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The unbearable fightness of being

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On baseball fights, hit by pitch retribution and the generally dumb reasons for them

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

In case you’ve spent the past month drinking bourbon and listening to old Foo Fighters albums (No, I mean really listening to them, man.) you’ve probably been at least a little aware of the Orioles and Red Sox engaging in a long phallus swinging contest. The basic timeline was as follows:

  • Manny Machado made a late and probably ill-advised slide on Dustin Pedroia, causing some minor injury.
  • In retaliation, Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes threw at Machado, inching closer to the head, and receiving a mild suspension because of it
  • At some point here Machado and Pedroia yelled at each other from across the field, but apparently came to some sort of understanding
  • Flash forward to earlier this week, Chris Sale, bastion of emotional maturity, also throws at Machado because reasons? Everyone is angry all the time
  • Kevin Gausman gets ejected from the next game, where tensions are high, on a HBP on a slow breaking ball, because that’s where we are.
  • Machado goes full Wrasslin’ Promotion on the Red Sox

That’s just a brief cliff notes version, but it does bring up again how silly Baseball’s internal retribution system is. I know that’s an opinion I’m expressing that isn’t held by everybody (I know somebody is gonna call me soft or something in the comments over this), but I dunno maybe your disputes shouldn’t be solved by hurling objects at people’s heads, cause that can severely hurt people or worse

The whole thing reminds me of that Dodgers-Diamondbacks situation back in 2013. Loads of hit by pitch-based retribution, and confusion as to what constituted fair or not, leads to a very dumb fight and a lot of feelings. You know, feelings like WHY THE HELL WAS ERIC HINSKE SUSPENDED FIVE GAMES FOR GETTING PUNCHED IN THE HEAD AND THE GUY WHO DID THAT GOT NOTHING

(clears throat)

(Also fun that the main antagonist, from our perspective, of that whole thing is now our Ace. Baseball!)

I don’t know what the solution to stop this sort of thing beyond dropping the hammer on people who throw at someone’s head intentionally. (that itself being a gray area), but if you step back from the macho “Grrr, masculinity must be protected because!”, it’s all just so very petty and stupid and kind of hilarious. It’s like Middle School Playground Frontier Justice, but you’re playing sports and you have a lower threshold for your feelings being hurt.

Some people will disagree, and that’s fine. I subscribe to a certain school that thinks you should bring retribution threw hitting a massive homer, then moonwalking around the bases and then shooting fireworks that spell out “F*** YOU!”. Yeah, it’s equally as petty and immature, but someone’s not going to get hurt over it.