Posted April 12, 2013

Dodgers-Padres brawl shows danger and stupidity of charging the mound

Brawls

Earlier this week, Tom Verducci wrote passionately about the need to outlaw home-plate collisions, which somehow remains a legal play despite being, in Verducci’s words, “the most reckless, unnecessary play in baseball.”

Late Thursday night we were reminded that there’s another baseball happenstance — perpetuated by precedent, though certainly not by the rules — that should be done away with. Fighting doesn’t belong in baseball under any circumstances, and incidents like these, in which batters who have been hit by pitches charge the mound to seek retribution, can be particularly risky, as the hitter has a roughly 60-foot running headstart when charging the pitcher.

This exhibit of vigilante justice was on display in San Diego, when a fastball from the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke veered inside and hit the Padres’ Carlos Quentin on the left arm. A moment later, Quentin charged the mound, and soon both benches emptied in a brawl.

Some background: Greinke had hit Quentin with pitches on two prior occasions, on July 18, 2008, and April 8, 2009. Quentin did leave Tuesday night’s game between these two teams after L.A. reliever Roland Belisario hit him with a pitch on the wrist. And Dodgers star centerfielder Matt Kemp had to duck out of the way of a high-and-tight pitch from the Padres’ Jason Marquis in the first inning.

Still, it strains believability that Greinke would have purposefully been trying to hit Quentin when he did. It was the third meeting of the game between the two. Los Angeles was clinging to a thin 2-1, sixth-inning lead. It was a full-count pitch. Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis appeared to set up outside for a pitch that ended up inside.

And the outcome of the brawl? Greinke suffered a broken collarbone and will now likely miss up to two months.

Precedent suggests that Major League Baseball will levy a suspension in the range of six-to-eight games on Quentin, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who blasted Quentin’s actions as “stupid,” called for much more when talking with reporters after the game: “He shouldn’t play a game until Greinke can pitch.”

Whether it’s a true quid-pro-quo suspension or some other substantially steeper penalty that will serve as a true deterrent of potentially injurious behavior, something on the order of eight games is wholly inadequate for actions that put players at risk. The exact length of the suspension can and will be debated — 20 games? More? — but an automatic ban for charging the mound should be double or triple what it historically has been.

Similarly, there’s no place in the game for further confrontation, such as what reportedly happened after the game, when Kemp confronted Quentin in a tunnel under the stadium before Padres pitcher Clayton Richard separated them.

Greinke had hit Quentin with those pitches twice before, but it’s worth noting that those were but two of 28 plate appearances the two had against one another from 2008 to ’10. Also, Quentin led the majors in getting hit by pitch the last two seasons and has averaged 19 plunkings per year. Here were the postgame explanations Quentin and Greinke gave to reporters, including mlb.com, after the game:

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Quentin said. “Myself and Greinke have a history. It dates back a few years. You guys can look it up. It’s documented. It could have been avoided. You can ask Zack about that. For me, I’ve been hit by many pitches in my career. I think you guys know that. I can tell you I’ve never responded in that fashion, so you guys can do your homework on that. For me, the situation is done. That’s it.”

“The only thing I’m going to say about the whole thing that happened there is I’ve never hit him on purpose,” Greinke said. “I never thought of hitting him on purpose. He always seems to think that I’m hitting him on purpose, but, I mean, that’s not the case. “I actually thought it was just a ploy to get people to not throw inside to him. I just feel like he’s trying to intimidate people to throw away. But I don’t know anyone who has hit him on purpose. I know I haven’t. Like I said, I hadn’t even thought about hitting him on purpose before.”

The exact extent of Greinke’s absence is not known — he’ll see the Dodgers’ team physician on Friday — and it’s true that L.A. is uniquely equipped to handle his absence, given their surplus of starting pitchers. Even after trading Aaron Harang last week, the Dodgers can shift Chris Capuano, who made 33 starts with a 3.72 ERA, from the bullpen into the rotation. Ted Lilly is on the disabled list now but could return in time to help out, too.

Still, the Dodgers will now be without their $147 million man for a long time, making it all the more difficult for them to keep pace with the Giants and Diamondbacks in the NL West and depriving their fans of an opportunity to see one of the game’s best pitchers. And for what?

Quentin had his chance to simply walk to first base, representing the tying run. Seek revenge by winning the game, not charging the mound.

