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Let’s leave the frontier justice in the past, OK?

Aug 22, 2013, 5:44 PM EDT

Alex Rodriguez Getty Images

Don’t give me garbage for ripping on another writer here. The writer in question, Gregg Doyel of CBS, invited me to. Indeed, we talked about it on Twitter like civil gentleman. Turns out we both live in Ohio too, and we’re gonna meet for lunch sometime. It’ll be quite the scene. We’ll talk about why Heyman hates me so much and why Scott Miller — who may be the single most polite person I’ve ever spoken with in baseball media — has sorta lost his crap lately over A-Rod and Puig. It could be informative.

And I’m not ripping as such. This is all Doyel’s opinion and he’s entitled to it. I just take issue with part of its premise.  The upshot: he thinks it’s great that Ryan Dempster threw at A-Rod and applauds this “policing of the game” as he puts it:

Ryan Dempster threw at Alex Rodriguez the other night, and kept throwing at him until he hit him, and baseball suspended him for it and the Yankees hated it and I loved it.

That’s OK to say, right? That I loved the way Dempster went after A-Rod? … Liking what Dempster did to A-Rod feels sensible. Because what Dempster did to A-Rod looked sensible. It looked right.

Again, his take to which he’s entitled. I don’t think he’s alone either, as a lot of people felt that way while watching on Sunday, even if they weren’t nearly as excited about it as Doyel seems to be.

What I do take issue with is his belief that this sort of thing is harmless:

I’m not talking about beaning the guy. I’m not talking about throwing a pitch at his head. I’m talking about the kind of thing pitchers do all the time, burying a fastball in an offending player’s butt. It happens. Part of the game, all that.

source: Getty ImagesTo that I’d merely ask Doyel to look at Jason Heyward, who is sitting in a hospital room with two plates freshly implanted in his fractured jaw today. Jon Niese obviously was not trying to hit Heyward in the head. He was aiming at the strike zone or, at the very most, somewhere a bit inside. But if a fastball intended to go into the catcher’s glove can get away from a good pitcher and inadvertently sail into another guy’s head, a fastball intended for “an offending player’s butt” could do so even more easily.

Put another way: given how insanely damaging a baseball can be when it hits a batter’s body, why on Earth should anyone be advocating for it to be done on purpose?

If you want the game “policed” fine, let it be policed. Let it be policed by the Joint Drug Agreement, the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the players and league officials who put it in place.  But let’s leave the frontier justice in the past where it belongs.

  1. commonsenseisnotcmonman - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    100% agree with you Craig. I think as the younger players come up and get away from the 80s and 90s heydey players, this hopefully, will become less of an issue.

    • joestemme - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      F#$@ A-Roid. And, drill him, too.

      • badintent - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:28 AM

        Drill Ortiz in his fat ass, where his brains are.And the rest of the choking Sox team. Rays take first , Yankees wildcard.

  2. lanflfan - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I’ll agree that HBP is part of the game, but intentionally drilling another player and risking injury is a little extreme (even for aRoid). If players truly want to “clean up the game”, then they should have pushed for even stiffer penalties (like a 100 game ban on first offense then lifetime ban on second). They should also push for stiffer penalties in the Minor Leagues, the NCAA, and in high school leagues (tougher I know due to contracts and all) in an effort to stop the problem before it starts. And they should continue to push behind the scenes in MLB, using some positive peer pressure to ferret out the rats still using.

    Careers, and lives, can end on the wrong side of a high and tight fastball.

  3. heyblueyoustink - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    I’ll give you garbage whenever I damn well want.

    • APBA Guy - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      The incomparable Shirley Manson is always welcome.

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        Oh yeah…Shirley Manson. Big, big fan.

  4. Cris E - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    The part I disliked was when it turned out Dempster was not doing it from any moral high ground, but because of some perceived act of disrespect straight out of Jr high school. Four tosses in on (or at) a hitter is way more than fair for an event where no words were exchanged. Grow up.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      And this is where we differ Cris. I like it BECAUSE of the reason.
      For Dempster to have done it because of Rodriquez playing while under appeal would have been a total contradiction to the rules, regulations, etc… of their bargained rights to do so.
      Again…Dempster’s Union bargained for this right and he would absolutely want the right to play should he be appealing a ruling. He felt Rodriquez disrespected him. So he drilled him.
      Simply put…he handled it the way HE felt it should be handled. The only issue I had was the number of attempts he took to accomplish his goal. He shoulda’ just thrown at him once and if he missed he shoulda’ just thrown at him again his next opportunity (be it the next AB or the next time the teams meet).

