Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are aware of what happened this weekend in Pittsburgh between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Derek Dietrich hit a baseball into the river off of Chris Archer, and he admired his work. Apparently for a bit longer than Chris Archer liked.

What happened in his next at-bat was predictable, only in baseball. Chris Archer threw the ball at Derek Dietrich. He missed by a few inches and the ball went behind the Reds first baseman on the day. The umpire walked aggressively out from behind the plate and gave Archer a warning. That warning, however, enraged Cincinnati manager David Bell.

Bell stormed out of the dugout wondering how that didn’t result in an immediate ejection from the game was it’s very apparent that he was indeed throwing the baseball at his player. Things just got crazier from there as Joey Votto had to hold back Yasiel Puig from attacking several players on the Pirates squad. And then at another point poor Tucker Barnhart did his best to do the same, but came up short on the shoestring tackle at the plate of his teammate who was ultimately stopped from fighting all of the Pittsburgh organization.

In the end, several players and Reds manager David Bell were ejected from the game. Yasiel Puig and Amir Garrett were among the Cincinnati players who were asked to watch the rest of the game from the clubhouse. Somehow, in the what felt like 10-minute non-fight, no punches seemed to be thrown.

After the game the media wanted to talk with everyone. And that they did. Here’s a few clips from MLB.com from David Bell, Yasiel Puig, and Derek Dietrich from the clubhouse following the game.

It’s just completely unacceptable for anyone to intentionally try to hurt one of our players. It’s that simple. And it was obvious.

Those were the words of manager David Bell. And he’s right. Intentionally throwing a baseball at someone can, and does injure them. Yeah, sometimes it doesn’t and it’s just an “oh man, that hurt” situation and they shake it off and wear a bruise for a week. Other times Joey Votto takes a pitch off of the knee and isn’t the same the rest of the season.

I know it’s a part of the game. But, just lucky it didn’t hit me anywhere it could hurt me. The ball can do some damage. I’m just trying to do damage to the ball.

Those were the words of Derek Dietrich. And like Bell, he’s right. Mostly. The ball can do some damage, and he is lucky it didn’t hit him. And technically, he’s right, that it is a part of the game.

Amir Garrett, the Reds reliever who was ejected from the game, said this afterwards:

“Good thing punches weren’t thrown,” Garrett said. “I think it would be a bad day for them with me and Puig in there. It’s squashed. Just move forward from here. I don’t see anything going further from here.”

It’s squashed. Just move forward from here. I don’t see anything going further from here.

But let’s talk about the line from Derek Dietrich about how it’s a part of the game. And let’s talk about just how stupid it is that it’s a part of the game.

Why is it in baseball that you can’t enjoy the game a little bit without the other team literally trying to hurt you for doing so? That doesn’t happen in basketball. It doesn’t happen in football. It doesn’t happen in soccer. This is only something that happens in baseball. Show a little too much enjoyment over a play and get ready to eat a fastball. And it’s the dumbest thing in sports.

The Cincinnati Reds manager is saying the right things. Amir Garrett said the right thing. And now it’s time for them to be true to their words. Throwing a baseball at someone is something done out of anger. It’s the reaction of a child who didn’t get their way. Except these aren’t children. And they aren’t throwing the lego block at the ground and throwing a temper tantrum because there’s no more tv time. Throwing a baseball at someone can truly injure another person. And doing so should be completely unacceptable.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds face off again at the end of May when the Pirates open up a series with a day-night double header on the 27th. Given the words of David Bell, the words of Amir Garrett, the Reds should absolutely not retaliate and throw at a Pirates hitter. If for some reason the Pirates go crazy and throw at your player, go out to the mound and get after it. I certainly don’t condone fighting, either, but at least in that scenario one has the ability to defend themselves. Throwing a baseball at someone simply doesn’t leave time to react most of the time.

It will be interesting to follow along from May 27th through May 29th when the two teams match up four times. But from where I sit, if the Reds pitchers throw at a Pirates hitter – even if it’s Chris Archer – they are going to be called out by me for it. It’s a never ending cycle of stupid until someone decides to just stop doing it. Act like adults.

What is the national media saying?

Bill Baer writes for NBC Sports and he’s on board with Major League Baseball suspending Chris Archer and “making it count”.

