league can’t seriously believe players’ attempts to police themselves will end well when that police handbook includes a how-to manual on getting angry at bunting during no-hitters and stealing bases during blowouts. If one were to try and sum up the unwritten rulebook in one sentence, it would be: U MAD BRO?

    Relations between the league and players are bad already, and if players are that willing to potentially sideline one of the best stories in the game right now, MLB would be well within its rights to drop a 20-game suspension on Ureña and let the union challenge it. Which it would, even though Acuña, the plunkee, and also a union member, was the one harmed. It’s a dangerous position for the union when it allows MLB to ask: Why are the fortunes of a pitcher who made an obviously terrible decision more important than those of the hitter he intentionally tried to hit and injured?


    So what should MLB do?
    Last edited by NoPantsChico; 08-16-18, 07:17 AM.

  • #2
    As a baseball extreme casual (only watch playoff baseball and only root for Roys and Giants), this interests me

    It appears typical that these things are handled on a case by case basis, but the same punishment is generally given...as Passan mentioned, retroactively applying "new rules" to this kind of thing seems like it's just gonna create a conversation between the league and the union

    all of that is to say, I don't know what the right answer is, I just hope this thread gets some attention/discussion, cause, as mentioned, I'd be interested to hear what people think

    Comment


    • #3
      So the discussion will continue: Award 2 bases for a HBP; 3 after a warning? This would be a deterrent. However, then you'd likely have a "failure to avoid" problem, the consequences of which would then require some definitive criteria. I am really not sure what to do, but I agree that something needs to be done, particularly in this day and age.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Joe Norris View Post
        As a baseball extreme casual (only watch playoff baseball and only root for Roys and Giants), this interests me

        It appears typical that these things are handled on a case by case basis, but the same punishment is generally given...as Passan mentioned, retroactively applying "new rules" to this kind of thing seems like it's just gonna create a conversation between the league and the union

        all of that is to say, I don't know what the right answer is, I just hope this thread gets some attention/discussion, cause, as mentioned, I'd be interested to hear what people think
        It looks like most of the commentariat is on the same side, but Keith Hernandez, who starred for the Mets in the 80's and is now a play-by-play commentator for them, had this to say on the air while the Mets-Orioles game he was calling was in blowout mode:

        "He's killing the ball the last three games, he's hit three home runs," Hernandez said. "You gotta hit him." Hernandez went on to clarify that Acuña should either be hit or knocked down to send a message, but that no pitches should be thrown at "anybody's head or neck."

        To me, that goes back to the point about how silly it is that that is the culture for no other reason than "that's how it's always been," which even then doesn't pass the smell test as Passan notes in his take (I didn't include it in my excerpt, but it's in the link).

        Also, just to get ahead of it, the Marlins manager didn't take any responsibility or claim to have instructed his pitcher to bean Acuna, so all signs point to him doing it on his own.

        Comment


        • Joe Norris
          Joe Norris commented
          Editing a comment
          I've always known about pitchers taking care of their guys and giving retaliation plunks

          didn't know it was a thing to hit someone that was playing well

        • Hawker007
          Hawker007 commented
          Editing a comment
          Ya, that's bullshit. Just because a guy is whooping your ass, you don't try and hurt them. Total bush league. Get better or figure out a different strategy that gets him out. Maybe that includes throwing more inside, backing him off the plate a bit, but not drilling him.

      • #5
        And the punishment is in: A six-game suspension. Laaaaame.

        In theory, it's one turn through the rotation, but the team can easily mitigate it by starting him the day his suspension ends and pushing everyone else back a day.

        Comment


        • #6
          "The pitcher has to find out if the hitter is timid, and if he is timid, he has to remind the hitter he's timid." -- Don Drysdale

          "I hated to bat against Drysdale. After he hit you he'd come around, look at the bruise on your arm and say, 'Do you want me to sign it?'" -- Mickey Mantle

          Don Drysdale
          would consider an intentional walk a waste of three pitches. If he wants to put you on base, he can hit you with one pitch." -- Mike Shannon

          "Pitching is the art of instilling fear." -- Sandy Koufax

          Comment


          • NoPantsChico
            NoPantsChico commented
            Editing a comment
            Drysdale hit one batter every 158 he faced. Koufax hit one every 527. Urena hits one every 56; He has the equivalent of two full seasons under his belt and has already hit six more dudes than Koufax did over his entire career.

        • #7
          If batters are so angry about this sort of thing - and they definitely should be - why don't they address it within the union rather than having MLB do it?

          Comment


          • #8
            The romanticizing of all those old guys beaning dudes irks me. Just because it was done back "in the good old days" doesn't make it right. Black people couldn't play baseball back in those days either, and we've since decided that was wrong.

            You don't have to hit guys intentionally to put some fear in them. Guys are throwing harder than ever today, so I imagine when you step in against the Yordano Venturas of the world (RIP) who are wild and throw hard, guys are on their toes anyway.

            The 6 game suspension is weak. Since he's a SP, multiply it by 5 to get 30 games - that's what it should be.

            I'm also puzzled by Urena doing it. He's Dominican, those guys are usually okay with some showboating, bat flipping, etc. If it was some red-ass white American dude, it would make more sense. At least he's in the NL and knows he will have to go to the plate against the Braves again. It's substantially more chicken shit when AL guys do it.

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by ono View Post
              The romanticizing of all those old guys beaning dudes irks me. Just because it was done back "in the good old days" doesn't make it right. Black people couldn't play baseball back in those days either, and we've since decided that was wrong.

              You don't have to hit guys intentionally to put some fear in them. Guys are throwing harder than ever today, so I imagine when you step in against the Yordano Venturas of the world (RIP) who are wild and throw hard, guys are on their toes anyway.

              The 6 game suspension is weak. Since he's a SP, multiply it by 5 to get 30 games - that's what it should be.

              I'm also puzzled by Urena doing it. He's Dominican, those guys are usually okay with some showboating, bat flipping, etc. If it was some red-ass white American dude, it would make more sense. At least he's in the NL and knows he will have to go to the plate against the Braves again. It's substantially more chicken shit when AL guys do it.
              The weird thing is that Acuna has excelled at every level and never been rattled. IF the defense (however BS it may be) was that Urena was just trying to brush him back to make him feel uncomfortable, what made him think that it might work?

              Comment


              • #10
                Originally posted by ono View Post
                The romanticizing of all those old guys beaning dudes irks me. Just because it was done back "in the good old days" doesn't make it right. Black people couldn't play baseball back in those days either, and we've since decided that was wrong.
                I would love to see one of the old dudes posed this question, haha

                Comment


                • #11
                  Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some things that suck about baseball today, but they're mostly things that teams are incentivized to do because the math has proven it out and the talent market has made it easy to implement, even if it's at the expense of a more entertaining game. They could easily regain a chunk of the good will they've lost by tightening up replay, just to give one example.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Zack Greinke forever.

                    Comment

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