      Bring on the thumbs downs.

  5. okwhitefalcon - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    I had a an extremely well thought out reply until I watched the Garbage vid and decided my time would be better spent YouTube’ing more Garbage vids.

    My Shirley Manson fan-man condition has been reignited taking me back to October 1998, Cains Ballroom – Tulsa, OK.

    Helluva gig.

    • heyblueyoustink - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      Not a damn thing wrong with a healthy Shirley Manson condition.

  6. motorcitydiddy - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    A question for Mr. Doyle when you meet, would he have preferred ARod charged the mound or simply went in high on Pedroia at 2B to merit out his justice? And if Dempster has such great control, why didn’t he hit him on the first pitch? If you’re going to hit a guy, hit him and get it over with. It’s fashionable to hate ARod but it has to take at least some guts to stand there 3 more times after the first pitch.

    • Glenn - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      As a Sox fan, I hated the whole sequence (except for the drama of it). Dempster hurt his team, paved the way for a loss, gave A-Rod the chance to be a revenge hero, and sort of made A-Rod a sympathetic character. No upside for Dempster or the Sox that I can see. I dislike the Yankees as much as any other sports team, but they always seem to be above petty nonsense like this.

      • joestemme - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:41 PM

        I’d agree if this was anyone BUT A-Roid (ok, maybe Braun). But, those two have gone above and beyond in disgracing the league.

  7. blacksables - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    It had nothing to do with baseball or what happens on the field. Dempster is a punk.

  8. thebadguyswon - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Greg Doyle’s schtick is to always play snarky Devil’s advocate. Half the time he’s hard to take seriously because you’re never sure if he believes what he writes or not.

    • jm91rs - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      I agree. I enjoy him because I don’t take it too seriously. He’s like a comedian with a lot of sports knowledge.

  9. jdrew506 - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Until the players and the union agree to allow blood testing instead of urine testing they are all full of sh*t when they say they want to clean up the game. If they really want to clean up the game shut up about it and prove it with your blood

    • raysfan1 - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:12 PM

      There already is some blood testing as it is the only way to test for HGH.

    • badintent - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      Count Dracula agrees !!

  10. gmenfan1982 - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    I 100% agree. There is just no point to a bean ball war to begin with. At least in this case the Yankees and Arod had the last laugh. Arod scored after the HBP, hit a homer in the 6th, AND the Yankees won.

  11. lawson1974 - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    How about we don’t leave the proper policing of the game (between the lines) in the past, Craig.

  12. Carl Hancock - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    I have no problems with a good beaning in certain situations. That doesn’t mean I agree with what Dempster did. But I have no problem with players protecting their own and sending a message if they think they are being disrespected or shown up blatantly. You have to respect the game and that also means respect your opponent. If you don’t, you might find yourself drilled in the ass. But pitchers typically don’t put everyone on these types of pitches. The pitches that typically hit a player and cause injuries are pitches that get away from the pitcher when he’s put a lot behind it. Pitchers HAVE to pitch inside. It’s part of the game. They have to make the batter feel uneasy. They have to intimidate. Throwing inside is part of that. The pitcher wants the batter to fear them. or at least thats the case with power pitchers. obviously this isnt the case with a knuckleballer Unfortunately sometimes that means the ball gets away and it’s in those situations that it typically results in an injury. You’d be hard pressed to find instances of an intentional beaning the caused serious injury to a player. Seriously, look into it. It doesn’t really happen. So before you discount intentionally beaning a player as archaic, maybe you should learn a little more about pitching psychology and why pitchers pitch inside. That is what results in injuries and that is never going away, nor should it. It’s part of the game. As it should be. Payers get hurt. It happens. It’s baseball. If you don’t like it, go report on your local t-ball league instead.

  13. eagles512 - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    Doyle is a d’bag

    • unclemosesgreen - Aug 23, 2013 at 7:01 AM

      Hey – I like Sherlock Holmes.

  14. unclemosesgreen - Aug 23, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    Craig – if you’re going to lunch with Doyel there’s a 97% chance you’ll have a good time – but there’s also a 3% chance you’ll wish you had stashed a roll of quarters in a sock somewhere. He’s had some ‘memorable’ radio appearances.

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