Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's All Fun and Games, Right?

I've been talking about anger and rage a lot on this blog lately. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

During last Thursday night's San Diego Padres/Los Angeles Dodgers game, a massive brawl broke out when Dodgers' pitcher Zack Greinke plunked batter Carlos Quentin with a pitch. Considering that this has been the third time Greinke has ever hit Quentin with a pitch, the air was hostile, and after a few words, Quentin charged the mound and the benches cleared. After all was said and done, the result was that Zack Greinke suffered a broken collarbone and would be sidelined for at least eight weeks. Due to his actions, Quentin received an eight-game suspension. Most players disagreed with this suspension, claiming that he had deserved much more than that, but apparently that's the way the cookie is going to crumble.
You can watch the throw-down HERE.

There's that saying that "it's all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out." I'm more than certain that these guys know their own strength, and displaying that strength in a situation like that can prove to be a really bad time. Quentin does seem apologetic about the matter; however, Greinke's teammates aren't so forgiving over this. There were teammates like Matt Kemp who would later go to the locker room and continue explosions of anger and disgust over the actions of the evening. A couple of ejections also occurred after the brawl. To say the least, it was rather ugly. While this wasn't as involved and as big of a brawl like the Canada/Mexico powwow from last month, it raises a pretty hairy question: Who governs these actions on the field? Are they justified?

I hear "charge the mound" and I think of this. Nothing happens. It's just funny.

The sport of baseball has been more or less a "self-governing sport," where it's placed upon the men of the sport to express self-control and judgment toward a call they express indifference toward. While it's often used as a scare tactic, there might actually be a reason that there is a lack of "law enforcement" when it comes to instances such as charging the mound and the occasional meltdown on the field (here's looking at you, Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley). Here's my theory: you can't exactly take away anger from a guy. That almost "cuts the flow," so to speak. When you are zoned in while playing a sport, there could be that adrenaline rush where you have to keep in tap with yourself and...for the lack of a better term, just do it. My reasoning behind this is that there will be a time in which you see the most laid-back player on the team even going out and defending their teammate in case if something may happen. Believe me, guys don't just do it, either. It's nowhere near as frequent in softball, but you will see these instances in other forms in the female counterpart. If you just so happen to take away these options from a player, he could just possibly implode on the inside.

Here's the part where you argue with me and say: "Well, Jackie Robinson got hit almost all the time and he never charged the mound! He's the better man!" Okay, don't get me wrong, he had the works of a saint, but there was a reason why he never did. Just think: he was the first black man to play in the Major League, and he not only got hit because of his color, but because of the possible repercussions he would get if he actually fought back. There was a pretty hefty chance he would have been sent back to the Negro Leagues if he ever acted on getting hit by a pitch. While he gained the respect of many people for what he did and it made him look like the better man, I feel rather bad that he was put in the position he was in and couldn't defend himself in the usual human fashion. Believe me, if someone thought it was funny to try and hit me with a pitch (and I won't lie, it flippin' hurts) I would try and respond to that in my own way. Well, charging the mound wouldn't be my first choice--let's get that out of the way now. Truthfully, I would do it by kicking the living snot out of them in my game play. He did just that too, and it worked to say the least.

In rebuttal, we also have to bring this fact up: stuff like this causes freak injuries. If you watch the footage of this rumble, you'll see that Quentin and Greinke tackled each other like they were two antelope bashing their heads together and experiencing a stalemate. While I'm not 100% sure that's how Greinke broke his collarbone, it's the most logical way he could have during the video. Sometimes doing the most natural of things will hurt you while doing the dumbest of things won't hurt you at all. It's life form of irony, really. All joking aside, the main argument against the self-government of baseball is that these instances can, in fact, cause these freak injuries and other rotten business that teams don't really feel like putting up with. Even though there's the saying that "rules were made to be broken," a couple of new regulations could keep men in line and keep them from getting those stupid injuries. It can also cut down on suspensions and fines as well. Is it going to make any of these athletes feel like less of a man? Probably not.  While I'll admit that there might be "unwritten rules" to begin with, it should still be mentioned that there are dangers and consequences to blind anger and defense of pride. Everything has a price, you know.

I guess you can't take away someone's pride, anger, and grudge when you're on the field, but there's a way to avoid any massive conflicts that may occur on the field. The natural instinct in me loves to see a fight every once in a while, but it's really not that fun anymore once someone gets seriously injured. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who is like this, either. Charging the mound and the fights that ensue are almost like a ticking time bomb--you have no idea when they'll happen, but there's a chance that it's going to be ugly and bodies are going to be flying every which way. The game of baseball really is all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out, but you can't force a person to not feel dissent or overpowering regulations, ultimately watering down their adrenaline and grit in play.

It's enough to hurt someone's head. Or collarbone. Whatever.