It’s Time to End Beanball, Once and for All

Ubaldo Jimenez and Troy Tulowitzki engaged in a war of words over the winter. When the former teammates met on a baseball field in the last week of spring training, the war of words escalated. Jimenez pitched inside to Tulowitzki, hitting him on the elbow with a 90+ miles per hour fastball. Tulowitzki charged the mound. Jimenez came forward to challenge him. Benches cleared. When order was restored, Jimenez was on the mound and Tulowitzki was at the hospital getting x-rays. The umpires made no ejections and issued no warnings.

After the game, Rockies manager Jim Tracy called Jimenez “gutless.”  Jimenez said he did not intend to hit Tulowitzki. The Commissioner’s Office apparently disagreed, overruled the umpires and suspended Jimenez for five games, the equivalent of one start.

Change the names of the players. Change the teams involved. Change the circumstances leading to the beaning. It’s all about retaliation, a ritual as enmeshed in the fabric of baseball as stealing signs and never bunting to break up a no-hit bid. The Baseball Codes: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime, as baseball writer Jason Turbow called them in his best-selling book and on his on-going blog.

There’s a big difference, of course, between stealing signs and intentionally hurling a baseball more than 90 miles per hour at a player standing 60 feet, 6 inches away. The former may give the sign-stealing team an advantage in a game. The latter may seriously injure the batter, cutting short his season or his career. The danger is real and the practice needs to stop.

Ballplayers shouldn’t be permitted to do on a baseball field what could get them arrested if done on the street outside the ballpark. Throwing a baseball at someone at high speed with the intent to harm them is, at a minimum, assault and battery. It doesn’t matter if the person hit by the ball did something to anger the person who threw the ball, other than to provide a motive.

Moreover, it makes no sense for baseball to put their most expensive assets at risk. With utility guys making millions and superstars making hundreds of millions — all in guaranteed contracts — teams should be doing more to protect the health and safety of their players.

Other professional sports are slowly moving in that direction.

The NBA in the 1970s was a fighting sport, with players often throwing punches at each other on the court. The most famous punch, of course, was by Kermit Washington on Rudy Tomjanovich, causing Tomjanovich massive face and head injuries. But it took the NBA more than ten years to take serious measures against fighting.

The league instituted new rules in the 1990s prohibiting flagrant fouls and establishing a scaled system of punishment. A flagrant-1 foul is “unnecessary contact by a player against an opponent.” A flagrant-2 foul is “unnecessary and excessive contact.” Two flagrant-1 fouls in a game results in the player’s ejection. A player also accumulates points for each flagrant foul: one point for a flagrant-1; two points for a flagrant-2. A player with four or more points who commits a flagrant-2 foul is automatically suspended for two games. As of 2010, only one player had been suspended during the regular season for too many flagrant fouls. Noting that fights and flagrant fouls are way down, the NBA says the rules work as a deterrent.

Football, the ultimate contact sport, also has taken steps in recent years to protect players from the most damaging hits. Before 2010, the NFL usually just fined players for “devastating hits” and “head shots.” As the frequency of the hits and the severity of the resulting injuries increased, the NFL started suspending players for one, sometimes two, games. In a sixteen-game season, two games is 12.5 percent of the schedule.

Professional hockey’s been the slowest to change, as fighting is an integral part of the game in North America. But things are beginning to change at the amateur level, as concussions, and our understanding of them, have significantly increased. USA Hockey and Hockey Canada, which oversee minor hockey leagues throughout North America, are considering an outright ban on fighting in order to protect the health and safety of their young players. If the ban takes shape, and how the NHL reacts to it, remains to be seen.

On a day when Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for making allegedly inappropriate comments about Cuban leader Fidel Castro, I look back with some irony at Guillen’s behavior that, in my view, was much more damaging to baseball. In 2006, when Guillen was managing the White Sox, he banished a young pitcher to the minor leagues because he failed to properly retaliate after Texas Rangers’ pitchers twice plunked Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. “I don’t want to any of our hitters to get hurt, and I don’t want to hurt anybody,” Guillen told reporters after the game. The first part was undoubtedly true; the second part most certainly was not.

Yes, pitching up and in has always been part of baseball and it would be impossible, if not unwise, to try to outlaw it. But purposeful retaliation, which has the effect if not the intent, of seriously harming the batter, has no place in the game. Yes, sometimes it’s difficult to separate purposeful retaliation from unintentional inside pitching or a pitch that just got away. But that’s not a reason to do nothing, while the health and safety of players remains at risk.




Print This Post



Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and NewYorker.com. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.


157 Responses to “It’s Time to End Beanball, Once and for All”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. But says:

    An intentionally hit batter is meant to be caused a bruise, not broken bones, or reconstructive facial surgery.

    Way in will always be a part of baseball.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • WilJ says:

      It doesn’t really matter what the intent is of the pitch, the point is that while many times a “bruise” may be the end result, some times it’s not. It’s more severe or damaging. A guy may not want to hurt a guy even if he is intentionally hitting him with a ball but a guy who throws a ball 90+ MPH isn’t all of a sudden going to throw a duck up to the plate to plunk a guy. No he’s going to hit him in the ribs with a FB.

      I am curious about something though. If we were to take an instance where it’s generally accepted that a pitcher was trying to hit a guy (Like Big Z did last year when trying to plunk Chipper) say he had hit Chipper and then Chipper decided to press chargers. I’m sure the police would have to start an investigation and if legal charges mounted from an intentional beaning, I wonder if that would serve as enough of a deterrent to prevent further incidents.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • BDF says:

        Not a lawyer, but I think there’s a legal principle called “assumption of risk” whereby knowingly and willingly entering into a practice in which otherwise illegal activities take place pre-empts legal liability. Boxing, for example.

        +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • NS says:

        Intent actually seems to be the principal issue here – which is the entire problem with the “ban beanballs” position in the first place.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • ” Throwing a baseball at someone at high speed with the intent to harm them is, at a minimum, assault and battery.”

