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It ain’t just Harper: pitchers who throw at guys need to grow up too

Jun 7, 2011, 11:35 AM EDT

Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals Getty Images

In that first Bryce Harper post this morning I wrote:

Maybe he gets away with that kind of thing in A-ball. But if he doesn’t learn a bit of humility at some point on his journey to greatness, he’s going to get his ribs broken.

To be clear, that was a prediction, not a prescription, as I don’t approve of guys throwing at each other for slights real or imagined any more than I approve of hitters trying to show up pitchers.

Over at IIATMS today, Brien Jackson takes that idea and runs with it, explaining his disapproval at beanball wars (or mere plunk-fests) in more or less the same way I feel about it.

  1. Jonny 5 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    Strange…. A Cardinals picture on this post. Who-da thunk it?

    • spudchukar - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      Meaning?

      • spudchukar - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

        I’m quite sure you are correct, a curve that got away but plunked him square on the spine. Momentary pain, but he got over it.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        Meaning LaRussa is known to have his players plunk players more than most others do. How much more obvious can I be anyway? Most ball fans are aware of Tony “LaPlunker” LaRussa.

      • spudchukar - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:57 PM

        Most baseball fans also know B.S. when they hear it. But hey, if a Milwaukee writer spouts inaccuracies, you can be sure a rabbit eared Pheelie fan will hear it and claim it is gospel.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:06 PM

        Fans and players have talked about LaRussa plunking for years, don’t blame me. It’s not like I ever looked up the stats shown below. Blame guys like “Player x” who was quoted by ESPN. ESPN told me so.

      • spudchukar - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:17 PM

        2007 HBP Phil. 72 Stl. 73
        2008 HBP Phil. 57 Stl. 51
        2009 HBP Phil. 75 Stl. 53
        2010 HBP Phil. 57 Stl. 48
        2011 HBP Phil. 19 Stl. 21

        Looks like we got a lotta catchin’ up to do.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        LaRussa can’t even live up to his own hype! How Lame!

      • Phillies Homer - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        Not sure if HBP can really be the basis for determining if LaRussa is LaPlunker. I mean in a given season say LaRussa, in 20% of the games played, wants one of his pitchers to bean a guy… that’s only 32 games or say, 32 HBP.

        It could be just that Cardinals pitchers are really accurate and don’t bean many guys on accident??

        Just playing devil’s advocate here. Now if you had came up with stats for Intentional HBP, then you would have a more decisive argument.

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:27 PM

        Hey, spud, where are the stats on the batters HBPs? As opposed to the pitching stats you provided? The only year where the difference is sizable is 2009, when the Phightins were defending champs, and, ya know, people were gunning for them. And the Phils were hit 71 times, so maybe a good chunk of those were retaliation HBPs. Waddya think?

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:00 PM

      That appears to be the Kerry Wood plunking from Sat. At first, Pujols looked like he was gonna eat his face off, but then he quickly composed himself and jogged to first. He hit the first of his back-to-back walk-off HRs on the next at-bat.

      This brings me to Jeff Samdlfjadfjsajfdjfajafkajfklfakdjdsajfja;zdafdza (yes he has a semicolon in his last name). What the hell is he still doing in the majors? He’s only done negative things each time he’s pitched since like two years ago….not sure what they see in him anymore.

    • thefalcon123 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:39 PM

      Another case of reputation proceeding reality. The Cardinals annual NL rank in batters hit by their pitchers in the last four years:

      2011: 6th
      2010: 13th
      2009: 8th
      2008: 9th

      Turns out the Cardinals pitchers aren’t the plunkers their made out to me. They don’t get hit by pitches anywhere out of the norm either.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        That IS interesting.

        http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/121519059.html

      • Phillies Homer - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:11 PM

        What kinda amuses me is that these rankings are based on NL Teams only; which means your rankings are only out of 16 teams.

        So, only in 1 year in the rankings you just provided did the Cardinals rank towards the tops in the HBP (tops being least amount of HBP). And this ranking is this year… and there’s still plenty of games to be played to equalize this.

        Also keeping in mind the NL boasts some bad pitching staffs, while the Cardinals have been consistently pretty good over the past few years. Bad Pitching Staffs = Wild Arms = More HBP.

        I’m failing to see how “reputation proceeds reality” here. Your argument seems to fall right in line with the perception of the LaPlunk

  2. Charles Gates - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    If Harper blew a kiss to an opponent on the gridiron, we’d all be talking about his moxie. If he did it on the 18th, we’d all be talking about how it’s the evolution of Tiger’s fist pump. The media’s coverage of these sports is different than baseball’s. Football pumps you up (or whatever). Golf needed energy to attract a younger fanbase.

    Either way, it’s irrelevant to me. It’s all bad sportsmanship, and we should call it what it is. There are people that handle winning and losing with class. Then there are people that handle winning like losers.

  3. kellyb9 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    This is why god invented the national league. A place where you have to watch out your next AB if you throw at an opposing team player.

    • heynerdlinger - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:49 PM

      Well, unless you’re a reliever or it’s after the 5th and you’re going to be pinch hit for anyway.

  4. stoankold - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    “Brien Jackson takes that idea and runs with it, explaining his disapproval at beanball wars (or mere plunk-fests) in more or less the same way I feel about it.”
    Really? I guess pitchers are supposed to just let hitters crowd the plate and do whatever they please in terms of antics for home runs.
    All of this boils down to people being responsible for their own actions AND the consequences of those actions. You’ve already shown yourself to be better than the pitcher by hitting the home run. If you want to admire it and gloat, expect somebody to come calling on you.
    If the concept of mutual respect is that foreign, maybe everybody should do some growing up.

  5. Marcelo Shaw - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    This makes no sense. The baseball players get offended when this guy blows a kiss to the pitcher, but the pitcher throwing a 200 MPH in his ribs is completely acceptable? I guess that’s why so many people make a living out of writing about baseball, the ‘unwritten rules’ are usually quite stupid.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:16 PM

      200mph? Damn…that’s pretty fast.

  6. yettyskills - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Break my best players ribs and I will throw at the faces of your best two hitters.
    Now what?
    Bring it on

  7. natstowngreg - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Interesting that, in all the over-heated rhetoric about this, only one person bothered to mention the pitcher’s name. And that was someone who bothered to do a little research.

    Not condoning what Harper did, but it does seems a little one-sided.

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