84 comments
LeonardoReyes
LeonardoReyes

Of course a perfect case of assault this should  People vs San Diego Padres on behalf of a Broken Collar bone

LeonardoReyes
LeonardoReyes

Hey thats assault why isn't Police FBI CIA Or even the Supreme Court enforcing the law!!!!!!!! oh yeah and Disturbing the Peace How these people get away with it is crazy

MichealJonas
MichealJonas

who ever says Quentin has a temper is just typing so everyone can see them. He has be hit almost 150 times and this is the first time he has charged the mound and 3rd or 4th time Greinke has hit him. A little suspicious don't you think? After all a Great (HAHA) like Greinke has control to throw over the plate and not in the batter's box right? Quentin, while the action may have been barbaric, is justified for his actions in my mind and Greinke should serve an 8 START suspension when he returns from surgery/rehab. Maybe he will think of throwing over the plate instead of in the batter's box.

Mike107
Mike107

If batters are not allowed to retaliate against pitchers, then they are sitting ducks at the mercy of pitchers who want to injure them. Outlaw altercations and it's open season on batters. 

msfred
msfred

Regardless of  the history, Greinke hit Quentin and then instead of saying something like "sorry man didn't mean to hit you" or some such comment  he popped off and postured up.  While Quentin is a big guy it still hurts when you you get hit by a hard ball and not surprisingly he went after Greinke after Greinke mouthed off.    If Greinke had not mouthed off while acting like like he wanted to take Quentin on my impression was that Quentin would have calmed down enough to take first.

While the end-result was extremely unfortunate, the action was a  natural outcome of the ongoing battle between pitchers and hitters which everyone once in awhile ends up in a batter rushing the plate.

Regarding instituting more draconian measures I am not for it  given that  the penalties normally imposed seem appropriate in  that they have ensured that it it happens only very infrequently. 

Given Quentin's suspension and Greinke's injury maybe they will both exercise a little more restraint next time.


ToddMendoza
ToddMendoza

You have no understanding of the history of the game. You remove this part and pitchers have no concern about their actions. Let's end the enforcement in hockey and the tackling in football, too.  Grienke provoked it and was no innocent bystander in this event.

Ciscos
Ciscos

Some solutions like throwing another pitch "behind" Quentin's head should settle him down?  I doubt it. Even more, that's not going to settle anyone down because at that point it'll be intentional and given Quentin's temperament, he'll go running toward the pitchers mound.

Personally I could care less if some millionaire baseball players get into a fight, throwing punches like second graders.  And I don't care if it's been done like that for a 150 years either.  If I wanted to see boxing, I'll watch HBO or Hockey, not baseball.

OsoViejo
OsoViejo

Little late in the career of a guy who is ranked in the top 10 of active players in HBP to start getting worked up over getting hit by a pitch. A player whose stance and stride, (not to mention his lardass), have always put him in harms way, who suddenly decides to get fussy over a ball to the back.



Please.


More likely CQ was grumpy about a career in decline and a .222 BA.


Guy should have been grateful for the free base.

Chuggernaut13
Chuggernaut13

Brawl? You keep you using that word, but I don't think it means what you think it means.

Brett_Buck
Brett_Buck

Geez, what an over-reaction. This was not an intentional plunk, clearly. Quentin needs to put on his big-boy pants. 

But even worse are the sportswriters and other "concerned citizens". Baseball has been played this way for around 150 years. I am sorry that a player got hurt in this little slap-fight but life moves on. We don't need any more rules, this will get taken care of with a suspension and then, on the field, like it should be. A 98 mph fast ball thrown behind Quentin's head, whether it hits him or not, and I bet he won't think it's a good idea to charge the mound any more. 

Ciscos
Ciscos

Bench clearing brawls may make great television for viewers and fire up the fans, but this incident is a testament to the dangers involved.  In this case, this little donnybrook has cost the Dodgers their $147 million dollar man for several months.

Major League Baseball "should" invest in ready made penalties for 1. Charging the mound and 2. Clearing the dugout - similar to the NBA and leaving the bench.  Those should be instant (and progressive) suspensions and fines.  It won't end fighting, but it'll help create that "pause" factor - which can help diminish more fights like this one.   Of course I realize Major League Baseball isn't the most forward thinking body, so the likelihood that they'll develop a cold stone policy on this isn't going to happen.

razzlondon
razzlondon

I like Mattingly's idea, repeated in the comments here, about Quentin being suspended until Greinke can pitch again.  But here's a more radical idea, that I offer only partly tongue-in-cheek:  How about Quentin (or, better yet, the Pads) be fined the pro-rata amount of Grenike's salary for the part of the season he'll now miss, to be paid to the Dodgers?  After all, the Dodgers shelled out some pretty hefty coin to acquire Greinke's services for this season, and now a third of that investment will be wasted due to Quentin's actions.

