I was driving home the other night and of course I was listening to the Giants on the radio. They were playing the Marlins and nothing special was going on. The night before, Miami beat the Giants after scoring three times in the top of the 9th. There were looks given between the Giants’ closer Hunter Strickland and Miami’s Lewis Brinson.
While I was driving, San Francisco pitcher Dereck Rodriguez plunked Brinson in the hip as payback for the night before. So, the following inning, Miami pitcher Dan Straley threw at the shoulder of San Francisco’s Buster Posey. Straley was quickly ejected from the game.
As I’m listening to this, I can’t help but think of the line I’ve heard so many times from baseball players, coaches and broadcasters.
“They got one of ours, so we’ll get one of theirs.”
Sports have so many unwritten rules and some of them are fascinating. While others, seem a bit archaic. Baseball is the worst. It seems like baseball has so many of these rules and if one of these rules gets broken, more often than not, someone is getting plunked.
Take for instance the home run. I never played America’s pastime at a higher level than Little League, but it’s been said that the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a baseball. So think about how difficult it is to not only hit a ball, but to do so just perfectly where the ball travels nearly 400 feet and clears the fence.
When you watch baseball and a guy blasts a home run, he drops his bat and jogs around the bases. But Heaven forbid he look at the ball for too long. Then he’s considered showboating and is showing up the pitcher.
Are you kidding me? If right now I was able to hit a ball out of the infield, I’d strut and woo like “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair (everyone under 25, go ahead and google who that is). So I couldn’t even imagine what I’d do if I hit a home run. But for whatever reason it’s a sin to watch the ball for too long.
What about when a pitcher gets excited when he strikes a guy out with the bases loaded late in the game with a one-run lead? If he shows any emotion, he’s now public enemy No. 1. I understand that it’s important to not go overboard, but just because players get excited doesn’t mean they are bad guys and there should be repercussions.
So when things like this happen, what’s the simple answer? Hit someone with the ball. I love when the pitcher obviously retaliates and hits a player and they are later asked if they did it on purpose. Of course they can’t say yes, so they all say the exact same thing.
That’s like a mob boss telling the cops that the corpse they found must have fallen on those six bullets. And yet, pitchers will continue to repeat that same line.
I’m fine with there being unwritten rules and things of that nature. Guys are going to continue to be plunked and we can just expect it. I just hope the next time the ball “slips” it doesn’t hit someone in the face or in the head just because he looked at a home run shot for too long. That kind of takes the fun out of baseball.
So just stick to the rules – the real rules.