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Chris Carpenter ignites a ruckus in the Cardinals-Diamondbacks game

Apr 22, 2010, 9:13 AM EDT

Chris Carpenter angry.jpgIt wasn’t really a fracas, and it was far short of a brawl, so ruckus is the best I can do.

It started when Edwin Jackson hit Chris Carpenter with a pitch in the second inning. Actually, it may have started when Jackson hit Ryan Ludwick in the first, but hitting Carpenter is what set things off.  The pitch trailed in and smacked Carpenter on the left wrist, actually opening up a little cut. Carpenter stepped towards Jackson and barked at him as he took his base.

The next batter — Skip Schumaker — grounded into a double play.  Carpenter came in hard on Kelly Johnson with the intention of breaking it up and doing a little damage, but no one was the worse for wear. But the benches cleared all the same, baseball players milled around as though they could fight if they wanted to, but really, it’s been a good while since we’ve had a really fun display of fisticuffsmanship in Major League Baseball. Everyone makes too much money and doesn’t want to risk it, I suppose. Either that or they’re just better at being professionals who realize that rolling around the ground and punching one another doesn’t get you too far.

Carpenter admitted after the game that his slide was, as they say in baseball circles, horses—:

“It was an unprofessional move. I shouldn’t have done it. I told
[first-base coach] Matt Williams at first to tell Kelly that it
was unprofessional and I shouldn’t have done that. I was in a position
where I didn’t control my emotions enough to not do something stupid.”

Still, Carpenter was none too happy about the pitch that hit him:

“I hit .100. It’s not like I can hit. Throw the ball down and away.
Throw a slider, whatever it is. It’s different if
you’re Carlos Zambrano, Adam Wainwright, Dan Haren, guys that can hit.
You throw 95 miles per hour, chucking balls up high, never mind you
can’t control it. Come on. He’s missing by three feet. It’s not right.”

I understand why he’s mad, but I can’t see any good adding another rule to baseball’s already thick unwritten rulebook (i.e. thou shalt not pitch inside to the opposing pitcher). Effective or not, Carpenter, and all pitchers, have bats in their hand when they come to the plate and mean to do violence to the baseball. If the seven of us who still take the concept of pitchers hitting for themselves seriously wish for the concept to be maintained, the last thing we need is to start treating them with kid gloves. It didn’t seem to me that Jackson was trying to hit Carpenter. He just had lousy stuff last night.

The only remaining question is whether Carpenter gets fined or suspended or anything for the slide. Or, rather, for admitting that he had bad intent when he did it.  I would hope not — this was really a case of no-harm, no-foul — but I long ago gave up trying to figure out any method behind the madness of baseball discipline.

  1. BC - Apr 22, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    Vernon: what was that ruckus?!
    Andrew: Uh, what ruckus?
    Vernon: I was just in my office and I heard a ruckus.
    Brian: Could you describe the ruckus, sir?
    RIP John Hughes.

  2. Rob - Apr 22, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    Umm, he didn’t actually slide. He just REALLY REALLY wanted to slide hard into Johnson. He actually ran through the base. It was so obvious that he wanted to take his anger out on Johnson though. There is no way any suspension or fine will happen.

  3. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Apr 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    but really, it’s been a good while since we’ve had a really fun display of fisticuffsmanship in Major League Baseball. Everyone makes too much money and doesn’t want to risk it, I suppose

    Maybe someone older than I can comment, but outside the Nettles(?)/Lee separated shoulder, when’s the last time someone actually got hurt from a bro-ha-ha? With all the body parts flying around, you’d assume the law of averages would come into play and someone might get a scratch or black eye, but it never happens.

  4. salvo - Apr 22, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    I second what Rob said: the relay was on its way to first, and Johnson moving away from the bag, well before Carpenter was anywhere near second base. The best he could do was look really fierce and scowl at Johnson and bark some more as he jogged across the base.
    But I dispute that Jackson had lousy stuff: he had a rough first inning, allowing three runs as four of the first six hitters reached against him, but he retired 21 of the next 24 batters as he went 8 innings, left with the game tied, and didn’t walk a batter all night. If that’s a lousy night for my starter, I’ll take my chances.

