I like bench clearing brawls. Call me immature, call me a brutish, testosterone-driven male, call me a simpleton, or just call me a Phillies fan to save yourself some time. My affinity for a gathering of testy millionaires has nothing to do with fists being thrown or poorly attempted ninja kicks (after all, I can watch UFC for that), but more so the fact that it’s an occasionally welcome interruption from the monotony that is baseball. I love the game--it’s perfect, but when you break it down, it’s a handful of exclamation points tossed in between a 54 periods. A lot of it is just waiting.
The Unwritten Rules of Baseball Brawls
So, when a brawl breaks out, the calm and quiet façade goes away for a moment, and I like that. Usually that action is one or two guys shoving each other, and it’s mostly just both teams milling about while the smoke clears, but it’s a welcome breather from the tense quiet that permeates the
What happened on Friday night in San Francisco was no different, when the Phillies and Giants mixed it up in the second of a four game series. At the time, the game was turning into an easy win for the Phillies, as they had just extended their lead to six runs, thanks to an offensive outburst in the middle innings that was capped with a three run sixth, which was more than enough of a lead against the punchless Giants.
And it was in this moment that the defending champs decided to do take matters into their own hands, and they did so by having pitcher Ramon Ramirez plant a fastball into the small of Shane Victorino’s back.
What happened next was expected. Shane took exception to the beaning, which was more than likely not on accident. He stepped towards the mound, Ramirez started towards home, and the umpire and Giants catcher Eli Whiteside stood in between. That’s about how these things typically go, as they mostly consist of a lot of bloviating and chest puffing from both sides. It could have stayed that way, but Whiteside, who was hopping up and down as if to ready himself to a fight, turned to his left and put a leg tackle on Placido Polanco, who was jogging into the fray from first base. This action started the chain reaction which ended with the ejections of Victorino, Ramirez and Whiteside.
It was only a matter of time before the MLB brass doled out punishment for this mess, which, surprisingly, decided that only Shane Victorino was deserving of a suspension. However, the lack of a suspension for either Whiteside or Ramirez (they were both fined, along with Placido Polanco) is most curious, given that Ramirez quite obviously threw at Victorino on purpose (according to ESPN’s Buster Olney), and that Whiteside was the first player from either team to initiate physical contact with the other team.
It’s not as if Victorino’s suspension wasn’t warranted (it was), but a lack of suspension for either Ramirez or Whiteside appears to be a severe lack of punitive equality, all things considered. I’ll concede that Whiteside was in a position to protect his pitcher (just barely), but Ramirez has no such excuse. He threw at a player in what appeared to be his own misguided application of frontier justice. Whatever that means.
What say you, readers? Was Shane’s suspension the only one worth handing out, or did the Phillies get the short end of the stick from Bud Selig and Co.?