        It’s not, you have to hit the guy for battery to occur. I’m not sure you could even claim “attempted” A&B on guys like Marmol, especially if he confesses to aiming at the batter.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TK says:

        There is actually a semi-famous tort case where a football player was found liable for giving a guy a cheap shop completely outside the scope of the game. I think is is called going “outside the boundaries of the game.” To me, an intentional beanball fits this just as hitting someone in the head with a hockey stick does. Boxers assume the risk while the match is going on, but the guy that gave the guy a cheapshot after the match was over was arrested. Playing a sport does not open a person up to any harm that might come his way.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bill says:

        If Jimenez had come out and said that he did this deliberately, Tulo might have had a case. It is beyond the “assumption of risk” if the beanball is thrown deliberately. This is all but impossible to prove however, unless the pitcher confesses. A boxer assumes he will get punched in the ring, but if his opponent kicks him in the head when he’s on the ground, the boxer could press charges.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Cliff says:

        Assumption of risk applies to negligence only, not to intentional torts. You cannot “assume the risk” of someone battering you. You can’t even willingly consent to it!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • djw says:

      Probably true of a many cases of simple assault, but not much of a defense.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JimNYC says:

      People need to man up. It’s part of the game. Obviously, nobody wants another Tony Conigliaro or Ray Chapman, but you have to understand that if you’re doing something physically demanding for a living, there’s a risk you’re going to get injured. Beanings have been part of the game since the beginning of the game. It’s no different from a boxer pressing charges because somebody hit him below the belt — yeah, it’s against the rules, but it happens all the time and you have to deal with it.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • HuskerDru says:

        Gambling was once an integral part of the game, too, and was from the beginning…but we saw that was stupid and (largely) stopped it. You employ the same logic on defense of beaning – it’s always been part of the game.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        @Husker
        Beaning someone doesn’t compromise the integrity of the game to anywhere near the extent that gambling did, if it does at all. Beanballs and gambling are simply not comparable in terms of their effect on the game.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • shibboleth says:

        You’re right, dying by way of a cerebral hemorrhage is a manly way of dealing with it this particular part of the game.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • patk says:

      I hate when people that have never played the game decide(from the outside) that it needs to changed. =lame

      that being said- “Beaning” someone is hitting them in the head(Bean). The incorrect use of that term is one of my biggest pet peeves.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. st says:

    Couldn’t agree more with this article. No more beanballs, One day, somebody is going to get killed. lets prevent that. I guess the challenge is to figure out what intentional is–that i don’t know. It’s prob just a judgement call.

    I hate the “it’s part of baseball” argument. not allowing black players was also “part of baseball” at one point. The league should always try to improve itself.

    +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ray Chapman's Ghost says:

      Oooooooooooooooo! I’m hauuuuuuunting you!

      +12 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • MikeS says:

      Couldn’t agree more. It’s not much different than bounties for hurting players in football, except that it’s easier to hurt somebody in football and make it look like you weren’t trying to.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • But says:

      “One day, somebody is going to get killed. lets prevent that.”

      Balls and broken bats fly at pitchers, players and spectators, all of which can make you dead.

      “I hate the “it’s part of baseball” argument. not allowing black players was also “part of baseball” at one point.

      It’s not part of baseball. It is baseball, to its roots. If you want to start Arena Baseball, where everyone wears full body armor, and uses a ‘soft’ ball, be my guest. Not allowing blacks was part of culture.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • George says:

        Yeah, except when balls and broken bats fly at pitchers, players and spectators, it isn’t done intentionally by the batter, it is byproduct of the nature of the game, and one the players are fully aware of when they step out onto the field.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • st says:

        yea this is an absurd reply. as everyone knows, there’s a difference between accidents and intentional acts of harm.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bill says:

        No, unintentional HBP’s are a part of baseball, just like flying bats and screaming liners. Nobody is arguing for fines for unintentional HBP’s. There is no good reason to ever deliberately throw at someone. If a pitcher wants to show up a batter who spent too much time admiring a homerun, he should strike him out the next time. The money these guys are making should more than compensate them for a bruised ego. If a pitcher deliberately throws at someone they should be fined and suspended and these penalties should increase with repeat offenders. This should also happen if a pitcher doctors a ball and then hits a batter. I still hate the Yankees because of what Tim Leary did to Chris Hoiles during his best season.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • OldStyle-Cubs says:

        While I agree with the point of the article, I think that from a practical perspective this is a very minor deal. Most intentionally hit batters are hit in the midsection where there is little chance of significant damage (I would be slightly worried that false-positives of intent would limit pitcher’s ability to throw inside). If you are really looking to improve safety in the game though, have pitchers wear helmets and use composite bats that don’t shatter (Colvin got impaled last year and was very fortunate). In fact, you have equal to more control over the bats and helmets.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Martin says:

        As a former pitcher, no thanks to composite bats. It’s hard enough getting guys out, it’s even harder when you successfully jam a guy and he still gets a base hit because the bat didn’t break and he’s strong enough to muscle it out of the infield.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Beasley Rockah says:

      But that’s the problem, how do you actually change it? Is the league office going to determine which throws are intentional and which aren’t? Many times it’s blatant, but that’s because teams know they can get away with it (beyond the token suspensions). If you actually want to take it out of the game, people will just start doing it more subtly. This is a human game, and the whole tit-for-tat system isn’t going to go away, it will just evolve in a different form. I don’t see any practical way of truly “taking it out of the game”.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • You can also die or severely injure yourself while driving a car. But you could also get hit by a car or robbed while you’re walking around on the sidewalk. Easy solution? Stay at home and never come out ever again. Sounds pretty reasonable.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Andy says:

    As you acknowledge, the trouble with the beanball is in finding/proving intent. Baseball necessarily requires a pitcher throwing a ball near a batter in a way that differentiates it from basketball/hockey and fighting.

    Ballplayers shouldn’t be permitted to do on a baseball field what could get them arrested if done on the street outside the ballpark

    Except that ballplayers are mutual, willing opponents in this sometimes dangerous game, and each knows the inherent risks of the game.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TK says:

      The better argument against this is that they are not permitted to do it. It costs them a free baserunner. If it is deemed intentional they are thrown out of the game and or suspended and fined. I think the argument the writer is trying to make is that the unwritten rule that it is okay to hit someone in retaliation is backward and perhaps is not treated as seriously as it should be.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • But says:

      Said pitcher hits star batter in the helmet.. His hand was sweaty.

      Star batter walks to pitcher’s mound, huddles with the pitcher, shakes hands, hell, hugs, and then walks to first base in lala land.

