Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are aware of what happened this weekend in Pittsburgh between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Derek Dietrich hit a baseball into the river off of Chris Archer, and he admired his work. Apparently for a bit longer than Chris Archer liked.
What happened in his next at-bat was predictable, only in baseball. Chris Archer threw the ball at Derek Dietrich. He missed by a few inches and the ball went behind the Reds first baseman on the day. The umpire walked aggressively out from behind the plate and gave Archer a warning. That warning, however, enraged Cincinnati manager David Bell.
Bell stormed out of the dugout wondering how that didn’t result in an immediate ejection from the game was it’s very apparent that he was indeed throwing the baseball at his player. Things just got crazier from there as Joey Votto had to hold back Yasiel Puig from attacking several players on the Pirates squad. And then at another point poor Tucker Barnhart did his best to do the same, but came up short on the shoestring tackle at the plate of his teammate who was ultimately stopped from fighting all of the Pittsburgh organization.
In the end, several players and Reds manager David Bell were ejected from the game. Yasiel Puig and Amir Garrett were among the Cincinnati players who were asked to watch the rest of the game from the clubhouse. Somehow, in the what felt like 10-minute non-fight, no punches seemed to be thrown.
After the game the media wanted to talk with everyone. And that they did. Here’s a few clips from MLB.com from David Bell, Yasiel Puig, and Derek Dietrich from the clubhouse following the game.
It’s just completely unacceptable for anyone to intentionally try to hurt one of our players. It’s that simple. And it was obvious.
Those were the words of manager David Bell. And he’s right. Intentionally throwing a baseball at someone can, and does injure them. Yeah, sometimes it doesn’t and it’s just an “oh man, that hurt” situation and they shake it off and wear a bruise for a week. Other times Joey Votto takes a pitch off of the knee and isn’t the same the rest of the season.
I know it’s a part of the game. But, just lucky it didn’t hit me anywhere it could hurt me. The ball can do some damage. I’m just trying to do damage to the ball.
Those were the words of Derek Dietrich. And like Bell, he’s right. Mostly. The ball can do some damage, and he is lucky it didn’t hit him. And technically, he’s right, that it is a part of the game.
Amir Garrett, the Reds reliever who was ejected from the game, said this afterwards:
“Good thing punches weren’t thrown,” Garrett said. “I think it would be a bad day for them with me and Puig in there. It’s squashed. Just move forward from here. I don’t see anything going further from here.”
It’s squashed. Just move forward from here. I don’t see anything going further from here.
But let’s talk about the line from Derek Dietrich about how it’s a part of the game. And let’s talk about just how stupid it is that it’s a part of the game.
Why is it in baseball that you can’t enjoy the game a little bit without the other team literally trying to hurt you for doing so? That doesn’t happen in basketball. It doesn’t happen in football. It doesn’t happen in soccer. This is only something that happens in baseball. Show a little too much enjoyment over a play and get ready to eat a fastball. And it’s the dumbest thing in sports.
The Cincinnati Reds manager is saying the right things. Amir Garrett said the right thing. And now it’s time for them to be true to their words. Throwing a baseball at someone is something done out of anger. It’s the reaction of a child who didn’t get their way. Except these aren’t children. And they aren’t throwing the lego block at the ground and throwing a temper tantrum because there’s no more tv time. Throwing a baseball at someone can truly injure another person. And doing so should be completely unacceptable.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds face off again at the end of May when the Pirates open up a series with a day-night double header on the 27th. Given the words of David Bell, the words of Amir Garrett, the Reds should absolutely not retaliate and throw at a Pirates hitter. If for some reason the Pirates go crazy and throw at your player, go out to the mound and get after it. I certainly don’t condone fighting, either, but at least in that scenario one has the ability to defend themselves. Throwing a baseball at someone simply doesn’t leave time to react most of the time.
It will be interesting to follow along from May 27th through May 29th when the two teams match up four times. But from where I sit, if the Reds pitchers throw at a Pirates hitter – even if it’s Chris Archer – they are going to be called out by me for it. It’s a never ending cycle of stupid until someone decides to just stop doing it. Act like adults.
What is the national media saying?
Bill Baer writes for NBC Sports and he’s on board with Major League Baseball suspending Chris Archer and “making it count”.
MLB needs to suspend Archer — and make it count. Oftentimes, starters are suspended five or six games for stunts like Archer’s. It sounds like a hefty amount of games, but since starters only appear in one out of every five games, the punishment is effectively just a one-game suspension. Lately, it’s been more like a zero-game suspension since teams just reorder their rotations and let the starter pitch as soon as he is eligible. Which is why MLB needs to suspend Archer for a lot more than five or six games.
And he’s not wrong. Starting pitchers basically don’t miss a game at all when they are suspended for 5 or 6 games. If you start suspending them for two weeks, or more, then this kind of stuff will stop happening. At that point it actually hurts the game to do this and face suspension.