The blame game has started. Everyone wants to claim they know the unwritten rules of baseball. Let’s look at what really happened last night and lay the blame where it belongs while exonerating those who are getting ripped by others who only pretend to know the game. We’ll go through every name of a hit batter, the pitcher that threw it leading up to the brawl and the main participants of the brawl.
CODY ROSS: He got hit early in the game but this was nothing and had nothing to do with the fight. He’s guilty of nothing and neither is Grienke on this hit by pitch.
YASIEL PUIG: I normally have a huge problem with the “ODP,” the out-of-the-dugout puncher. If you get hit by a pitch thrown at your head and you’re not sure if your pitchers have your back, I understand charging the mound. I never thought the day would come where I’d accept the ODP but I do here. You get hit in the face — irrelevant of how glancing the blow is — you’re completely dazed. Then you get an inning to sit and realize you could have died. Now a real fight breaks out, I get it. I give Puig a complete break for his actions during the fight.
IAN KENNEDY: The hitting of Puig was accidental. Anyone who argues that point is an idiot. Compare the reaction of Kennedy when he hit Puig and when he hit Greinke. There’s a half hop as if he can telegraph a “look out” mental note to Puig while Montero immediately jumps to Puig’s side. Hitting of Greinke was obviously intentional and Kennedy was walking towards the dugout in the middle of his follow through.
I have no problem with the idea of hitting Greinke. I do have a problem with Kennedy going high. I hope Kennedy wanted Greinke’s back and it got away from him. If Kennedy meant to go head high, that’s bush-league every single time. Due to my personal knowledge of Kennedy’s level of class, I trust the pitch missed the spot on Greinke he was aiming.
ZACH GREINKE: Despite all the screaming from the D-Backs’ dugout and from D-backs fans, he did nothing wrong either. So many are screaming that since Kennedy didn’t mean to hit Puig, that let’s him off-the-hook. No it doesn’t! If you throw a pitch at the star’s head, it doesn’t matter whether you meant it. There will be retribution. It’s Kennedy’s job to control his pitches whether he’s trying to bust someone up and in or not. You hit my guy in the nose, I’m hitting your guy.
Greinke didn’t go high on Montero. He hit him squarely in the back. Even more impressive was Greinke’s reaction to getting hit was extremely professional. He didn’t charge the mound. He didn’t get involved in the fight. He took his base. He went after the shortstop on the double-play turn. He didn’t break any of the unwritten rules and was a complete example of how the game should be played.
CLINT FAGAN: An absolute horrific display by an umpire. If he’s at third today for the series finale, you know MLB is truly lost when it comes to developing, training and promoting good umpires while fining, suspending or demoting the poor ones. After Fagan embarrassed himself with a terrible call at first Monday night, he out-does himself Tuesday night. In the fourth inning, Gonzalez is on first with Puig at the plate. Puig fouls off the first pitch for ball one. Yes you read that right. It is literally impossible to make it to the Major League level and make a call as stupid as Fagan did. How did you not hear it hit the bat Mr. Fagan? If it wasn’t a strike, sir, why did you give Montero another ball? The “unfoul-ball” ended up by the screen. Isn’t that a live ball and Gonzalez could go to second? If he didn’t go to second, doesn’t that show you it was a foul ball?
I bring this up to establish Fagan’s credibility for his next horrible decision. You do not have to wait until there’s a warning before you eject a pitcher. If the umpire’s discretion is that there was an intentional hit batsman, he’s within his right to automatically eject the pitcher and issue warnings. I completely stick up for Greinke’s right to defend Puig and hit Montero. It doesn’t change the fact he must be ejected. Fagan must get control of the situation and take retaliation off the table for the D-backs.
I hate the fact baseball has become soft. Baseball is supposed to be settled by the players but the rules have changed. I don’t like the rule that allows pitchers to be ejected for playing the game the right way. However, my opinion is irrelevant. These are the rules as set by MLB and Fagan failed to use them to defuse the situation. If Fagan had a clue how to handle the game, the brawl never happens because Greinke’s ejected and Kennedy has no one to hit.
BUD SELIG: Do you really think the umpires can see every action during a brawl? Why has instant replay been so slow? The umpire’s job is to try to bring peace in that situation. There’s no way they can do that while judging who should stay and who should be ejected. Give the men a monitor. Your umpires allowed a manager to throw a bench coach to the ground and stay in the game. That’s not on them, that’s on you.
RONALD BELISARIO: You are the classic ODP. You have no place in this game. You’re nothing. You came running into a fight by slapping people away until you could start throwing hay-makers. You didn’t want to square someone up like a man. Your goal was to hide on the outside of the scrum, out-flank, throw punches but make sure any that connected couldn’t be returned. I hope the D-backs never forget you. If the D-backs could win a championship with you but not without you, I’d rather not win than to ever have you in this organization. The D-backs are about class and guts. You have neither.
MARK MCGWIRE: It’s already established you’re a fraud by your previous decisions. Now we know you’re an unprofessional joke. You’re going after Kirk Gibson? You really think Gibson needs you to educate him on the right way to play the game? You’re not a player anymore, Mark. Even Clint Fagan is glad you were there as the biggest embarrassment of the night. Anything less than a 10-game suspension shows it’s clearly time for a new commissioner.
DON MATTINGLY: You’re not a fraud. You’re not an unprofessional joke, but you did act like one for one night. You’re better than your actions. You must be suspended for your actions but it doesn’t have to hurt. Three games is plenty.