      Rosy world.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bill says:

        Said Hitter’s pitcher throws at one of said pitcher’s batters the next inning. Hitter whose only crime is working with an idiot pitcher suffers a season ending injury. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Leo Martin says:

      Regarding proving intent, sure, that’s difficult in baseball. There will never be a way to judge intent 100% correctly. But that doesn’t mean we can’t sometimes guess intent based on circumstances. Courts do this all the time, as do umpires today when (sometimes) ejecting pitchers they feel threw at batters intentionally.

      Regarding baseball players being “willing opponents” each of whom “knows the inherent risks of the game,” that’s basically right insofar as the current “risks of the game” go, but it would change immediately if baseball publicly stated it would respond to beanballs differently. If MLB said: no more intentional hitting of batters, or we’ll eject/suspend/prosecute the pitcher or manager — then that immediately changes the risks you could assume MLB batters were “willingly” agreeing to face.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nate says:

        One way to reduce beanballs without increasing punishment due to a judgement call on intent would be to get rid of the DH in the AL. A pitcher might think twice before beaning a batter if there’s a chance he could be on the receiving end of one of those 90+ mph beanballs later on.

        I’d be interested to see if there’s a difference in the number of pitcher ejections due to intentional beanings between the NL and AL.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • djw says:

      “ballplayers are mutual, willing opponents in this sometimes dangerous game, and each knows the inherent risks of the game.”

      Again, many bar fights also share this characteristic.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • NS says:

        Does anybody think people who willingly fight each other should be arrested? I really hope that’s not part of your point here.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Riverwalker says:

      “ballplayers are mutual, willing opponents in this sometimes dangerous game, and each knows the inherent risks of the game”

      As are participants in a duel…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. monsignorwiggles says:

    hitting guys in the back/butt is awesome. the analogy to other sports is not remotely germane. the level of risk involved in hitting a guy in baseball is small: the target is the back/butt.

    getting hit there =/= fights, devastating hits, or flagrant fouls.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt H says:

      The distance between the back and the neck/head is pretty damn small. Even if the target itself is safe, the possibility of serious injury is very much there.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • juan pierres mustache says:

        and the difference between the strike zone and the neck is also small, and the difference between a pitch off the plate inside and one in the head is smaller. i agree that the rules/punishments for intentionally hitting a player should be looked at again, but let’s not act like guys are routinely getting hit in the head on intentional throws at other parts of their body. excepting carlos marmol, of course

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. lester bangs says:

    Some things I never understand:

    — A team can’t get Joe Schmoe out, so it throws at him.

    — A team can’t get Joe Schmoe out, so it throws at a teammate of his.

    Does the batter hurl his bat at the pitcher if he keeps striking out?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jorgath says:

      No. He throws it at the umpire.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • bstar says:

      Claudell Washington actually did this to then-Reds ace Mario Soto sometime in the mid 80s after he was beaned earlier in the game. As he “swung” at a pitch the next at-bat, the bat mysteriously left his hands and headed straight for Soto, who had to hurdle himself over the bat to avoid it. Sadly, cooler hands prevailed and there was no massive brawl.

      I hate beanballs, but I do enjoy a good baseball brawl.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bill says:

        I guess it would be better if there neither brawls or beanballs, but given the choice, the brawl is both safer and a whole lot more fun to watch. Robin Ventura’s ill fated charging of Nolan Ryan will always be one of my favorite baseball memories.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. TK says:

    It’s hard to take someone seriously who calls Ozzie Guillen’s comments about Castro “allegedly inappropriate.”

    This is especially so because you fail to include “allegedly” when discussing Ozzie Guillen’s treatment of his pitcher in 2006, which actually is “allegedly” what happened because there is only circumstantial evidence (though very good circumstantial evidence).

    Anyway, I hate to nit pick because I agree with your larger point, but I find it troubling that you try to make Ozzie Guillen’s remarks about Castro seem not as bad as they are in order to make your point.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ronin says:

      Why are Ozzie’s comments about Fidel so bad? Regardless if you agree or dont agree with him this is America where we used to have the freedom of speech. Sure its a bad PR move to say you like a dictator who repressed his people when your target audience is composed mainly of those very same repressed peoples and their progeny. But it isnt nearly as bad as the stuff coming out of the mouths of political leaders of both parties.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Leo Martin says:

        When you have a prominent, public-facing employee, and they say in public that they “love” [murderous dictator], it is reasonable for the employer to feel the comment was bad and maybe for customers of the company also to feel that it was bad.

        Free speech means that people in America can say bad things if they want. It doesn’t mean that nothing any American says can be bad.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • WilJ says:

        While I do agree with his comments about Castro, Leo Martin. It’s hard for people to be appalled by him professing his love for Castro, especially as Americans.

        Our country has been responsible for far more civilian casualties (deaths) than Castro has of his own countrymen. Are we too governed by an evil dictator? Or is our justification more generally accepted than Castro’s? I take issue with this perception that we (Americans) have some sort of moral high ground to speak from when talking about Castro, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • WilJ says:

        That should read “disagree with his comments about Castro”.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TK says:

        Aside from the fact that I believe Americans can be appalled (and remembering John Rocker getting a much longer suspension for mere words), the main reason he was suspended was the offensiveness to Cubans, which is made worse by the team he happens to manage. Not understanding that this is an inappropriate comment borders on diagnosable mental deficiency.

        In the American private sector, there is right and wrong, including in what you say. If I publicly said what Guillen said while representing my company (and a MLB manager talking to a reporter is representing his company) I’d be justifiably fired. The 1st amendment argument is irrelevant.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Eminor3rd says:

      I agree with Ronin. We often assume we have some right to not be offended by other people. Generally speaking, I think all Americans overreact to people expressing dissenting opinions. Guillen praising an unpopular dictator is absolutely not as big a deal as a person getting permanently injured by intentional means.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • bstar says:

        An unpopular dictator? Castro is so much, much, much worse than that. He’s murdered untold thousands of his own people, thrown people in jail for even being suspected of saying a bad word about him, sent countless citizens to the firing squad for any specified reasons, etc. The misery and pain of these people cannot be understated. Why do you think so many Cubans lie dead at the bottom of the sea in an attempt to beach in Florida?

        As Dan LeBatard said the other day, paraphrasing, “To Cuban-Americans, ..(Castro) is our Hitler…”

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bill says:

        Not to go Godwin here, but saying good things about Castro in a sport that is populated with many players who risked the welfare of their families to flee his regime is like a curator at the Holocaust museum praising Hitler. He can’t be arrested, but he sure can be fired.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Phil Rosen says:

      Oh this is such nonsense.

