White Sox, Royals benches empty after Brad Keller throws at Tim Anderson

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White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hit a prodigious two-run home run off of Royals starter Brad Keller in the fourth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game in Chicago. Anderson celebrated by throwing his bat back towards his dugout.

MLB celebrated Anderson’s achievement as such:

Predictably, the next time Anderson stepped to the plate, leading off the bottom of the sixth inning, Keller threw a fastball at him. The benches emptied. Keller and Anderson were ejected, as was White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

10 days ago, Pirates pitcher Chris Archer intentionally threw at Reds infielder Derek Dietrich. I predicted, correctly, that Archer would get a mere five-game suspension, which didn’t even result in a missed start. Archer essentially had his start pushed back one day; he started on April 7 and 13, his team’s eighth and 13th games of the season. Archer was also fined, but hardly enough to outweigh the social incentives for retaliation.

Just as MLB needed to suspend Archer for a much longer period of time, the league needs to make Keller’s fine and suspension count. MLB can’t, at both times, promote “let the kids play,” then do nothing when the “kids” who “play” have baseballs intentionally whipped at their bodies. Based on precedent, however, Keller will receive a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine, and pitchers will continue to hurl baseballs at batters whenever their feelings get hurt.