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Suspensions handed down for Tuesday’s Reds-Pirates brawl

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Major League Baseball handed down eight suspensions for Tuesday night’s brawl between the Pirates and the Reds. Here’s the breakdown, with the verbiage describing the players’ behavior coming straight from MLB’s press release, so don’t yell at me for editorializing about it:

  • Pirates pitcher Keone Kela has received a 10-game suspension for intentionally throwing a pitch in the area of the head of Derek Dietrich of the Reds in the bottom of the seventh inning and for his role in instigating the bench-clearing incident;
  • Reds pitcher Amir Garrett has received an eight-game suspension for inciting the bench-clearing incident by running to the area outside the Pirates’ dugout and throwing a punch in the top of the ninth inning;
  • Pirates infielder José Osuna has received a five-game suspension for his aggressive and inappropriate actions during the ninth inning incident;
  • Reds pitcher Jared Hughes has received a three-game suspension for intentionally throwing a pitch at Starling Marte of the Pirates in the top of the ninth inning.
  • Pirates pitcher Kyle Crick has received a three-game suspension for his inappropriate actions during the ninth inning incident;
  • Cleveland Indians outfielder Yasiel Puig, who was then a member of the Reds, has received a three-game suspension for his aggressive actions during the ninth inning incident;
  • Reds manager David Bell has received a six-game suspension for returning to the field following his ejection; escalating the incident with his aggressive actions; his Club’s intentional pitch at Marte; and his numerous ejections this season;
  • Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has received a two-game suspension for his Club’s conduct during the incident and his Club’s multiple intentional pitches thrown at Dietrich this season.

All the players who got suspensions have appealed, so they won’t miss any time just yet. Everyone who was suspended got undisclosed fines too. Fines were also issued to Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams, Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Reds outfielder Phillip Ervin. Additionally, several other players received fines for participating in the bench-clearing incident while on the Injured List, which is a no-no.

Certainly the most notable one there is Bell’s. And, yes, he was rather aggressive, going after Hurdle and all that. I’m somewhat amused by the reference to his “multiple ejections this season” adding to it. Yes, he has been run an awful lot — he’s on a pace to shatter such records if he hangs around long enough — but it’s weird that beefing about balls and strikes can come back to haunt you in later discipline. Neither he nor Hurdle are allowed to appeal their discipline, so Bell now gets a week’s unpaid vacation.

Also fun is that the Indians will be without Puig for three games for stuff he did in a Reds-Pirates game. Such is life at the trade deadline, I suppose.

Here’s the principal’s, er, I mean Joe Torre’s statement:

“The incidents between these two Clubs remain a source of concern, and it’s reflected by the level of discipline we are handing down today.  Everyone on the field should be aware of the example they are setting for fans, particularly young people.  I firmly expect these two managers and all others to hold their players accountable for appropriate conduct and to guide them in the right direction.”

I would not bet a thin dime that the Pirates won’t throw at the Reds again, by the way.

 

Congressional task force passes resolution opposing MLB’s minor league contraction plan

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We’ve talked at length about Major League Baseball’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league clubs. We also recently talked about Congress getting involved. Today that process started. It started with a non-binding, symbolic move.

That move: several members of Congress, calling themselves the “Save Minor League Baseball Task Force,” introduced a resolution saying that Major League Baseball should drop its plan to eliminate the minor league clubs and, rather, maintain the current minor league structure. The resolution reads as follows:

RESOLUTION

Supporting Minor League Baseball, and for other purposes.

Whereas 40 million plus fans have attended Minor League Baseball games each season for 15 consecutive years;

Whereas Minor League Baseball provides wholesome affordable entertainment in 160 communities throughout the country;

Whereas, in 2018, Minor League Baseball clubs donated over $45 million in cash and in-kind gifts to their local communities and completed over 15,000 volunteer hours;

Whereas the economic stimulus and development provided by Minor League Baseball clubs extends beyond the cities and towns where it is played, to wide and diverse geographic
areas comprising 80 percent of the population in the Nation;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion through its Copa de la Diversio´n, MiLB Pride, FIELD Program, and Women in Baseball Leadership initiatives;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is the first touchpoint of the national pastime for millions of youth and the only touchpoint for those located in communities far from Major League cities;

Whereas Congress has enacted numerous statutory exemptions and immunities to preserve and sustain a system for Minor League Baseball and its relationship with Major League Baseball;

Whereas abandonment of 42 Minor League Baseball clubs by Major League Baseball would devastate communities, bond purchasers, and other stakeholders that rely on the economic stimulus these clubs provide;

Whereas Minor League Baseball clubs enrich the lives of millions of Americans each year through special economic, social, cultural, and charitable contributions; and

Whereas preservation of Minor League Baseball in 160 communities is in the public interest, as it will continue to provide affordable, family friendly entertainment to those communities:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved,

That the House of Representatives—
(1) supports the preservation of Minor League Baseball in 160 American communities;
(2) recognizes the unique social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture; and
(3) encourages continuation of the 117-year foundation of the Minor Leagues in 160 communities through continued affiliations with Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball issued a statement in response:

MLB is confident we can modernize or minor league system, improve playing conditions for our players, and protect baseball in communities across America. However, doing so is best achieved with Minor League Baseball’s constructive participation, and a recognition that they need to be a part of the solution. So far their approach has neither been constructive nor solutions-oriented. The most constructive role Congress can play to achieve these goals is to encourage Minor League Baseball to return to the bargaining table so we can work together to address the real issues impacting minor league players and communities all across the country.

So that’s fun.

It’s worth noting, again, that this move by Congress does nothing substantively and, rather, exists primarily to allow Members of Congress to talk about baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and America in that way that politicians like to do. Almost any act they take is opposed by half the populace, so they will always jump at an opportunity to say things that most people agree with like “taking away our sports teams is bad. If Congress wants to do something substantive here it can hold hearings and take tangible steps toward eliminating baseball’s antitrust exemption, which is basically the only real hammer it has in influencing the league. I suspect it won’t go that far and will, instead, continue to just issue statements like this.

For its part, Major League Baseball’s statement should be read as “we want to kill these guys over here, the guys we want to kill are being REAL JERKS about it and won’t help us in killing them. Congress, please shut up about not wanting them to die and, instead, tell them that they should let us kill them, OK?”

The upshot: wake me up when something actually happens beyond this posturing.