      Our own politicians routinely praise murderous dictators (the Saudis? Putin? Whats his name in Pakistan? China?) when its convenient and no one gives a crap. There is no real outcry. Castro is no different or worse (probably better then many) then at least a dozen MFN countries.

      The objection to his remarks are nothing more then legacy jingoism from the cold war. Also lets not forget that many of the vitriolic Castro critics in Miami of Castro had to leave Cuba because they were Batista supporters. That man was far from a saint.

      Castro sucked, but Ozzie’s remark were neither Racist nor really all that objectionable compared to most accepted political speech. Of course the mob’s call to castrate Ozzie for political speech certainly is.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • bstar says:

        I’m not saying Ozzie’s remarks were bad in the minds of most Americans, but they certainly were in the minds of Cuban-Americans. As I said earlier, this man was Hitler to them.

        Do I think Ozzie should be fired? I certainly hope not, given his remorseful apology today and his explanation about what his actual thought process was. Apparently he was thinking in Spanish that he was amazed Castro was still alive after all these years, and it came out in English as “I like Castro.” From Ozzie, I can buy that.

        But if the Marlins fan base shrinks due to these comments long-term, that’s gonna be a problem.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Sandy Kazmir says:

        What Marlins fanbase? Seems like an early scapegoat for what is sure to be poor attendance in a brand new, publicly-funded, privately-owned stadium. People have the right to feel offended just as people have the right to say what they feel. They can vote with their dollars, but I sincerely hope to never see the day when every protestor with every complaint is given all they ask for.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bill says:

        I don’t know if Guillen’s comments would have been that big a deal in Boston or Seattle, but Miami has large population of people who fled Castro’s regime. It’s bad PR for the team and Ozzie needs to realize this.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Sandy Kazmir says:

      Would it have been any worse if he had said that he loved Gulda Muir, George Bush, or Hugo Chavez? I really don’t see the big deal, though I’m getting uncomfortably accustomed to seeing people decry a popular opinion as if it affects them in any way.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. wilt says:

    I disagree with this article for reasons I do not wish to expound upon with my mobile device.

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Matt H says:

    I completely agree with this article. Intentional HBPs are so childish and ridiculous. You play “Butt’s Up” in 4th grade, not when you’re an adult. If you have a problem with another player, TALK TO THEM LIKE AN ADULT. I think the change needs to come from the managers and players, not from MLB. This mindset of revenge through throwing balls at each other is absolutely ridiculous.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ronin says:

      Matt H is totally right. You are never gonna come up with an effective rule set to prevent this, the best chance to eliminate this crap is through a change of culture involving the players and managers. I always thought it was bs that you could take the catcher and middle infielders out and be treated like a hero. Why are the first basemen exempt from take out slides or being blasted off the base on a close play? I always thought that the smart batter who got beaned intentionally would take his base and wait until the pitcher is in mid motion on the next pitch and then take a nice running start and blindside the pitcher.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ayuh says:

      Changing the culture of baseball is like changing the culture of a fraternity house. The elders perpetuate the rituals by ostracizing those that attempt to circumvent them, which I think is demonstrated in the Guillen example.

      I’m just glad that baseball isn’t hockey where fighting it quite literally part of the game. I’ve never understood why the referees stand there and like them throw.

      It’s things like this that really remind us that these are children’s games…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • NS says:

      The assumption here (and that’s what it is) that any/all violence is barbaric or immature is unproven and unsound. Hilariously, your criticism of a baseless cultural norm (fighting in baseball) is based on nothing more than an appeal to an equally baseless cultural norm (violence is bad, mmkay?).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt H says:

        Really? You think the norm that violence is bad”is just as baseless as the norm that pitchers should throw at other batters when they’re mad at them? “Violence is bad” is a norm because it hurts people, and hurting people is bad because it causes pain, which I think it pretty universally accepted as a bad thing (yes, not in all circumstances, but in general, reducing pain as a society is probably a good thing, mmkay?) What’s the reason for intentional HBPs? All I’ve heard is some BS about pride and honor.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • NS says:

        ^You mention the fact that the rule is only general as if that’s just an aside, despite the fact that we are explicitly talking about a marginal case here: professional sport.

        There is an enormous difference between “most violence is bad” and “all violence is bad and should be ended”. To make your case, you need to flesh it out at least a little.

        It actually is the side that wants to make a change that has to make a case here. The rules proposed would significantly alter the dynamics of every at-bat. We should not care about that because violence is generally bad? Not a strong argument.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt H says:

        Right, good call. I want to clarify; I’m not proposing a rule change. I don’t know how to practically stop intentional HBPs from happening. I’m trying to dig deeper to whether they should happen at all, so my argument is more directed towards the pitchers/managers who perpetuate this practice this rather than the rulemakers.

        I’m thinking of violence here not as just anything that hurts other people, but intentional, malicious, attempt to cause pain. Now I’ll admit, to say that pitchers are maliciously trying to hurt batters in these cases is probably a little strong. Nevertheless, they are surely aware of the consequences of their actions, namely, the possibility of serious injury should the pitch miss slightly, and at the very least, moderate pain if it hits. My argument is that unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, pain should be avoided. Now unintentional pain in baseball is inevitable, but there’s a compelling reason to allow it: the benefits of the game outweigh the occasional pain or injury that come with it. But I see no benefits that outweigh the consequences of intentional HBPs. Pride and honor are vague and useless terms unless they’re fleshed out a bit more, which they haven’t been as far as I have seen. Yes, intentional HBPs discourage acts of disrespect, but I claim that there are much more effective ways to do this, namely talking to the other person in a peaceful way. This not only avoids pain and injury, but encourages civility and avoids escalation of conflict.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Phrozen says:

    I’m not sure what you’re purpose is here, Wendy. Intentionally throwing at someone is already banned–you’ll get ejected along with the manager if the ump has reason to believe it was intentional.

