Associated Press

Chris Archer suspended only five games, Puig gets two for Sunday’s brawl

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Major League Baseball just announced the discipline from Sunday’s Reds-Pirates brawl:

  • Chris Archer has received a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine “for intentionally throwing a pitch” at Derek Dietrich of the Reds;
  • Yasiel Puig has received a two-game suspension and an undisclosed fine “for his aggressive actions” during the incident;
  • Reds manager David Bell has received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine “for his aggressive actions” during the incident.

Archer can appeal his suspension and has yet to decide if he will. So can Puig, but he chose not to and will begin serving it tonight. Bell cannot appeal as managers do not have the right to do so, so he’ll sit out tonight’s game as well.

As we wrote on Sunday, it was plainly obvious that Archer was intentionally throwing at Derek Dietrich of the Reds in retaliation for admiring an earlier home run. As we also wrote, in anticipation of this sort of penalty, it’s laughable that he’s only getting a five-game suspension given that he’s a starting pitcher who only pitches once every five days and, even then, can have a start pushed back a day to essentially miss no time.

Which is to say that, with this discipline, Major League Baseball is saying it’s perfectly OK to throw at someone. Seems like a horrible message to send, especially to a group of pitchers who are throwing harder than anyone has ever thrown before. The light discipline is also saying that MLB’s “Let them Play” marketing campaign — in which bat flips, showmanship and attitude are portrayed as good things to be encouraged — is a bunch of baloney. If someone, like Dietrich, admires a homer, someone like Archer can make him pay for it with near impunity, thereby bolstering the stodgy and humorless old school rules that “Let them Play” was aimed to remedy.

Which is to say: this is weak as hell.

 

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]