The White Sox plan to retaliate when their batters are hit

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UPDATE: I should probably start reading this blog once in a while, because it wasn’t until after I already posted this that I realized that Matthew posted on he same comments last night.   He was far less self-righteous than I was about it, though, so I suppose both takes can stay up.

11: 18 AM: Longtime readers know my view on intentional plunkings and beanball wars: I hate ’em.  A pitched ball could potentially kill a guy, so the idea of a pitcher intentionally aiming one at a batter is just abhorrent to me.

But obviously I’m out of step with major league baseball here, as there is a long and rich tradition of hit batsmen being avenged by a pitcher throwing at the other guys in retaliation.  It largely goes unspoken because people tend to get fined when they admit that that’s what’s going on, but that is what’s going on.

And it’s not always unspoken.  Take this from White Sox’ bench coach Mark Parent, who was asked about White Sox batters getting hit a lot last season:

One fan’s question to the coaching staff about the lopsided statistics brought much interest to a large crowd Sunday at SoxFest. “You hit our guy, we’ll hit your guy,” said new bench coach Mark Parent, whose reply was met with scattered applause.

Note: find the people who offered the applause and have nothing to do with them in the future.

I don’t know how you can cheer for that. I don’t know how any reasonable person can see their team’s player get hit and have their first impulse be “we need to hit them!” as opposed to “that pitcher needs to get ejected and suspended.”

And yes, I realize that this easily branches out into a discussion of the purposes of the criminal justice system, revenge vs. punishment, etc. etc.  If you wanna have that discussion, great, let’s have it.  The same considerations apply in my view.

Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games

Gregorius will wear a mask
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Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games this year. That’s what the Phillies infielder tells the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“We are trying to go through the guidelines and trying to do everything we can do to stay safe, so, that’s why people see me walking around with a mask on and stuff. I am keeping myself safe, wearing a mask everywhere I go. So, I have to keep it on me all the time.”

Gregorius will wear a mask both while batting and out in the field, he said.

A big reason for it is that he has a chronic kidney condition which makes him “high risk” under Major League Baseball’s safety protocols. He could opt out if he wanted to but Gregorius, who signed a $14 million deal with the Phillies last winter, is a free agent again this coming offseason. He is coming off of a down year in 2019, having hit .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI across 344 plate appearances. Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018 and didn’t make his 2019 season debut until June 7. A big reason he took a one-year deal was to reestablish his value for next season’s go-around on the free agent market and he doesn’t want the long layoff going into what could be his last significant payday.

Major League Baseball is not requiring players or umpires to wear masks on the field during games or practices, though it is reportedly looking into clear face shields for home plate umpires to wear under their usual protective masks.

Gregorius will wear a mask to keep himself safe, he said, but he also notes in the article that “I think it adds safety for everybody, for me and people around me.” Here’s hoping, given his vulnerability, everyone around him is being as safe as he is.