    What, exactly, would you propose to change to cut down further on intentional beanings, while leaving the high-and-inside pitch available?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Slick says:

    It’s strange that the author only glazed over the economic impact. Any movement like the one stated above is mislabeled under the guise of ‘player safety’ but really it affects the bottom line of the organization. This issue just opens a can of worms that pro sports does not want to open. Once you start penalizing players for actions that would be considered against the law off the field you might as well just end the sport. It will be open season for false accusations, players being sued, teams being sued, etc, etc. Why do you think the leagues have been ‘slow’ to address the issue? There is no easy solution that doesn’t dramatically affect the games being played and doesn’t interrupt the cash cow that most team organizations are.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • rea says:

      Economic impact! Red Sox plug Prince Fielder; Tigers plug Adrian Gonzales. Imagine the economic consequences if those two guys have to miss a bunch of games with injuries . . . .

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bill says:

        Well, for one, if Prince Fielder had to sit around all day because of an injury, there would be a general food shortage in Detroit….see because he’s fat…

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. bc says:

    “Ballplayers shouldn’t be permitted to do on a baseball field what could get them arrested if done on the street outside the ballpark.”

    This principle does not mkae much sense to me. Plenty of what happens in a sporting context would not be socially acceptable or legal in a non-sporting context. Even just the act of tackling, for example, is not allowed “on the street”. Nor is speeding in a car. Is it legal to shoot a puck at my neighbour? What about boxing, or MMA?

    This is not to say that beanballs should be permitted. Just that the commonly heard “only if its legal on the street should it be permitted” rule is pretty weak justification for its prohibition.

    +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • WilJ says:

      The problem with your example is that all the actions you cited have a purpose within the context of sports. You may not be able to tackle a guy on the street but tackling a guy in football is because he is carrying a ball. There isn’t a malicious intent (well at least there isn’t supposed to be). I would suspect that if a player intentionally injured another player in a way that intent was clear, it could become a criminal proceeding.

      Beaning a player would be like intentionally crashing your car into another car during a race, or a boxer trying to poke a guy in the eyes. Actions that are taken outside of the rules of the sport, which have guidelines for very specific behavior.

      It’s the malicious intent which defines these actions as not permissible not the actions themselves. When you are hitting a guy intentionally it’s with malice to inflict pain for whatever perceived slight or broken rule.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • jorgath says:

        Drivers do intentionally crash into each other when racing. It usually gets them fined if they wreck each other on purpose. Although, in NASCAR, it’s more likely to lead to a fisticuffs duel in the garage between the two guys, followed by a major fine (first offense) and a major suspension for further offenses.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • bc says:

        @WilJ, I don’t necessarily disagree with you. But by your own account what makes these sorts of actions prohibited is that 1. they don’t have a purpose within the sport, and 2. there is malicious intent. My point remains however: it has nothing to do with whether or not the act is legal outside the arena, as WT implies.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Leo Martin says:

      You’re right, “only if its legal on the street should it be permitted” isn’t (on its own) the rule for prohibiting something in sports. But maybe conventional illegality is a reason to scrutinize the thing and ask whether it justifies itself by adding something essential to the sport. For example, tackling in football: not ok on the street. But pretty much essential to football, so we say it’s ok. Beanballs: not ok on the street, and whether they add that much to baseball is very much up for debate. And they have the potential to harm people really badly and prevent them from making a living at their profession.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Ryan says:

    What is the solution here? You listed what other leagues are doing, what would you propose MLB does to solve the problem?

    Otherwise, I enjoyed the article.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. bonestock94 says:

    All the points presented here are logical and reasonable, but that doesn’t change the tremendous enjoyment I get when a rival player receives a well-deserved beaning.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Gabe says:

    I couldn’t agree less. I actually think players should be allowed to purposely throw at someone if they want to or feel it’s necessary (retaliation, sending a message, backing a guy way off the plate, etc.). There’s already a built-in punishment in that it extends the inning and puts a guy on base.

    I also think hitters should not be allowed to wear body armor. I’d like to put a little fear back into the hitters.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. AL Eastbound says:

    Could be worse, Kenny Powers took out a guys eye.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Paul C says:

    Until batters are not allowed to dig into the batter’s box like they are planting an oak tree, pitchers should be allowed to hit batters.

    Unlike in other sports, it serves a valuable purpose, that being, to move batters off the plate. Otherwise, you’ll see an aweful lot of 12 – 11 games.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • NS says:

      Right. No article on this subject is complete without examining the practical consequences of such a rule change. That and only that can be the basis for evaluating whether or not such a change if worthwhile.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. Dave Edgar says:

    Two words: Tony Conigliaro

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. scatterbrian says:

    If MLB wanted to take this issue more seriously, they would extend the suspension period. A five-game suspension doesn’t really hurt the pitcher as much as the team, which has to shuffle their rotation and (presumably) has only 24 men on the roster during that time. But the pitcher slots back in and barely misses a beat. Double it, or triple it, and consequences extend to the pitcher as well as the team, and ideally pitchers will see they are really hurting their team when they practice this nonsense.

    Somewhat related, I think MLB should lift the ban on body armor, provided players who wear armor to the plate keep it on when on the bases.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Doug Lampert says:

      Losing 1 start for a starter is adequate. The problem is that 5 games, started at a time of the team’s choice isn’t losing a start.

      And the suspension is at the team’s option, look at the Jiminez suspention where he “appealed” long enough to get a start in then dropped the appeal.

      That pushes him back one day in the rotation, it doesn’t cost him a start.

      As long as a 5 pitcher rotation is standard a one start suspention is nine games. The first four games of a suspension of a starting pitcher simply should not count against his time off, start the count 4 games after his last start.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. The latter may seriously injure the batter, cutting short his season or his career. The danger is real and the practice needs to stop.

    The danger exists regardless of the intent of the pitcher.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. Ryan says:

    This is not the level of analysis that I have come to expect from Fangraphs.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Nadir says:

    Question:

    If you were to remove the “practice” from the game, should this be up to the players, or the commissioner?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. jim says:

    players could break their fingers while bunting. let’s outlaw that too.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. G says:

    beanings are, always have been, and always will be part of the game. the issue here and the focus of this discussion should be regarding how all pitchers should have to hit in both leagues.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • But says:

      When a pitcher doesn’t hit he doesn’t fear getting plunked himself.