MLB needs to suspend Archer — and make it count. Oftentimes, starters are suspended five or six games for stunts like Archer’s. It sounds like a hefty amount of games, but since starters only appear in one out of every five games, the punishment is effectively just a one-game suspension. Lately, it’s been more like a zero-game suspension since teams just reorder their rotations and let the starter pitch as soon as he is eligible. Which is why MLB needs to suspend Archer for a lot more than five or six games.

And he’s not wrong. Starting pitchers basically don’t miss a game at all when they are suspended for 5 or 6 games. If you start suspending them for two weeks, or more, then this kind of stuff will stop happening. At that point it actually hurts the game to do this and face suspension.

 

46 Responses

  1. Michael

    I’ve thought for years that if you intentionally throw at someone it should be an immediate 10+ game suspension. There is no excuse for that, and all it does is further enhance the MLB reputation as a backasswards no fun league. You shouldn’t get 95 in the ribs because you celebrate a 450 foot home run.

    Reply
  2. Simon Cowell

    First, the umpire calling the game should be fired. The problem would have been instantly solved if Archer was immediately ejected.
    Secondly, Archer should not be suspended but rather restricted from starting 5 games and pitching more than 5 innings over the next month. Make it count and that would do it.

    Reply
    • Bill

      Simon is right…two culprits here. Archer is the instigator and MLB should issue a steep suspension that takes him out of multiple starts. The manager should also be suspended for at least one game—he bears some responsibility for his players discipline or lack there of.

      The umpire blew this. He should have immediately ejected Archer. MLB should suspend the umpire as well; his inaction let the situation escalate and prevented Archer and the Pirates largely off the hook for something that would be criminal behavior off the field. Unacceptable!

      Reply
    • Scott C

      I agree totally. They can review everything else, it seems to be this could be reviewable. Watching it in slow motion, there is very little doubt Archer threw at Dietrich. There was no “yanking” of the pitch.He threw it behind him. Again if he miss-throws it and hit Dietrich in the knee we probably lost another player for awhile. Hopefully MLB will send a strong message and suspend Archer for a considerable time. I think it should be scheduled when they play Cincinnati.

      Reply
  3. Klugo

    If they want to get back at them, then beat their brains in on the field.
    The most embarrassing part of that whole debacle was the butt whooping they laid on us AFTER the 4th inning.

    Reply
  4. Nep O'Tism

    Or, just hear me out here… the Reds wait until Michael Lorenzen is on the mound wearing a Ted Kluszewski-style sleeveless jersey (when they wear the ’56 throwbacks) before getting revenge and see if anyone is willing to charge the mound.

    Honestly I just love a good mound charge. It’s almost like the player version of a base-throw by a manager. Granted Lorenzen is probably too nice of a guy and I doubt anyone is willing to charge him with the way he’s jacked.

    Reply
    • Joe D

      I’m not trying to be a troll here but I kind of enjoy an intentional-near-miss and the ensuing “brawl”. I’m not saying I like people to get hurt or endorse what Archer did. I just really enjoy the competitiveness and fire players show during these events. Let’s face it, baseball is a more subdued and refined game than say football. A little friction between teams only deepens my love of the sport.

      Reply
      • MK

        They have made a little too boring with the replays putting an end to arguments. They were entertaining and fired up the crowd. Archer should have got hook immediately but I bet Puig gets a longer suspension.

    • Joe D

      Sorry nep o tism, I didn’t mean to respond to your comment. I dont know how to delete it.

      Reply
  5. Mjc

    I’m a die-hard reds fan like everyone here, but the guy at fault ,the guy who started it all was Dietrich. You don’t just stand there for a long time showing up the opposing pitcher.

    Reply
    • RojoBenjy

      So, you agree with Chris Archer that Dietrich deserved to be physically hurt in retaliation for hurting his feelings?

      Reply
      • Mjc

        That’s a Nojo, Rojo! I just said Dietrich is who got the mess started.

    • Klugo

      I disagree. Archer shows a emotion, plays with emotion, “has fun playing the game”, but the minute someone launches one into the river on him and “has fun” with it or shows emotion, he’s going to throw at him. There’s a double standard there.

      Reply
    • doofus

      I understand what you say, but why was Barry Bonds able to stand at the plate and admire his jacks for an extending time without retribution from the pitcher?

