Maybe Don't Launch Hard Objects At Other People's Heads?



When Boston Red Sox starter Chris Sale hurled a pitch behind the knees of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado Tuesday night, it marked the third instance of grown adults throwing baseballs at one another in response to a sin committed by Machado almost two weeks earlier. 

What did Machado do to deserve near-decapitation every few days, you ask? Did he kidnap Sale's children? Carry out an extramarital affair with the mother of another Red Sox player? Vandalize the Boston locker room with spray paint and smashed eggs?

None of the above, but his cleats did kind of scrape Dustin Pedroia's leg after a slide, I guess.

This honest mistake — for which Machado basically apologized mid-slide — sparked a blood feud with no end in sight. Actually, I take that back. I think Sale et al would probably ease off the gas pedal if Machado was forced to eat through a straw for the rest of his life.

After Tuesday's game, an eloquent Machado voiced his displeasure with the situation (NSFW audio, but if you're listening to your computer at work without headphones then you probably deserve whatever happens to you):

Sailor-mouthed Manny makes some salient points. My favorite part was when he called out the inequality of potential punishments for hitters and pitchers. Full fuckin' transcript:

"Go ahead. Fuckin' hit me. Don't let this shit keep lingering fuckin' around and you know, keep trying to fuckin' hit people. I mean it's fuckin' bullshit, it's fuckin' bullshit. MLB should do something about fuckin' pitchers out there with fuckin' balls in their hands throwing 100 miles per hour trying to hit people. I got a fuckin' bat too, I could go up there and crush somebody if I wanted to. But you know what, I'll get suspended for the year and the pitchers only get suspended for two games. That's not cool."

Throwing hard objects at another adult's head does seem like an absurd way to address workplace disagreements, especially when only one of the participants is allowed to use a weapon. But in professional baseball, there are plenty of things that could cause a player to find himself in fear of a cracked skull:

  • Admiring his own home run
  • Flipping his bat after a home run
  • Jogging too slowly around the bases after a home run
  • His cleats make contact with an opponent after an errant slide
  • Saying something rude from the dugout
  • Pointing in the general direction of the pitcher or any of his teammates
  • Making eye contact with the pitcher in a displeasing way
  • One of his teammates does any of the things mentioned above and he happens to bat next

That is a minefield of situations to avoid! Perhaps guys would be safer if they played blindfolded. Less effective, sure, but blindness eliminates about half the possibilities from that list.

Naturally, the powers that be in baseball would prefer folks discussed the sport itself, rather than silly "policing" of unwritten rules by the players. There's talk of more severely punishing this attempted murder, maybe with heftier fines and longer suspensions to discourage this behavior in the future. 

But what if we just got everybody in the same room and said, "hey maybe stop throwing baseballs at each other's heads?" A demonstration or two could be really effective. This is your brain. This is your brain when a baseball traveling 90 MPH collides with it. ::glass demonstration brain shatters on the ground:: |ES|

WANTED:   Manuel Arturo "Manny" Machado, right, for scraping Dustin Pedria's legs with his cleats on accident. REWARD: Nothing, really. The stakes aren't nearly as high as we're making them out to be. | AP

WANTED: Manuel Arturo "Manny" Machado, right, for scraping Dustin Pedria's legs with his cleats on accident. REWARD: Nothing, really. The stakes aren't nearly as high as we're making them out to be. | AP

Tim Kennedy Jr. was once smacked in the mouth with a ground ball at third base, which required his orthodontist to leave the golf course and pull Tim's teeth back into place with his fingers. It should be noted, the infield lip was irregular and very high.