      The National League will fix itself. Ubaldo has to bat.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • syllogist says:

      ‘beanings are, always have been, and always will be part of the game”

      Begging the question. Whether or not beanings will always be part of the game is what we are debating. It can’t be asserted as a premise.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JamesDaBear says:

      LOL… this is a horrible strategic argument and easily the worst DH abolishers throw out there. If a Dodgers pitcher plunks a Rockies player, the Rockies pitcher isn’t going to throw at the Dodgers pitcher (an easy out). He’s going to throw at a Dodgers player who’s not an easy out. Considering the Dodgers pitcher has to answer to his teammates, the deterrent is just as strong.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bill says:

      I’d rather pitchers get away with hitting players than to be subjected to the misery of watching a pitcher bat. Someone should throw fastballs at Selig until he gets rid of this horrible practice that makes NL games unwatchable nearly 10% of the time.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. chongo says:

    Penalty could be awarding a home run to the beaned player- not just first base. Again, it is a judgement call by the ump, but they hear what is said on the field and have a better idea of intent then those of us watching.

    If the beaned player is the instigator of the throw (often he isn’t) then MAYBE the throwing team would be reluctant to give him a free home run. Maybe.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Snowblind says:

      Was wondering if someone else was going to suggest this. Most head shots make enough of a sound that it’s a no doubter, too – not one of these “grazed the sleeve and the batter is a good actor, so off he goes to 1st base” jobs.

      A couple instances of batters earning Noggin Grand Slams will curb this much more effectively. Put an annoying guy on with 1 out, you can always get a groundball double play with the next guy. Cost your team 4 runs, and likely a game? That works much better than suspensions and fines, in the long run.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • bstar says:

        But what sane ump in the Major Leagues would think a pitcher is intentionally hitting the batter with the bases loaded?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Snowblind says:

        bstar – you lost me at “sane ump”.

        Moreover, the idea is that a beaned player always counts as a home run and clears the bases. So it’s not just the Noggin Grand Slam, but the 2-run home run or 3-run home run, or even the solo home run that ties a game instead of beaned-guy-on-first, that will drive the point home too.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. samuelraphael says:

    Oh you got beaned by a ball?
    (Willingly fractures Leg and Arm on 100 mph slapshot)

    Boo fucking hoo.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. BrianM says:

    There’s one simple solution here that I don’t think anybody has suggested: replace the current ball with a softer ball that is less likely to cause serious injury. Would it change the game? Absolutely. You’d probably have to enlarge the strike zone to compensate for the radical drop in fear factor. But if you’re sincere about preventing injuries, it’s the obvious way to go–and it doesn’t require umpires to play mind reader when somebody does get hit.

    [Cue: Macho posturing and silly romanticizing about the “crack of the bat:”]

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • You would also have to move in all outfield fences significantly.

      And probably have less than 9 players on the field, since there would be so much less ground to cover (unless you want to cut out most scoring as well).

      But this is all probably just macho posturing.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Phrozen says:

      Why not just have hitters swing off a tee?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. TheGrandslamwich says:

    If you can hit somebody in the head with a bat and still be voted into the HoF then a beanball, something that serves a purpose and is far less harmful than a bat to the noggin, should not be banned.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. Anonymous says:

    Beanballs are easily eliminated by allowing the batter to take one free swing at the pitcher with the bat.

    The trickiest thing about all this is determining whether the throws are intentional or not: see John Lackey’s ejection last year. I don’t want the MLB to turn into the NFL where the majority of “roughing the passer” penalties are clear baloney.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. Big Baby says:

    Jeter thinks its the end of 2011
    Jose Reyes doesn’t look hurt yet

    Both of interest

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  30. Chike says:

    I strongly disagree with this article. Unlike any other major sport, baseball has a specific unwritten code. Most of the code is in place to promote mutual respect between the teams and players. Like any good set of rules, there are repercussions for those who defy them.

    Yoenis Cespedes crushed a Jason Vargas fastball on Saturday for his second home run of the season. Nothing wrong with that, except he stood at home plate for a few seconds and watched it. That’s disrespectful. You don’t show up another man like that – it’s poor sportsmanship and there’s no place in baseball for that. I wasn’t surprised when one “got away from” Felix Hernandez (2.73 career BB/9) the next day and hit Cespedes flush in the arm.

    Baseball is a game played between groups of men where pride and honor are valued along side professionalism and responsibility. Retaliation shots serve a specific purpose as teams need a way to self-regulate in instances where unwritten rules are violated. I have no problem plunking A-Rod for yelling at an infielder or drilling Cespedes for showing up Vargas. Respect the game and you have nothing to worry about.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Cozar says:

      Shouldn’t the punishment fit the crime? Strike Cespedes out and then disrepect him by waving goodbye as he walks off the field. And what about those instances when a guy who hit 2HR without showboating gets a ball thrown at his head in his third AB?

      Intentionally hitting somebody with a baseball is poor sportsmanship well beyond any inappropriate taunting or showboating, and there should be no place for it in baseball.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Carlos Baerga says:

        “And what about those instances when a guy who hit 2HR without showboating gets a ball thrown at his head in his third AB? ”

        What about those instances? I seem to read this argument fairly often, but I can’t remember an instance when this happened. When did this happen outside of your imagination?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt H says:

      This sounds like something that would be said in the 14th century. Pride and honor? Unwritten rules? Look, baseball players are adults. They should be able to resolve conflicts without resorting to throwing balls at each other. That might be part of the history of the game, but it’s not part of the game itself. Yeah, Cespedes looked at the homerun a second too long, and yeah, A-rod should yell at infielders. But in the real world, when you have a problem with something someone did, you tell them, and work it out without hurting each other. Respect the game by playing by its real rules, and respect other people by treating them like real human beings, not kids that made fun of you on the playground.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt H says:

        A-rod *shouldn’t* yell at infielders (or should he…)

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • NS says:

        Haha, as if “respect each other/the game” is any less mystical than “pride and honor”.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Chike says:

        Resolve conflicts peacefully? You could be on to something there.

        Maybe, instead of retaliation, Felix Hernandez could take Yoenis Cespedes out for low-fat gelato and tell him why he didn’t like how he reacted after hitting that home run. They they could go shopping, try on some shoes and do each other’s nails.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CJ says:

        ^ Would watch video of this.

        Would that really be bad? Why should MLB players hate each other?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt H says:

        I just said respect the game because that’s what Chike was trying to argue. I’m saying that respecting the game, if that is even a thing, is probably best done by playing by its rules, as they were meant to be played by (“in the spirit of the game”, if you will). But “respect each other” is mythical? Look, all that means is treat each other like normal human beings and consider how an action would affect other people before you do it. It’s disrespectful to showboat a homerun just as its disrespectful to throw at a batter.

