Everyone has opinion on bean balls
PITTSBURGH – It seems like everyone has an opinion on the dust-up between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks, and a Hall of Fame member offered his view.
Tony LaRussa, Hall of Fame Class of 2014, checked in on the issue last week.
Understand that he’s not a passive observer.
LaRussa, now a front office honcho with the Diamondbacks, didn’t see anything wrong with McCutchen getting hit. That’s no surprise.
During a managerial career that spanned three teams and 33 years, he promoted more fights than Don King.
(Worth noting: LaRussa was never hit by a pitch in his 203 major league plate appearances). LaRussa was always outraged when one of his players was hit, perpetually indignant if anyone questioned his right to get even.
There’s a lot on both sides of the debate that doesn’t make much sense.
Supposedly the Diamondbacks violated an unwritten code by failing to hit McCutchen on his first plate appearance. Then Delgado was accused of further trashing protocol by not drilling McCutchen with his first pitch.
So it’s OK to bruise a guy as long as he’s certain it’s coming?
If the circumstances had been reversed, the Pirates would have undoubtedly been livid that McCutchen was dealt a season-ending injury by a nobody’s careless inside pitch, regardless of intent. And there’s no doubt that some obscure relief pitcher who extracted pointless revenge on a Diamondbacks star would win some points in his own clubhouse.
Baseball players have been aiming pitches at each other for more than a hundred years. Intimidation is part of the game. So is claiming the inside part of the plate so hitters can’t dig in and cover more of the strike zone. Sports have always operated on an eye-for-an-eye system. Zach Duke is still vilified, not for his 45-70 record with the Pirates, but for his failure to respond and protect a teammate once.
MLB’s inaction, beyond Delgado’s immediate ejection, is an indication that the people in charge didn’t think it was that big a deal.
People throw baseballs at each other sometimes, reality that’s little consolation to someone wearing the imprint of a pitch.
South Florida police should be on alert every July 25. That’s when the Pouncey twins, the Steelers’ Maurkice and Mike of the Miami Dolphins, celebrate their birthday.
Things tend to get a bit spirited, which is why there are reports Maurkice may be facing charges stemming from an incident at this year’s party.
The Pounceys are 25 now, so perhaps it’s time to tone down the celebration. Maybe stay home and get pizza delivered?
John Mehno can be reached at email@example.com.