Major League Baseball has revealed its scorecard for this week’s brawl between the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers have won in a knockout.
Both teams had pitchers who were clearly throwing at hitters, yet only the Diamondbacks lost starter Ian Kennedy for 10 games. Kennedy was suspended for intentionally throwing a pitch at Zack Greinke’s head, while Greinke was only fined for intentionally throwing a pitch at Miguel Montero’s back.
Both teams had players rushing the field from the dugout and bullpen to throw punches, yet only the Diamondbacks’ Eric Hinske received a legitimate suspension -- five games -- for “aggressive actions.” The Dodgers were throwing just as many haymakers, and acting just as aggressively, yet they only lost reliever J.P. Howell and utility guy Skip Schumaker for two games and reliever Ronald Belisario for one game.
One could even argue that there was actually a positive Dodgers suspension, as the anemic-hitting team also lost its hitting coach Mark McGwire for two games. The other Dodgers suspension was Manager Don Mattingly for one game, and the rest of the penalties were fines -- even for the enraged and animated Yasiel Puig, whose $40-million nest egg can probably afford it.
The funniest part of the discipline was the fines that both teams incurred for allowing players on the disabled list to enter the field and join the fray.
Oh, so it’s OK for benches to clear and bullpens to empty as long as those players are healthy? Baseball just doesn’t want any sick guys out there? What, are they afraid somebody with a strained hamstring won’t put up a good enough fight? The distinction here is laughable. Any player who leaves a dugout or bullpen should be immediately suspended, no matter what his medical condition.
In all, the Dodgers were the clear winners amid a clearly silly and scary message: Brawls are basically OK. Admitting you are throwing at batters is basically OK. Actually throwing at batters is basically OK as long as long as you aren’t throwing at the head.
With mandates like this, the words of Belisario become hauntingly true. This bad blood between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks is not over, not as long as baseball continues to pump it.