A Few Good Ballplayers

On Tuesday night, Ian Kennedy threw a baseball at Zack Greinke during a game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers. It hit him in the shoulder, and a brawl ensued.

It all began when Diamondbacks outfielder Cody Ross was hit by a pitch from Greinke earlier in the game, and then Kennedy responded by throwing at and hitting Yasiel Puig in the sixth inning. During the top of the seventh, Greinke drilled Miguel Montero in the back. The benches cleared at that point, but it was a typical “GRUNT, GRUNT. We make fire here” bit of nonsense as opposed to anything serious.

So, when Greinke came to bat in the bottom of the inning, a first pitch fastball up and in was shamefully not a surprise. Neither was the far more serious emptying of the dugouts that followed.

On Friday, MLB announced the punishments. Twelve different players/coaches/managers were disciplined due to the fracas, including eight suspensions.

  • Ian Kennedy was suspended for ten-games;
  • Eric Hinske was suspended for five-games;
  • J.P. Howell was suspended for two-games;
  • Skip Schumaker was suspended for two-games;
  • Ronald Belisario was suspended for one-game;
  • Mark McGwire was suspended two-games;
  • Don Mattingly was suspended for one-game; and
  • Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was suspended for a single game, as well.

Fines were also handed out to Zack Greinke, Yasiel Puig, Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra.

When asked whether he told Kennedy to throw at Greinke, I imagine Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson saying something like this:

You can’t handle the truth! Son, we play a game that has runs, and those runs have to be protected by pitchers with baseballs. Who’s gonna do it? You?

I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Greinke, and you curse the D-Backs. You have that luxury, you have that luxury of not knowing what I know. That Greinke getting hit probably saved runs, and my existence, grotesque and incomprehensible to you, wins games.

You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me in the dugout, you need me in that dugout. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as a backbone of a life spent playing something, you use them as a punch line.

I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a man that rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very game that I provide and then questions the matter in which I provide it. I’d rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a baseball and stand on a mound. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.