May 16, 2012, 8:49 AM EST
Here’s an interesting philosophical question: if you get into one of those unwritten rules, Old School situations in which the other guy’s big star gets drilled and, you can expect, your big guy is going to get hit in retaliation, are you obligated to make your big guy bat and take that lump?
Terry Collins was faced with that situation last night. After Rickie Weeks hit a home run, Mets pitcher D.J. Carrasco drilled Ryan Braun with the next pitch. It certainly seemed intentional, and given that the ump immediately ejected Carrasco, he thought so too, Carrasco’s “it got away from me” post-game schitck notwithstanding.
But, as the Old School rules dictate, the score is not settled until someone gets hit in retaliation (never mind that either the homer or the ejection could be thought of as balancing out the scales; this is Sparta after all). It seems more likely that if the Brewers’ superstar got drilled, the Mets’ star would be hit in return. And David Wright was due up soon.
Except Collins didn’t let it happen. He pulled Wright for a pinch hitter, and explained his reasoning to the press after the game:
“You want to know why I took him out of the game?” Collins said later, his voice sharp and loud. “He wasn’t getting hurt … I’ve got news for you: In this game there are unwritten rules and one of the unwritten rules is, ‘You hit my guy — I’m hitting your guy.’ They were not hitting my guy tonight.”
Wright was visibly angry in the dugout when Collins yanked him. Collins later said that Wright said “if someone’s going to get hit, it’s going to be me.” Which I suppose is standup leadership of some twisted kind. Indeed, I’m reminded of Major Heyward allowing himself to be burned by the Huron Indians so Hawkeye and his pals can go free in “Last of the Mohicans.” Oh, Major Heyward, your bravery and sacrifice was ever so noble!
Anyway, the question I have is whether, in not allowing the unwritten rules play themselves out, Terry Collins, in fact, broke the unwritten rules. You double-cross once – where’s it all end? An interesting ethical question. Oh, and doesn’t this mean that Wright is now certain to get hit the next time the Mets and Brewers play? Was anything accomplished?
Gosh baseball is complicated.
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