Major League Baseball has announced a five-game suspension for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado as a result of his bat-throwing antics in the Orioles-Athletics game on Sunday. He has also received an undisclosed fine. Fernando Abad, the A’s pitcher who threw at Machado, has received an undisclosed fine but no suspension.
Tim Brown of Yahoo was the first to report that the discipline was coming down. Brown says Machado will appeal the suspension.
Reaction? It seems light to me. The last time someone was suspended for throwing a bat the way Machado did was in 2002 when the Red Sox’ Trot Nixon helicoptered a bat at Devil Rays pitcher Ryan Rupe. Nixon got four games. Thing is, however, since 2002 the suspensions for on-field things like beanballs and starting fights have gone up a few games. In light of that, one would think that inflation would hit something as severe as bat-throwing a bit harder than it appears to have.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.