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.