See, I knew I shouldn’t have bothered to write about the Marcus Stroman-Caleb Joseph incident in yesterday’s Hunt For Blue October post, as evidently the matter wasn’t quite closed. To wit:
marcus stroman gets 6 game ban for throwing at caleb joseph. he will appeal. #bluejays
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) September 17, 2014
Well, except for the part about Stroman appealing. Because… why?
Gregor Chisholm adds that MLB, in their release, says that “Stroman also received an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of Caleb Joseph.”
Really says a lot about how the league values player safety and how serious they are about rooting out this garbage from the game, doesn’t it? And it’s even deeper insanity given the incident involving Giancarlo Stanton last week.
Deeper still when you consider that the NHL, which does literally everything wrong when it comes to striking a balance between player safety and dogshit macho stupidity, actually comes close to having an appropriate guiding principle on stuff like this — they just don’t apply it consistently. In hockey, when it comes to high sticking, the expectation is that you’re a professional, and you’re supposed to be in control of your stick at all times, so whether it is intentional or not, if you clip someone up high with your stick, it’s a penalty (and if you draw blood, the penalty is doubled).
Why they don’t do that when it comes to running the goalie, or head shots is beyond me, but I’m more than OK with that being the case with head hunting in baseball. Obviously there is a more subjective quality to such cases, but at least then “I didn’t mean to” — which is how Stroman will plead — wouldn’t be a route to appeal.
I’d also be all for bigger suspensions than the one handed down, and suspensions for pitches that appear to be intentionally thrown at players, regardless of whether it was at the person’s head or elsewhere.
On that level, I agree with the cavalcade of homers whining on Twitter about why Darren O’Day isn’t also being suspended for throwing at Jose Bautista last night, but that’s not because I think anybody’s being unfair to the Jays here. MLB is being entirely consistent in its belief that head hunting is wrong, but that intentionally throwing at other parts of the body isn’t — or, at the very least, it isn’t worth investigating intent on such incidents.
I call bullshit. For me, you don’t throw at people. Period. And, as I said in yesterday’s post, you don’t hide behind macho nonsense to condone it. “What bothers me more than him doing it — because I understand the dugout politics involved make it difficult for a rookie to make a stand against the culture he needs to exist in — is the people who condone it or, worse still, say ‘at least aim for the ribs,’ as though that’s fucking excusable,” I wrote. “All this bullshit gets presented under the rubric of the code, and ‘being a man,’ and not looking weak, but it’s bloody obvious what’s actually the ‘manly’ reaction here. To stand up and say, “This is fucking stupid you dumb meat head fucks.’ ”
Intention doesn’t matter. Your emotions don’t matter. Whatever slight prompted it doesn’t matter. That you can convincingly pretend you believe utter horseshit like the idea that if you don’t retaliate you’ll be subjecting yourself to more abuse doesn’t matter.
You let the league do its job and you don’t keep propping up a system that discourages anyone from asking hard questions about player safety in this regard until it’s too goddamn late. You don’t play fast and loose with the potential future of another man’s brain function.
You don’t throw a fucking baseball at people.
And if you’re Marcus Stroman, you be thankful the stewards of the league, and so many commentators on it, are so hopelessly unserious about this garbage, and so afraid appearing weak or incurring a backlash among the mouth-breathers, that they’ve decided to be as lenient as they have.