By Ken Reed

I’ve written often in the past about the silliness of the macho man culture in hockey, including the tolerance for fighting, gratuitous cheap shots, and the presence of thugs with limited hockey skills on NHL rosters.

The Neanderthal culture in the NHL has to go.

But the same holds true for baseball, especially at the MLB level.

This season has seen an abundance of “old school” baseball antics, e.g., purposely throwing at hitters, paybacks for bat flipping after home runs, etc.

In May, the Texas Rangers’ Matt Bush drilled the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista with a fastball. It was retribution for Bautista hitting a home run against the Rangers last season in the playoffs. The Rangers were angered by Bautista’s bat flip after his home run. Bautista followed-up getting hit by a pitch by sliding aggressively into second base, igniting a brawl. (Of which, Bautista got the worst of it after receiving a punch to the jaw from the Rangers’ Rougned Odor.)

Basic sports ethics say that it shouldn’t be permissible to purposely send message pitches at hitters. It shouldn’t be permissible for baserunners to target fielders with their spikes up. It shouldn’t be permissible for a hitter to run inside the line and spike the achilles heel of a pitcher covering first base.

The unwritten rules of baseball, which allow retaliation for a laundry list of “offenses” need to be scrapped. Modern Major League Baseball needs to grow up.

Major League Baseball executives claim to want to make the game safer for the players. Hence, they banned catchers from blocking the plate and runners from running catchers over while trying to score. They banned runners leaving the base paths to target fielders in an effort at breaking up double plays. They now have to get a handle on intentional beanballs. A baseball at 95mph is a dangerous weapon.

Earlier this week, the Kansas City Royals’ Yordano Ventura drilled Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado with a 99mph fastball to the ribs. In baseball culture that supposedly makes Ventura a tough guy. But there’s nothing tough about hitting a defenseless hitter with a hard orb going 99mph.

As Los Angeles Dodgers’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said, “Throwing a baseball at a batter on purpose is the opposite of whatever tough is.”

Baseball players need to mature and start acting like adults.

Baseball is a great game. Play it ethically.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.