Beanball wars: When are they OK?
There has been much news in the past week about beanballs, a topic I don’t fully understand. So, I’d like readers’ opinions on the subject.
First, let’s recap two recent incidents:
- On Friday night, Aug. 5, Giants reliever Ramon Ramirez hit the Phillies’ Shane Victorino in the lower back. That happened right after the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins stole second base in the sixth inning with an 8-2 lead. A bench-clearing brawl ensued, and Ramirez, Giants catcher Eli Whiteside and Victorino were ejected.
- On Sunday, July 31, in the Tigers-Angels game, there was an incident. Apparently, it all started in the third inning when the Tigers’ Magglio Ordonez hit a home run off Jared Weaver, who took umbrage when he thought Ordonez was posing after the blast. Weaver, reportedly, told Ordonez to run around the bases a little faster. Then in the seventh, the Tigers’ Carlos Guillen hit a home run off Weaver. To get back at Weaver for barking at Ordonez, Guillen danced up the first-base line with his arms extended. Weaver didn’t like that, so when the next batter – Alex Avila — came to the plate, Weaver threw a fastball over his head. Weaver and Angels manager Mike Scioscia were ejected.
Which brings up the point, “When is it OK to throw at someone?”
I think both pitchers were wrong in these instances. In the Phillies-Giants, it was a six-run lead, but only in the top of the sixth. The Giants had four more at-bats. Scoring six runs was not far-fetched. Baseball’s unwritten rules say you don’t steal bases late in the game with an insurmountable lead. Being ahead by six runs in the sixth inning isn’t insurmountable, nor is it late in the game.
With the second game, it appeared Weaver overreacted to Ordonez’s home run. Reports say Ordonez waited at the plate to see if his shot was going to be fair or foul. (It was hit down the left-field line.) Guillen was standing up for his teammate when he showboated after his home run. Guillen didn’t like the fact that Weaver yelled at Ordonez after the first home run. So then Weaver throws at the next batter. What I don’t understand in that instance is that Weaver should be upset with himself, not the batter. He gave up the home run. While another unwritten rule is don’t show up the pitcher after hitting a home run, it’s ultimately the pitcher’s fault. The batters are trying to get hits off you. Don’t be upset when they do. (Granted when you get a big hit, act like you’ve done it before, as they say. But maybe that’s a topic for another story.)
And it’s my opinion that if you are upset with someone in particular, take it out on him, not an innocent bystander. If Weaver were that offended, he should have hit Ordonez the next time up. Ordonez’s home run came in the third inning. He was getting up again in the sixth at the latest. Take care of it then.
Well readers, what do you say?