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The Harper-Strickland fight was stupid. MLB doesn’t  have to be.

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On a visceral level, the Bryce HarperHunter Strickland fight was fun to watch because we don’t get a lot of actual fights in baseball anymore and we’ll take what we can get.

On an intellectual level, of course, it was all stupid. Every single part of it.

Hunter Strickland throwing at Harper because Harper hit a couple of homer off of him three seasons ago is about as weak as it gets. Indeed, the Giants actually won that series and went on to win the World Series that year, so the fact that Strickland was still holding a grudge over Harper’s bombs is not just weak, it’s inner-circle weak.

Harper, of course, is not blameless. He’s the victim of a dumb plunking and Strickland is owed far more condemnation in all of this in my view, but the mound charge/helmet throw was not wise. He’s mounting an MVP season here, and the Nats look like the best team in the National League. At the time he made his charge, the best case scenario was that his team would lose the services of its best player for a time. Worst case scenario is that Harper could’ve gotten hurt or gotten his teammates hurt. Would a busted hand on the MVP favorite have made anyone feel better, no matter how much Strickland deserved it? Luckily that didn’t come to pass.

Now Major League Baseball has a chance to be dumb. It can be dumb by doing what past precedent suggests it will do here in punishing Harper as much if not more than Strickland due to the charge/helmet toss. Pitchers throw at guys a lot. Given that most pitchers don’t throw every day and given that they almost always claim that the ball “just got away from them,” those suspensions often cause them, at worst to get five game suspensions which in reality has them only missing a couple of games. When batters throw things or charge the mound their intentions are clear and they tend to lose a lot more time. The baseline on those are 5-7 games. A few years back Carlos Quentin got eight games for charging Zack Greinke. Throwing the helmet could add time.

My hope in all of this is that Major League Baseball does not do something dumb. My hope is that they, for once, appreciate that intentionally throwing a 90+ mile per hour pitch at a batter and hitting him is worse than a batter wildly flinging a helmet at a pitcher at about, oh, 20 miles per hour and missing. My hope is that they appreciate that a pitcher holding a nearly three-year grudge over a baseball player hitting a home run is more immature and damaging to the game than a batter losing his cool for a moment when the pitcher tries to hurt him.

Strickland should be suspended a lot more than Harper is. If he isn’t, we’re just compounding the dumb.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.