Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Thrown for a loop

Well, at least the fans redeemed themselves.

Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, not so much.

For the second time this week an arm wearing Boston colors threw at Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles, and here we go again with another episode of Things The Blob Does Not Understand. In this case, all those unwritten baseball rules.

The Blob thinks they're a load of extremely fragrant horse manure.

The Blob thinks if they were actually rules, they'd be written down somewhere, but since they're not no one should be obliged to follow them. In this particular case, it's the unwritten rule that pitchers should be duty-bound to retaliate  for the bad acts of an opponent.

This is not just singularly stupid. It's potentially tragic.

Yes, Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base a few days ago, and Pedroia came up injured. Boston reliever Matt Barnes then retaliated by throwing a fastball behind Machado's head. Then Sale threw a 98-mph heater at his knees last night.

This prompted a fusillade of f-bombs from Machado afterward, as well it should have. He wondered why a pitcher can throw projectiles at a man's head and get a relatively light sentence for it -- Barnes got only a four-game sitdown, even though Pedroia himself was appalled by what he did -- while he, Machado, would no doubt get sentenced to baseball life if he went after a pitcher with his bat.

Not a bad observation. I've often wondered why, when a pitcher throws behind a batter's head, the batter never retaliates by throwing his bat at him. I've concluded this is because one is completely outside the bounds of baseball etiquette, and the other isn't. The question for me is why.

 Because, listen, if throwing your bat is heinous, so is throwing 98-mph gas at a guy's head. The potential for tragedy seems equal. Ask the descendants of Ray Chapman, killed by a Carl Mays beanball back in 1920. Ask the descendants of Tony Conigliaro, whose career was ended by a Jack Hamilton beanball.

 Yet you can throw a baseball at a guy's head and get what amounts to a slap on the wrist, because the unwritten rules regard it as simply part of the game. Throwing a bat, on the other hand, might actually land you in jail for assault.

Sorry. But I'm with Machado. I don't see the difference.

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