      Reply
  6. Wayne nabors

    Does anyone from mlb watch the tape of archer using pine tar,or does a team have to file an grievance

    Reply
    • Simon Cowell

      My thought is that the Pirates team is on life support. Pittsburgh is not a huge baseball town and they are less than 10 years away from losing a franchise. MLB will protect them.

      Reply
  7. Wes

    The clear loser of the situation was bell. At 20 I’d be all about going and fighting the pirates. At 38, no chance- not worth it. Not worth the consequences that come along w everything. Archer should have absolutely been tossed and suspended and that would have been the end of it if bell didn’t lead Puig and garret on a bull charge onto the field. After the game he still seemed so enraged he had no clue of really what happened and said he didn’t even know he got tossed. Unprofessional move by a man who wasn’t experienced enough to get the job title he has in the first place.

    Reply
  8. Phil

    Kind of a blessing that this controversial incident happened and the Reds are generally seen as being wronged… everyone spent the off day focusing on that instead of the dumpster fire that is this season so far. Nice diversion.

    Reply
  9. Oldtimer

    Teams will be warned before next game. Pitcher and manager will be tossed if anything happens.

    Reply
  10. Colorado Red

    However,
    You not just stand there and watch the ball fly.
    What would have Gibson done, if you did not.
    Note, I am a big Reds fan, but he was wrong.

    Reply
    • Simon Cowell

      That was prior to sabermetrics. Now everyone believes that stats alone are the way to play the game. Not saying I fully agree but intentionally trying to hit someone with a baseball should not be tolerated. You are talking millions of dollars in loss for the injury of even the worst of players. It’s not something that the MLB Players Union or the owners will tolerate. Can you imagine the level of anger if that ball hit Votto and ended his career? How much is owed on his contract that the team would lose?

      Reply
      • Doug Gray

        “Now everyone believes that stats alone are the way to play the game”

        WHAT?

  11. Cguy

    Very little should be done. Fact of the matter is that Dietrich wasn’t hit by Archer, & hit another HR later in that game. I have to say that Dietrich was “showboating” a little too much after the first HR. Bell’s reaction to Archer’s brush-forward pitch was also over done. The motivation by both could have been to inspire the Reds team. The ensuing contrived melee was mostly posturing by both sides. MLB should dish out some fines & stern warnings. No biggy- let’s play ball. Lastly, this team misses Scooter a lot. But if we can’t have Gennett, Dietrich is pretty good Scooter-lite.

    Reply
  12. Jon Ryker

    He threw behind Dietrich, on purpose, and didn’t come close to hitting him. Should have been nothing after that. He stared way too long, and a harmless message was given. Snowflakes and baseball don’t mix.

    Reply
    • docmike

      The only snowflakes here are Archer and Cervelli. They’re the ones who got their feelings hurt and decided to retaliate. Someone needs to tell both of them to grow up and be a man.

      If you don’t like someone admiring their home run ball, don’t groove one they can hit for a home run. Simple as that.

      Reply
  13. STEVEN

    Completely off the wall suggestion: Next time Archer pitches at GABP just keep showing the replay over and over and try to get in his head maybe.

    Reply
  14. IndyRedsFan

    1) Archer should not have thrown at Dietrich, and I hope he gets a long suspension.

    2) Having said that, I didn’t like Dietrich watching the home run. I’m definitely in the “let the boys play” camp, and I love to see people show emotion. If Dietrich had run around the bases clapping, pumping his fist, skipping, doing cartwheels whatever…that would have been fine with me.

    Standing and watching the ball (for the length of time he did) didn’t set well with me.
    I’m all for showing emotion, but standing and watching the ball is just showing off.

    Reply
  15. Big Ed

    Meh. Nobody got hurt here. The same type of thing actually does go on in football; a receiver, say, who showboats will get a cheap shot or two.

    Baseball is a team game, so exuberance that says “Look at Me!!!” is frowned on. Exuberance that celebrates a team accomplishment is not. Jose Bautista’s bat flip was team exuberance, as it completely changed an important game. (Rougned Odor may not have seen it this way, but I doubt he even saw the bat flip live.) Bryce Harper’s bat flip last week was a “Look-at-Me” finger in the eye of Washington fans, and was BS in my opinion.

    When your team is 1-7, any kind of posing after a mid-game homer comes across as a bit much. I don’t have any problem with Amir Garrett’s actions on the mound.

