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The Mets blew their chance to punish K-Rod

Aug 17, 2010, 9:40 AM EDT

As I mentioned yesterday, I don’t think the Mets have the right to void K-Rod’s deal pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I don’t even think they’ll try, honestly.

But there are growing calls today for the Mets to at least attempt to void his deal or do something else drastic. Lupica’s column is the first one I’ve read, but I’m sure there are others. I’ve talked to no small number of Mets fans in the past 12 hours who think the Mets should try. I totally understand the sentiment.

The sentiment certainly sits atop the moral and ethical high ground, with that ground being the notion that violence and aggression like that (allegedly!) shown by Rodriguez has no place in a major league clubhouse or on a major league payroll. It’s an admirable bit of high ground too. If I were running a baseball team I’d attempt to take such a stand in the event my players were involved in such things, even if the odds of success were low given the CBA and precedent.

But the Mets blew their chance to take such a position. They suspended him for two games, yes, but as soon as the suspension was over they pitched him. If they thought his act was so bad they could have done what the Cubs did with Carlos Zambrano or the Mariners did with Milton Bradley and placed him on the restricted list and told him to stay away from the team.  Instead, they essentially said “we’re fine with whatever K-Rod did, as long as he can pitch.”

In light of that stance, I don’t see how — ethically speaking — the Mets can now voice the kind of disapproval the columnists and Mets fans are genuinely exhibiting.  Any move against K-Rod now would be borne of disappointment that their closer can’t pitch, not disapproval of his untowards acts.  It would be an act of opportunism, really.

Am I out to lunch here? Is punching a guy out less of a transgression if the guy doing the punching doesn’t get hurt?  If so, sure, go ahead Mets. I just don’t think it’s so.

UPDATE: Rosenthal has some less philosophical thoughts about the mechanics of punishing K-Rod over all of this.

  1. BC - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    I was at the Mets-Phillies game on Saturday. Realizing that probably 1/4 of the fans there were Phillies fans, he was still completely booed to high heaven when he came in. He pitched fine, one inning, no damage, and not the usual walk-the-bases-loaded-then-get-out-of-it thing. And now he’s out for the year? I don’t get it. Something’s up. I wonder if the illustrious Mets brass just shut him down because they don’t want to hear the booing or read the bad press.
    This whole team is sdfgosfgeftrhftraporihjh. Maybe I’ll become a Feesh fan.

  2. AndCounting - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    Last I checked the Mets are a baseball team, not a church. For them to suspend K-Rod for simply doing something untoward wouldn’t be moral or ethical, it would be prudish and hypocritical. No one else in the Mets organization ever punched someone before? Somehow I doubt it.
    The reason the overreactions and calls to bring K-Rod to justice have exploded so furiously is that this happened in the Mets clubhouse. The public learned of the incident almost immediately, and everyone has pretty much assumed they know the whole story. If the Mets suspended K-Rod right away, it wouldn’t have been on moral grounds, it would have been out of retaliation for being embarrassed. The crime he’s being punished for isn’t the punching, it’s the stupidity of punching a family member while the media was still swarming nearby.
    The Mets are justifiably more upset that K-Rod is injured than that he is a bad person. The Mets, like any organization, are loaded with bad people who don’t get summarily ostracized and judged because they have the good sense to be more private with their filthiness. The Mets can handle the PR hit, they usually have about two a week. Doing something stupid among his family is K-Rod’s business. Doing something stupid that gets him hurt and costs the Mets their closer for the rest of the season is actually measurably injurious to the Mets as a baseball team.
    They didn’t sign K-Rod to be a freaking priest, they signed him to be a pitcher. Everyone knew he wasn’t the former, but it’s his fault he can no longer be the latter. They want to take action, not on moral or ethical grounds, but on (gasp) baseball grounds. Why is that wrong?

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    I’m not sure I follow the logic of this entire argument. K-Rod beat up his father-in-law. He got hurt while doing it. How can they NOT be allowed to void the contract? He wasn’t hurt while playing. He was hurt doing an illegal act. What does them pitching him on Saturday have to do with it, since they obviously didn’t know how hurt he was? If that’s the way the contracts are written, then they are pretty stupid. Wouldn’t it make sense to have in there “If you get hurt doing something ILLEGAL, your contract is VOID!!!” Geeze, that sounds like common freaking sense to me.

  4. Simon DelMonte - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    I might be alone in this, but I am not upset by how the Mets handled this. And truth be told, I don’t have any problem with bringing K-Rod back. He did something dumb, he’s paying the price, and hopefully he will learn from his mistake.

  5. Art Deco - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    I’m not so sure I see your argument here as that damning for the Mets. It’s one thing for K-Rod to pull the antics he did, it’s another for those antics to lead to injury that leaves him unable to perform under this contract. Many players take part in prohibited activities (e.g., motorcycle riding, pickup hoops) but nobody talks about voiding their contract unless they get injured in the process of partaking in them.
    Now obviously there’s a causation question here since he pitched in the interim, but if his injury is related to the non-baseball activity there’s nothing wrong with them pursuing their contract rights.

  6. Old Gator - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    And we’d be proud to have you. Any day. Just sign here where it says you will not buy a ticket to go see them play as long as Scrooge McLoria owns the team….

