While watching the Monday Night Baseball game between the Red Sox and the Rays with my dad, a benches clearing brawl (for lack of a better word) occurred after Red Sox pitcher John Lackey threw a fastball right between the numbers of Rays hitter Matt Joyce, who had homered his previous at-bat. It was at this time that a stream of consciousness came running through my head.
Now in hockey, when two guys drop the gloves, everyone knows they certainly mean it. I don’t even want to know what goes on in the pile during a scrum for a loose football in the NFL. Even in the NBA, about once a year or so, you actually see significant violence take place (flopping discussion for another day). However, in baseball, what ultimately gets accomplished? It’s a glorified pushing match, and more often than not, the hitter and the pitcher have 3-4 players between them before anything resembling a punch can be thrown. The benches clear, followed by the bullpens, which is a ridiculous conversation in its own right, and ends up being a waste of time in an already slow-paced game. Simply put, it’s just an all-around bad look for baseball, a sport which constantly gets knocked for being soft.
Just ask Zack Greinke who got injured trying to defend himself after hitting Carlos Quentin during a game in the beginning of the season that didn’t even matter because let’s face it, the Padres were involved. Before that, nothing that significant has happened when a batter charged the mound since Pedro Martinez knocked over Don Zimmer in ’03.
Now I’m all for backing up your teammates and protecting your guys, especially in a sport where you spend over half of the year together as a unit, but I think as long as charging the mound is permitted, they should just let the two guys duke it out like men. I mean, what better way is there to teach a guy not to throw at you again than taking him out of the game because he can’t stand up? Same thing goes from a pitchers perspective since I most certainly would not charge a guy like C.C. Sabathia, who could probably throw me back to the dugout from which I came. The shoving matches don’t accomplish anything for anybody, except make me want to change the channel.
Lost in all of these thoughts was the worst part of the whole thing, which is John Lackey. Who, after making quick work of 8 consecutive batters, nails Joyce and proceeds to mouth, “I didn’t do that [expletive] on purpose!” Really? So that one just slipped away from you, and it just so happens that you waited to get back around to the guy in the lineup who just took you yard. At least man up to what you explicitly did and don’t wait until your third baseman comes and restrains you before you start acting like a tough guy.