ESPN’s Jorge Arangure links a Spanish language report in which Jose Offerman says that the umpire he struck had spoken badly about his mother. I took a bunch of Spanish about 20 years ago and forgot most of it, but I kind of got the gist from the article. But to be totally professional about it, I put Offerman’s quotes through Google Translate:
mentioned my mother in the classic tone of someone trying to offend a
man, and that’s where my reaction came to throw a punch.”
OK, I think the nature of translation software makes Offerman sound a bit more formal than he likely is, so I’ll paraphrase the rest: Offerman says that there were multiple problems with the umps during the series, and that it all came to a head after his catcher, Ronny Paulino, was ejected after some argument with the home plate ump about a replacement ball following a wild pitch. Later, when Offerman comes out to argue with Daniel Rayburn — not the one who ejected Paulino, but the crew chief — Rayburn gave Offerman some derivation of “yo momma” and Offerman let fly. He says, however, that he never hit him, and that Rayburn’s hitting the ground was a big show.
Maybe. The video certainly reveals the contact, if indeed there was some, to be minor at best, and it sure looks like Rayburn took a dive Still, when you’re Jose Offerman and you have a history destroying a freakin’ player’s life via an assault with a baseball bat, you’re not going to get the close calls.
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins pitcher Dan Straily has been suspended five games and Don Mattingly one game for throwing intentionally at Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday in San Francisco. Straily plans to appeal his suspension, so he will be allowed to take his normal turn through the rotation until that matter is settled.
Everything started on Monday, when the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against closer Hunter Strickland. That included a game-tying single from Lewis Brinson, who pumped his fist and yelled in celebration. Strickland took exception, jawing at Brinson who was on third base when the right-hander was taken out of the game. Strickland went into the clubhouse and punched a door, breaking his hand.
The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a fastball, which prompted warnings for both teams. The next inning, Straily hit Posey on the arm with a fastball, which led to immediate ejections for both him and Mattingly.
Neither Rodriguez nor Giants manager Bruce Bochy were reprimanded, which is ludicrous because it was plainly obvious Rodriguez was throwing at Brinson. But neither team had been issued warnings. Essentially, Major League Baseball is giving free reign for teams to get their revenge pitches in. Furthermore, Straily’s five-game suspension is hardly a deterrent for throwing at a hitter. The Marlins could simply give Straily an extra day of rest and it’s like he was never suspended at all.
Beanball wars are bad for baseball. It puts players at risk for obvious reasons. When players have to miss time due to avoidable injury, self-inflicted (in the case of Strickland) or not (if, for example, Posey had a hand or wrist broken from Straily’s pitch), the game suffers because it becomes an inferior product. That’s, of course, second behind the simple fact that throwing at a player is a tremendously childish way to handle a disagreement. When aimed intentionally at another human being, a baseball is a weapon. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of someone who has been trained to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 MPH.
Commisioner Rob Manfred has spent a lot of time trying to make the game of baseball more appealing, such adding pitch clocks and limiting mound visits. He should spend some time addressing the throwing-at-batters problem.