P.S.  I don't care what Greinke may have said to Quentin - he only said something after Quentin came out of the batter's box and turned (and took a step?) toward the mound, rather than just taking his base.

JamieBreslow
JamieBreslow

Can the Dodgers, or Greinke, sue Quentin for this? I hope not, but I'm curious.

6marK6
6marK6

I think Quentin should receive a very sizable suspension and fine. Greinke was not headhunting and he overreacted. There might be some rage issues he needs to deal with.

6marK6
6marK6

The pitch itself was not around the head and he did not charge instantly. Am wondering if Greinke said something. Where is the catcher on this play? You got to stop that batter before he goes.

Mark V.1
Mark V.1

Quentin stands on the plate knowing the risks of getting hit.  It is no fluke he gets hit by pitches all the time.  If you want to crowd the plate like that, you should not charge the mound.  End of story.

JGfromOC
JGfromOC

New rule: charge the mound all you want, but anyone who sustains an injury due to a brawl you cause, that is how long you are suspended for without pay. I suspect this charging the mound nonsense will end. 

rdlewis
rdlewis

Greinke as one of the game's best pitchers? Please.

Unknown Assailant
Unknown Assailant

MLB should go immediately to wiffle balls and bats, too.  People can get hurt by balls and bats, both players and spectators.  An afternoon tea before games would certainly be a civilizing influence

I think you're on the right track, dude.

refmichel
refmichel

Well looking at the replay Quentin is all over the plate and turns into the pitch which was maybe 6 inches off the plate.  It was a good inside fastball by Greinke and Quentin is obviously very thin skinned about the whole.

Lucky for him he doesn't have to face Nolan Ryan or Bob Gibson because the next time he'd face them he'd have a 98 mph fastball aimed at his earhole.

WayneWaterman
WayneWaterman

What is stupid is that Matt Kemp probably made it known that someone on the Padres side needed to down after he was thrown inside on.  Greinke was more than likely following that unwritten rule and now he has a broken collarbone as a result.

riley8
riley8

If I go after someone for hitting me with a rock and I assault them and break their bones what happens?  I have a feeling we both go to jail. Why should this be any different because it is a baseball game?  I say forget about suspensions....throw them all in jail.


Mathonwy
Mathonwy

Getting hit by a pitch can result in a rush of adrenaline and a rush of emotions. These can easily combine to result in an inappropriate response. The best way to handle this is to ask the base coaches to intervene should their player charge the mound.

dulcet.industries
dulcet.industries

Matt Kemp needs to stop barking... If he wanted some stuff go after the SP that threw at you.. This is baseball at its core... A SP can cause brain damage throwing at a batter, hence the helmet change in the 90s... First they banned a batter from charging the mound with a bat (Mota), now you can't charge the SP with bad intentions... Sports writers are wimpy kids who couldn't play the sport they cover... 

dulcet.industries
dulcet.industries

Personally, I think this was awesome... by the way who won? 

PhD2014
PhD2014

Greinke should be fined for taking the charge with his throwing shoulder. If anyone had been hit 115 times I would guess 116 would set you off especially if it were a player you had history with. However, he should be suspended as long as Greinke is out.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

Quentin should be suspended for the rest of the season. Perhaps charged with assault and battery. No one deliberately hits a hack .250 hitter on a 3 and 2 count in a one run game. The Dodgers should sue the Padres for every penny they pay Greinke during the time he is injured - and more if he does not fully recover from his injury.

EliCabelly
EliCabelly

@ToddMendoza It was 2-1, full count. Grienke was holding onto the lead. He wasn't aiming at Quentin at all. Quentin crowds the plate, has been hit most than almost everyone else, and has a hot temper besides. Grienke didn't provoke anything.

I'll bet next time Grienke pitches at Quentin it will be at his head.

SamPerkins
SamPerkins

@razzlondon I think your idea is completely bogus unless it works both ways.  Let the pitchers and the teams be paid for every player who's entire career has been ended by a pitcher too.  

6marK6
6marK6

@razzlondon I like where you are going, but not in this case. Greinke is overpaid and that burden should be on the Dodgers.