  7. BC - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    It wasn’t even so much that K-Rod did this in the clubhouse, he did it in the family area of the clubhouse, in front of players’ wives and children. If he got in a bar fight somewhere on his own time, that’s one thing. Or if he and another teammate went at it in the dugout, that’s another thing. What he did and where he did it and who he did it in front of make all the difference. I don’t think there’s any way the contract could be voided. The Mets should have just suspended him like 10 games without pay. I do have a sneaking suspicsion that something is up behind the scenes here – he threw fine the other night, and now he’s done for the year??? I think something quietly is being done to just shut him down and let him regroup, and let this thing fizzle out.

  8. Simon DelMonte - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Thank you for saying this.

  9. BC - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    Deal.

  10. BleedGreen - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    I was at the game saturday too, and as a Phillies fan, I’d estimate it was more than 25% Phils fans. The amount of Phils gear I saw people wearing, the ‘Lets Go Phillies’ chants were just as loud as the Mets chants. First time I’ve been to Citi Field and its a pretty nice field. The Mets fans around us were pretty nice and welcoming too. I was surprised.

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    I also drove up for the game Saturday. Have to disagree about one thing…CitiField is an absolute pit. First, I thought I stepped into the Phone Book with all the ads they have around the field. And where they have no ads, everything is painted BLACK!!! It is about as ugly a brand-new field as I have ever seen. I remember how great Camden Yards looked when it first opened. And Citizens Bank Park is 100 times better than Citi Field. Even the Pirates field is better than Citi Field.

  12. AndCounting - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    I see your point, but I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate that he did all of this in front of women and children. For as public as the incident supposedly was, I feel like the details are pretty sketchy. From what I can tell, it was the aftermath of the fight, as Rodriguez was pushed out of the lounge where the fight initiated, that was witnessed by players’ wives and children. They should not have been exposed to that. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone what he did at all. It was extremely unprofessional and unquestionably wrong. I just think it’s too easy and tempting for writers to condemn him as the most evil person in the world by painting him in the worst possible light. He was yelling — in front of children! And here’s a list of every time he’s ever been mad or got into an argument with someone at a baseball game. I’m just not a fan of that kind of holier-than-thou journalism, especially when a lot of it comes from people’s inner fan that really just selfishly wants the Mets to get out of having to pay this guy.

  13. BC - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    The Pirates field rocks. Not a big Camden Yards or Jacobs Field fan. Citi Field is meh. They overdid it with some stuff, and rushed getting it done. But anything is a vast upgrade over Shea, and the food is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times better.
    PS. Also saw a great brawl Saturday night in left center field. Two or three rows of fans just going K-Rod on each other. It was a beauty.

  14. BC - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Hey, if they can get the $11mil off their books next year, why not? They can find a closer somewhere else. And they’re not winning anything this year or next, anyway…

  15. w2lucky - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    THis continues to be a reflection on the leadeship of the Mets. Why would you or I expect their managemenrt to make a smart decision regarding this criminal (and don’t think for a second that he is not) if they can’t make smart decisions regarding their players. I have been a Mets fan since 67, and I have never felt as disgusted with the Mets management as I do now. Their attitudes, their player acquisitions, their injury management, their comments and actions when the players perform like _ss on the field; it all adds up to the fact that I’m embarrassed to tell people they are my team. It all started with Omar Minaya coming aboard. I’ll be grateful the day he gets replaced. Until then, I’m glad football season is starting because I’m tired of getting angry at the Mets Owners and GM and I can’t take any more of these clowns this year. Give K-Rod the keys to the city for all I care.

  16. willmose - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    There is no excuse for what K-Rod; however, it was actually happened during a fight between the two men in response to something said about K-Rod’s mother. To me that is much more excusable then what Johnny Cueto did. He kicked a guy in the head with his spikes on, twice, possibly ends the guy’s career in MBL. No arrest, miss one turn in rotation, pay a small fine. Nobody in Cinny is talking about voiding Cueto’s contact.

  17. Glenn - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    You beat me to this. The argument is logical – the Mets should void his contract not because he can pitch, but because he can’t.

  18. YankeesfanLen - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    I just wish radio announcers would at least speak clearly and use complete names when doing headline stories.
    For example, when a BP update comes up, I hear “Fat Allen” instead of Thad Allen, and immediately conjour up an image of aBill Cosby character.
    Now I hear “[rhymes with A]Rod out for season” and have an attack.

  19. Benny Blanco - Aug 17, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Your crazy. Your negativity about everything involved with the Mets makes me wonder where these ridiculous comments come from. Did the Mets do something bad to you? Did a Met player smack you around as a kid? Did one date your sister and treat her poorly?
    Obviously you have the right to your opinion, but I have heard from many other people who enjoyed being at Citifield and have no complaints about its aesthetic beauty, myself included.
    Ttry to enjoy life. You’ll live longer.

  20. Benny Blanco - Aug 17, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    I agree. Both inexcusable, but Cueto deserves much worse in response to his actions. LaRue should sue for the lacerations to his face.

  21. ryanbyrne19 - Aug 17, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    Denny Neagle .. that’s all I gotta say

  22. Professor Longnose - Aug 17, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    I’ve never bought a ticket to a Marlins game. Does that make me a fan? I didn’t even buy a ticket to Roy Halliday’s perfect game.

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