  5. Ryan - Apr 22, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    This problem would be easily solved if you seniors would just adopt the DH. As a bonus, we’ll even give you a ‘Designated Pitcher’ moniker for you to apply to anyone you like.

  6. Fast Eddy - Apr 22, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    Well, it seems that you are missing the point here. I never saw the game, however if Jackson drew blood, that is serious. You have to take Carpenters side. This guy is NO spring chicken. Who knows how many more years (months) he has to play. Then you have some idiot throwing pitches to him as if he were Albert, is stupid. Craig got it right when he said throw him three down the middle @95 MPH or wide, and you will get a strike out with a hitter who hits .100 or less. Why risk cutting this guys career short with a ball that could break a bone? It was dumb of Jackson even if not intentional. Is he a rookie?

  7. Kid Charlemagne - Apr 22, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    Whas it a rhubarb? Or just a brouhaha?
    (Captcha: Boxing DJ)

  8. Fast Eddy - Apr 22, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    Sorry, we are playing baseball here, not T ball. The D-H is out and should be for all Major League.

  9. Jim - Apr 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    I understand Carp’s position, up to a point. There’s no reason to plunk a pitcher, even someone like Z or Haren.
    But then this is Edwin Jackson we’re talking about. I’m pretty convinced he has no idea where the ball is going when it leaves his hand.

  10. InnocentBystander - Apr 22, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    DH! DH! DH! DH! DH! Come into the 20th Century…and then we’ll even invite you into the 21st. I won’t go into all of the arguments, but this topic always deserves a link here:
    Part 2 – I wouldn’t be shocked by a suspension. Carpenter admitted he ran down to second with the intention to injure. Not saying a suspension is warranted, I just won’t be shocked if there is one. And if there is it will be a lame 3 game suspension that really doesn’t affect a starting pitcher anyway.

  11. Mikey - Apr 22, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    It seems to me the much bigger offense here is the ridiculous “Mother#$!%$*!” Carpenter let out after getting plunked. Very nice, Chris. Don’t mind the kids.
    Stop being such a child, and take your base. You are not the first pitcher to get hit by a pitch, you won’t be the last. Yet you can now proudly proclaim that you are one of the only to throw a temper tantrum.

  12. Shely - Apr 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    I don’t see the D-H as a step forward. You lose a lot of baseball tactics and management moves with the D-H rule. Remember the D-H rule was a MINOR League move to get more young batters to get some experience while putting only nine guys on the field. The D-H should not be used in the Majors. The American League accepted it at time when they needed to attract more people and to make their slow moving and uninteresting games. I agree with fast eddy. It is a step backwards.

  13. salvo - Apr 22, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    Carpenter admitted he was out of line…I think he was mostly upset that he just got painfully drilled on the forearm, one inning after another teammate, the red-hot Ryan Ludwick (who had homered twice the night before) was hit… I can understand the emotional reaction.
    He apologized, he’s human, let it go.
    And even though he may refer to himself as a .100 hitter, he DID hit a decent .175 last year with four extra-base hits, including a grand slam.
    Pitchers come through often enough—which only adds to the unpredictability and excitement of the NL game—that there’s no need for a DH. On average in 2009, pitchers reached base 18 times per 100 plate appearances, and struck out just under a third of the time. The typical AL DH reached base 34 times per 100 plate appearances and struck out just under a fourth of the time. The fact that a pitcher reaches base almost one out of every five times up is enough evidence that they belong right where they are (in the NL, at least): playing their position in the field alongside their teammates, and taking their turn at the plate, along with their teammates.

  14. GimmesomeSteel - Apr 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    You’ve never been hit by a pitch, have you?

  15. Joe - Apr 22, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Ummm, why didn’t Carp just nail Jackson on his next trip to the plate? Or is Carp too professional for that?

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