        Chike, it’s not unmasculine to resolve conflicts peacefully. Honestly, yeah, it’s a lot tougher to go up to someone and tell them that you have a problem with something they did and try to work it out peacefully then just throw a ball at them. But that’s what people do in the real world. I know baseball is a game and it has it’s own rules, but when players have problems with each other, that should go beyond the game. Retaliation doesn’t solve anything; it escalates conflicts. Felix doesn’t need to take Yoenis out to gelato. He could simply find him after the game, take him aside, and be like, “Hey man, careful how long you look at homeruns. It’s disrespectful to me, and you’re gonna piss some pitchers off if you keep doing that.” Say whatever you want about that, but it’s sure as hell a lot better than hurling a 95MPH fastball at someone.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • NS says:

        No, not mythical. Mystical. Your criticism (which was very good) of chike’s point was that “pride and honor” are meaningless appeals to vague cultural concepts. The problem is that that’s what “respect” is too.

        Leave all of that nonsense out of it and just speak in practical terms. The proposed rule changes would drastically change the sport. Why should we do that? It isn’t enough to say “because we will probably spare a few players from a few serious injuries.” You have to make explicit the assumption built into that. Why should we agree that such a potential benefit will outweigh the certain costs?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt H says:

        Thanks for your comments, NS. Like I said above, I’m not trying to argue for or against any rule changes. You might be right that the costs of a rule change would vastly outweigh the benefits. But I don’t think that the costs of ending intentional HBPs (if that could be done without a rule change) would outweigh the benefits of avoiding pain and injury and promoting peaceful conflict resolution (imo a very good thing. I wonder if people disagree with me about that).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bill says:

      Oh no! That guy disrespected me. He needs to be taught a lesson. This is the way a twelve year old with anger issues would think. A baseball player is an adult and is paid a lot of money. He can put up with a little disrespect. To make things worse, he deserves to be disrespected for giving up the homerun. Strike the guy out next time and earn some respect.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. Oldfoagie says:

    When I was growing up; Sal “the Barber” Maglie was just hanging up his spikes. Early Winn was recently retired. Don “the Enforcer” Drysdale had a list of players’ names written in the bill of his cap of players he needed to drill for various reasons. It might take him years to cross you off his list. Bob Gibson would “bean” you just for digging in. Both of them would plunk you just for driving up their pitch counts when they were pitching hurt. Tom Seaver preached throwing at someones’ belt buckle for moving them off the plate.

    There were differences and definitions then too. Winn and Gibson would throw at your head with malevolent intent. They did it to instill fear. The out side half of the plate was theirs and woe be upon you for trying to take it from them. Maglie wasn’t that good. He’d give you a very close shave to keep you uncomfortable in the batter’s box. He’d also call time; and drill you in the on deck circle for studying him too hard. Drysdale was an enforcer. If you purposely tried to hurt any Dodger; you’d suffer the consequences. It also was the umpire’s discreation whether to award you your base or not if you made no attempt to get out of the way of the pitch!

    Definitions: Beaning is getting hit in the head by a fastball you were either too slow or stupid to get out of the way of. Drilling is useing a fastball with possible injury consequences to another part of the body. Drysdale’s favorite target was the ribs. He sometimes threw at Kneecaps too. If Drysdale drilled you; you had it coming to you. You had DONE something to deserve it. Plunking is useually done with an inside breaking pitch and not done to intentionaly injure more than an annoying bruise. Drysdale plunking you would be his way of saying ” You know I’m hurt and you’re trying to drive up my pitch count? Take your base you bum! That bruise is what it cost you.”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TK says:

      did you accidentally do a find “us” and replace with “use”?

      or, as your comment indicates, are you just stupid?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  32. Marmon says:

    , it’s about the money and the article is right. One of those bean balls takes out a Tulowitzki or a Fielder for an extended period and the rules will change. These guys make too much money to not be on the field. Just like the NFl protecting their quarterbacks, baseball will protect their stars, Look at Buster Posey, didn’t Bochy say he didn’t want him blocking the plate anymore taking big hits? You have to protect your assets.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  33. Chike says:

    If beaning a hitter is considered assault and battery, why not take this a step further and file torts for other baseball wrongdoings?

    I bet you could file a civil suit against Bobby Valentine every time Alfredo Aceves takes the mound. Why? Aceves plunked 15 guys last year in just over 110 innings pitched. Valentine knew or should have known that pitching Aceves could result in a HBP and may jeopardize a hitter’s livelihood. Valentine has shown a reckless disregard for the safety of opposing hitters by constantly exposing them to such a dangerous pitcher.

    Or what about a class action civil suit against those terrible third base coaches? How DARE they make the runners tag up from 3rd knowing a play at the plate might injure a *multi-million* dollar baseball player? There’s no place in the game for that.

    Every fifth day, the opposing team should collectively file suit against Justin Verlander for intentional infliction of emotional distress. One count for each breaking ball and another for every fastball over 96mph. After all, teams need to protect the emotional health of their million dollar athletes too, right?

    Yes. Peaceful discourse and legislation are the always the best way to solve problems.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt H says:

      What you just said has nothing to do with peaceful discourse. In those situations, no one is intentionally trying to bring about those bad consequences. They are natural consequences of the game itself. Even hitting batters is part of the game itself. But intentionally throwing at batters because of issues you have with them is different. This action goes against the rules of the game as it was meant to be played, and is a purposeful attempt to harm the other player. (And don’t tell me they’re not trying to harm the other player. If they’re not getting harmed, then it’s positive for the batter because he gets on base.)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. jim says:

    juan nicasio broke a vertebrae when he got by a line drive off the bat of ian desmond, and is lucky to have ever walked again, let alone started a major league baseball game. do we ban line drives hit right back at the pitcher too, just because they’re dangerous?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CJ says:

      The whole “we can’t fix everything, so why fix anything?” thing is a tad irritating to me. Look, baseball is unsafe. If nothing else, then, why manufacture more unsafe situations?

      Some of the “solutions” are terrible. It’s true that this is already enforced. It’s also true that determining intent is nightmarish. And any argument you make about not allowing stars to be injured probably also applies to stars not being suspended, no?

      So if you don’t penalise on intent, and you don’t suspend players, the only thing you have left is an in-game penalty, like making a HBP two bases rather than one; or make it every runner advances a base like a balk. Some people claim this removes the inside part of the plate. But how much? I don’t know. It’s worth thinking about.