    Some individuality is fine, but I don’t want baseball to become like basketball. In the NCAA tournament, three-quarters of the dunks were followed by the dunker flexing himself and scowling. Uh, it’s two points; get back on defense. Do we really want Justin Verlander to throw off his glove after every strikeout, flex his muscles and scowl at the opposite dugout?

    Reply
      • Big Ed

        Maybe, but be careful what you wish for. The NFL officials have their hands full calling easy pass interference penalties. NCAA basketball referees don’t know double-dribbling when it happens right in front of them, and the traveling rule may as well not exist.

  16. SultanofSwaff

    I propose letting the umpire issue warnings or immediate ejection for taunting. His judgment, so if you have an issue take it up with him. Just like basketball.

    Reply
  17. Jefferson Green

    Excellent post, Doug. One of the great things about sport is that is helps us be inspired to push ourselves to be better at whatever we are doing (or ‘competing in’) in life. Letting anger take over so that we make destructive decisions makes us all collectively worse, and certainly harms the integrity of the sport.

    Reply
  18. AirborneJayJay

    Everybody seems to have missed one thing. It was the Pirates Catcher, Francisco Cervelli, who poured gasoline on this from the start. Cervelli was barking at Dietrich as he crossed home plate after the home run. Cervelli is the leader of the Pirates now. He called for that pitch to hit Dietrich. Not trying to absolve Archer, but it was a weak attempt to hit Dietrich. Archer, for the most part, is on a new team. His battery mate is Cervelli. Cervelli is the leader of the Pirates. If Archer was really that pissed about what Dietrich did, that pitch would have been inside on Dietrich’s hands. Archer was trying to oblige his teammate Cervelli. Cervelli is the culprit here.

    Reply
  19. ohiojimw

    First off borrow a page from hockey, yes, hockey, and stop the bench clearing nonsense. For several decades now, guys who go over the boards to join a scrum or fight have been subject to severe sanctions. The additional part of that rule is that a 3rd man into a scuffle is also hit hard with penalties. Apply that also in baseball.

    And yes, find a way to levy more efficient penalties against all pitchers who throw at hitters.

    Reply
    • doofus

      The difference between baseball and hockey fights: Hockey players know how to fight and do so. If both hockey benches empty onto the ice it would look like a scene from “Slap Shot.”

      It would seem that stopping “the bench clearing nonsense” is irrelevant. It does not matter how many players come onto the field because baseball players are wimps when it comes to throwing fists, nothing happens. Nolan Ryan being the exception.

      Reply
  20. doofus

    Heard someone comment that there is a history between Archer and Dietrich going back when they played for Rays/Marlins and Archer would be overly animated after he struck a hitter out.

    The drama, to be continued.

    Reply
  21. Krozley

    Puig gets 2 games and Archer gets one extra day off between starts. Ridiculous.

    Reply
  22. tseramid

    Long time Reds fan here. I’m going to play devil’s advocate for just a moment. When I saw the game, I thought that Dietrich’s reaction was “going to get the next batter in the lineup hit”. It’s not right, but that’s how history has handled the situation. Giving the Pirates a bit of credit (ick), they did not retaliate against anyone until he came up to bat the next time and then the pitch that was thrown was done so in a way that was not likely to hit anyone unless someone was well outside the on-deck circle. It wasn’t at his head or ribs, it was 3 feet behind his bum. While he could have backed into the pitch, it wasn’t likely that this was going to do major damage. In fact, it didn’t even look like Dietrich was all that torn up about the situation until hell started breaking loose. For me, I don’t like anyone throwing at anyone, but *if* you are going to send a message to someone, that was about as innocuous as I have seen.

    Reply
  23. Mjc

    The only person who deserves to get hbp (beaned) is the reds minor league poster ,who wanted to send Luis Castillo to minors few weeks ago. At least brush him away from his keyboard.

    Reply
  24. Hoyce

    I do condone fighting, it’s not like ur picking on an innocent child. Archer threw a ball 90+ behind Dietrich on purpose. He deserves to get pummeled. Don’t bring ur teammates in. Go out to the mound and pound his butt in the dirt Case closed. And guaranteed when people start getting their butts kicked (literally) on the mound. These actions will stop
    Just my $.02

    Come on – just type butts. This isn’t that difficult.

    Reply

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