Ken Rosenthal thinks Ozzie Guillen should be suspended for 30 days

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Ken Rosenthal tackles the Ozzie Guillen/Fidel Castro dustup and, early on, says this:

I normally cringe at politically correct overreactions, particularly in response to mindless, preposterous remarks from people who are just spouting off. But …

So you can guess where that’s going: a politically correct overreaction.

Rosenthal calls Guillen’s Castro comments “about as extreme and insensitive as it gets,” and then says that the Marlins should suspend him for 30 days.*  Which is frankly crazy.  Even just the first part, because I can think of A LOT of things that would be more extreme and insensitive than what Guillen said.  I mean, really, has anyone asked Luke Scott about the Trayvon Martin shooting yet?  That could be fun.

Seriously, though, two of the longest suspensions in major league history were 30 days each. They were handed out to Pete Rose and Lenny Randle.  You probably remember Rose’s — he shoved an umpire — but you may not remember Randle.  He was an infielder for the Rangers. In 1977 he approached Rangers’ manager Frank Lucchesi before a spring training game and punched Lucchesi in the face, fracturing his cheekbone in three places. Lucchesi required plastic surgery to repair the damage. Thirty days.

In 2004, reliever Frank Francisco assaulted a fan with a chair and broke her nose. He got a 16 game suspension. Kenny Rogers once assaulted a cameraman. He got 20 games. There have been countless players and managers who have (a) gotten DUIs; or (b) gotten in fights; or in some cases even (c) assaulted their wives or girlfriends, and they didn’t get 30 days, even if they got a suspension at all.

Against that backdrop, is it really reasonable to think that Ozzie Guillen should be suspended for 30 days simply because he voiced an unpopular and rather dumb political opinion?  Isn’t that … a bit of an overreaction?

*It wasn’t noted when this first went up, but should have been: Rosenthal doesn’t think Guillen will get 30 days. He says a week is more realistic.

Major League Baseball needs to make an example out of José Ureña

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We’re about an hour and a half separated from the first pitch of Wednesday night’s Marlins/Braves game that featured Marlins starter José Ureña hitting Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña on the elbow with a first-pitch, 97.5 MPH fastball. The benches emptied, Ureña was ejected, and the game went on. Acuña left the game not long after to tend to his injured elbow.

After the game, when the Marlins speak to the media, they will almost certainly deny any ill intent towards Acuña, who had hit leadoff home runs in three consecutive games against them. When they do so, they will be lying. Watch how catcher J.T. Realmuto sets up on the first pitch.

ESPN Stats & Info notes that Ureña’s 97.5 MPH fastball was in the 99th percentile in terms of velocity of the 2,125 pitches he has thrown this season. It was also the fastest pitch Ureña has ever thrown to begin a game. Ureña put a little extra mustard on this pitch, for some reason.

Ureña has a 6.8 percent walk rate, which ranks 37th out of 95 starters with at least 100 innings of work this season. The major league average is eight percent. Control isn’t typically something with which he struggles.

Furthermore, Acuña isn’t the only player who has drawn Ureña’s ire:

Ureña wanted nothing to do with Hoskins — even though Hoskins has yet to get a hit off of him — in his August 4 start at home against the Phillies, walking him twice which included a few up-and-in pitches.

Ureña will almost certainly be fined and suspended for his actions on Wednesday night against Acuña. But will his punishment be enough to deter him and others from wielding a baseball as a weapon? Probably not. On June 19, when Marlins starter Dan Straily intentionally threw at Buster Posey, he received a five-game suspension and manager Don Mattingly was suspended one game. If you look at Straily’s game logs, you can’t even tell he was suspended. He started six days later on June 25 against the Diamondbacks and again on July 1 and 6. Because starters only pitch once every five days, it was like he wasn’t even suspended at all.

Major League Baseball needs to levy harsher punishments on players who attempt to injure other players. A 15-game suspension, for example, would force Ureña to miss at least two starts and it would inconvenience the Marlins enough to more seriously weigh the pros and cons of exacting revenge. The Marlins couldn’t work around it the way they did Straily by pushing back his scheduled start one day.

Major League Baseball also needs to make a legitimate effort to do away with this culture of revenge against players who are just a little bit too happy. Batters get thrown at when they flip their bats, when they yell at themselves in frustration, and even when they’re just hitting well. Baseball’s stagnating audience is very old, very white, and very male. It is not going to bring in fans from diverse backgrounds by keeping this antiquated culture that prevents baseball players from showing their personalities and being emotive. In the event Acuña needs to go on the disabled list for a couple weeks, that’s two weeks that Acuña isn’t on SportsCenter’s top-10, isn’t on the front page of MLB.com, and isn’t in articles like this. The culture of revenge is actively harming MLB’s ability to market its bright, young stars. If ending this culture of revenge doesn’t hit MLB from a moral angle, it should absolutely hit home from a business angle.