      The players’ association has the power to do this, and they’re the ones who should care. To be entirely honest, if players genuinely don’t care, there’s no issue here; just an assumed risk. I don’t think fans hate it, or they’d stop watching.

      Since there seems to be no big, sweeping movement to be rid of it, maybe it’s just accepted. Could that change? Sure. If Pujols gets knocked out of the league in a beanball war, then maybe. But until then, I don’t see anything changing.

      On an unrelated note, do people like watching batters get hit deliberately? I’d (personally) rather see them hit baseballs really, really far than trot down to first base. But then again I hate the IBB too.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bill says:

      jim, do you really not understand the difference between intentionally hurting someone and accidentally hurting them? People are in car accidents all the time, therefore maliciously running people down with one’s car should be legal. Deathrace 2000!!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy says:

    It comes down to the DH, if you have it then you have to crack down on the plunking, otherwise if the guy has to step in the box himself it’s fine if he wants to go through with it.

    ^^^ I’m reminded of a Drysdale t-shirt a blog sells, it says “Fear Factor: The pitcher has to find out of a hitter is timid, and if he is timid, he has to remind the hitter that he is timid” :)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Snowblind says:

      “It comes down to the DH, if you have it then you have to crack down on the plunking”

      Interesting theory, but wrong.

      HBP 2011, AL: 738
      HBP 2011, NL: 816

      The NL seems to have more plunking.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  36. CJ says:

    Firstly, you don’t think peaceful discourse is the correct way to solve problems?

    Secondly, you’re right. All these bad things happen, notwithstanding your argument to absurdity. Why is that an excuse to let other bad things happen?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  37. ithrowplastic says:

    Please stop the pussification of America. Do we want them to all get trophies, blue ribbons hold hands and everyone have everyone make the playoffs next. Maybe the hitters can wear those full faced little league helmets? The bean ball is a part of the game and needs to stay.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  38. JamesDaBear says:

    If beanballs become illegal, then crowding the plate needs to become illegal. If they’re not going to let pitchers police the game from the mound, then MLB needs another couple offices for the extra workload they’ll take on policing the games themselves. I don’t want to see players get hit, but I don’t want to overreact to remote situations either.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CJ says:

      Certainly. There are unintended consequences possible here. If you make hitting batters really, really bad; then you’ll get an incentive to get hit.

      For example, if you made a HBP a home run; you’d get managers berating their players for not sticking arms and legs in the way of inside pitches. By penalising the HBP, you could conceivably cause more players to get hit by pitches.

      I don’t think that that is a good enough reason for MLB and the players’ association to wash their hands of it, though. Saying “here’s your argument taken to the absurd, isn’t it absurd?” is.. absurd. There’s a middle ground here. I mean, there already is, right?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Snowblind says:

        You don’t make a HBP a home run, you make a beaning a home run. And then, only if the player’s head was outside the strike zone.

        HBP is still just HBP – drill em in the back or ribs as always.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  39. jo says:

    Sorry but it’s impossible to prove ‘intent’

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  40. CJ says:

    In the end, this is an issue for MLB players only. If they want the rules as they are, they’ll keep them. If they don’t, they’ll do something about it.

    What we think doesn’t matter. At all. If the players’ association came out tomorrow and said they’d self-police the beanball, there is not a damn thing any of us could say. MLB players don’t owe it to the fans to take plunkings. End of story.

    In a similar vein, if they don’t want to deal with it, for whatever reason, we have no right to demand they change for us. This is entirely the players’ decision, since they’re the ones who’ll pay for it, either way.

    I just want to point out that MLB players are human beings. That’s all.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  41. Franco says:

    When did fangraphs become sports talk radio? Are we doing hypothetical trade articles next? Maybe we can break down the economic impact on whether Pete Rose is let in the Hall of Fame.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  42. vilhelm says:

    There is no inherent capabability to throw a baseball and guarantee that it will NOT hit a batter. None whatsoever. Which means it can’t be legislated, and, in fact, is extremely dangerous to do so. Selig is the reason that baseball is far more dangerous today.

    Before Selig, batters were extremely aware of the dangers they inherently accepted as part of the job description. They could not soley focus on getting a hit because part of their focus had to be directed at getting away from a wildly aimed missle. Pitchers didn’t intentionally try to hit anybody, BUT a hot hitter COULD expect to get land on his butt with a brushback, because implicit in being hot was the assumption that the hitter wasn’t paying enough attention to the latter object of his expected focus. Putting all the onus on the pitcher to avoid hitting the guy. Putting the pitcher at a competitive disadvantage AND greatly increasing the risk. Understood to by everyone to be absolutely unacceptable.

    And what prevented some malevolent pitcher from just aiming at a guy’s head?

    RETALIATION. Utter, expected, and assured. Again understood as absolutely necessary to the point that intent was utterly irrelevant. As it should be since there’s no way to discern it anyway. See the incapability of controlling the baseball above.

    The above self regulating practices worked great since baseball’s inception. Only one fatality.

    Now hitters have a certification from Selig guaranteeing them there’s nothing to worry about in the batter’s box. Just dive in and get a hit.

    Selig is an idiot.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  43. But says:

    I’d say batters intentionally try to get hit more than pitchers intentionally throw at batters, with maybe .00000000000000000001 percent throwing to injure. If they tweeter about it, never let them put on a uniform again.

    Give them homeruns or whatever balderdash someone recommended, and hit batters will skyrocket. Games will be 97-86, 14 hours long, and not a soul watching.

    Cut home plate in half, because no one will pitch inside again, period.

    The game will be no more.

    As for safety, make the bat handles thicker. All of you that are seriously worried about risk, jump on this bandwagon. And don’t give me this is part of the inherent risk of the game, bats never shattered like they do now.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  44. adohaj says:

    Baseball is about entertainment. I find intentional retaliation in the form of beanballs or takeout slides extremely entertaining. Play on.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  45. Dexter Bobo says:

    I think they should ban hotdogs and crackerjacks from baseball games as well, because let’s be honest, those things aren’t very good for you.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  46. raf says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned the Anthony Molina/Ben Christensen incident a while back
    http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_0807d368-2f9b-11de-a388-001cc4c002e0.html

    I bet if more batters reacted like Jose Offerman,
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2975386

    Pitchers would be hesitant about intentionally throwing at someone.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>