Where I come from, baseball is king. It is a game you start to play at a young age, picking up a bat about as soon as you can walk, and throwing a ball before you can talk. Above all else though, we were taught to respect the game.
From our fathers who followed the likes of Nettles, Mick "The Quick" and Willie, to our grandfathers who remember the days of Mays, Mantle, and Robinson all playing within miles of one another, baseball was a game you learned to play hard and well. You run out every grounder, hustle for every ball in the outfield, and take that extra base when you can. Most importantly, no matter how intense the game gets, you shake the hand of your opponent after the final out was recorded.
In today's world, it seems the idea of respect is fading fast, especially in the world of sports. Showing up the other team has become commonplace, and fighting in sports is at an all-time high. With it all comes the further degradation of our society, and it is something we simply should not tolerate.
I came home tonight and did what I often do, put on the YES network to watch my Yankees play. Having listened to the first inning on the car ride home, I knew the team was already off to a solid start. After a quick top of the second, the Yanks were again coming to bat with a 3 run lead. Little did I know that I was just minutes from pure anger and frustration, and it would have nothing to do with a strikeout with runners in scoring position.
After Curtis Granderson hit a home run to extend the lead to 4, I watched in awe as Fausto Carmona did something utterly despicable. Not even waiting a pitch, Carmona let out his frustration in an unwarranted act. Mark Teixeira's at-bat was cut short as Carmona's first pitch took a direct route towards Teixeira's head. Luckily for the Yankee first baseman, he was able to react fast enough for the ball to only hit his shoulder, not his head.
Understandably, Teixeira was heated after this pitch and immediately started jawing with the Indians pitcher. Both benches emptied and the managers yelled at each other like an unhappy couple on the brink of divorce. It was a sad sight to see, and it all spurned from a callous act that I'll never understand.
Detractors will call it gamesmanship, but I call it cowardice. Curtis Granderson hurt Carmona with the longball, yet Mark Teixeira felt the ramifications of the blast. Have you ever gotten yelled at by your boss and then taken your anger out on someone else? Is that EVER fair to the other person? The same idea applies here.
Gamesmanship would be throwing inside to Teixeira when he got up the next time around. There is nothing wrong with brushing a player back with a fastball between the belt and letters to let them know that you haven't forgotten their longball and that it won't happen again. There IS something wrong with going for the head though as it is never ok to headhunt EVER. Gamesmanship stops at the chest, no questions asked.
Still, what sickened me the most is that Carmona got off with simply a warning. The guy clearly threw at a player's head and wasn't asked to leave the game. This is completely unacceptable to me and it ruins the integrity of the game. My proposal to Major League Baseball is this, protect your players by instituting a simple rule:
"if a pitcher retaliates from any actions with a pitch that hits the next opposing player in the head, that pitcher is automatically ejected from the game".
This should be a no-brainer. An innocent bystander does not deserve to get hit in the head, especially not due to his teammate's success. It is childish behavior to throw at an oppoents head out of frustration and it should be punished. I was embarassed to watch the events that took place tonight and I hope I don't have to see it again.
When I watch baseball, I expect to see it played the way I was taught to play it, hard but clean. Beaning guys in the head is not clean and it needs to stop. I sincerely hope that baseball will look to change this phenomenon, or at the very least, maybe pitchers will learn the difference between gamesmanship and stupidity.