JamieBreslow
JamieBreslow

@rdlewis He's pretty good. Only lost 5 games last year and threw 200 strikeouts, 13th highest.

dsoifn
dsoifn

@refmichel wow, this just goes to prove people really see what they want to see.  six inches off the plate??  good inside pitch??  watch it again.  it's at least a foot off the plate and hits him in the shoulder.  you throw that high and inside you should not be surprised if someone charges at you...

rdlewis
rdlewis

@Mathonwy Or the catcher, WTF was he doing just watching as the batter charged his pitcher? Most of the time these things are immediately diffused by a good catcher protecting his guy....

Chris66
Chris66

@Mathonwy No way.  These guys are professionals.  They're paid ridiculous sums of money for their ability to mentally and physically handle the pressures of the game in front of thousands of people.  Fighting or charging the mound has no place in this or any other sport.  Baseball should throw down the gauntlet and eject players for fighting.  Period.  after enough ejections and the mandatory 1 game sit out / loss of pay, these guys will stop the childish behavior.  Now 'roid rage might be a different issue.  Sounds like Quentin needs to pee in a cup...  Just to be sure...

tmyslik
tmyslik

Quentin won this round but the bell hasn't rung yet.

cord u
cord u

@PhD2014 

First of all, he took the charge with his non-throwing shoulder (the left one). 

And the fact that Quentin has been hit 115 times actually is an indictment against him. He hangs out over the plate and doesn't try to get out of the way, which is what he did last night. 

So there's supposedly a "history" between these two? Greinke last hit him 4 YEARS AGO. And they've had dozens of at-bats in between, and Greinke hasn't hit him. So suddenly after 4 Years, Greink remembers there's a history between them and decides to hit the guy in a one-run game? 

Quentin's either delusional or just stupid . . .

BennDover
BennDover

@WilyCoyoteSuperGenius you can't be serious.  either that or you have no clue about baseball.  assault and battery? wow, your generation is so spoiled and entitled you can't think rationally.  Hit the last channel button on your remote; the kardashians are back from commercial

razzlondon
razzlondon

@SamPerkins @razzlondon If it's a situation where the umpire rules the HBP was intentional, and the league office agrees upon review, I have no problem with it working both ways.  

I agree - a 100 MPH projectile is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than punches, kicks, and tackles.  The only problem is that (unintentional) HBPs are part of the game, whereas there is no question that charging the mound or leaving the dugout to brawl is a rules violation.

razzlondon
razzlondon

@6marK6 @razzlondon OK, how about a fine based on the major league minimum for a player with the number of years in for the player injured?  Or based on the average of players at his position with the number of years in.  Even then, that money coming out of the player's pocket would be a pretty big disincentive.

BTW, I don't agree with you that the burden should be on the Dodgers - they overpaid, but the hitter went outside the rules to take action that led directly to the overpaid player being injured, and it's just like the eggshell plaintiff - you pay the cost resulting from the person you injured, not some hypothetical "average" injured party (and, yes, I know, that creates a perverse incentive to go after only young, lower-paid, and/or underpaid players, but all major leaguers make enough that if you injure someone badly enough for them to be out an extended period, you're talking major $$$$.

empron
empron

watch his feet dsoifn.  He steps in a good 6 inches.

empron
empron

@dsoifn @refmichel no - it hit him on the arm and if you watch the plate, it was easily within 6 inches of the plate.  No way to argue that.

rdlewis
rdlewis

@Chris66 Just because they are professionals doesn't mean they can't go overboard sometimes, but I agree, baseball should squash this behavior now before it gets out of control. That said, calm your homer-ism down with the steroids talk.

rdlewis
rdlewis

@cord u @PhD2014 First of all, taking the charge at all was stupid. So was antagonizing Quentin after he hit him. So was the fact that it probably wasn't even Quentin that broke the collarbone, but Ellis after he dragged the two to the ground. (Not to mention the fact why was Ellis so late to the party?)

Second, just because a player isn't a pansy like the majority of baseball players and actually takes a HBP now and then shouldn't work against him. If a pitcher has a right to the inside of the plate so does the batter, and if he wants to defend his ground with a HBP fine.

Finally, who goes up and in (*way* up and in) on a batter on a 3-2 count? They obviously aren't looking for a swing there, so its either a message pitch or he *wanted* to hit him. Either way, seems like Greinke was playing with fire and now Dodgers fans everywhere are whining because he got burned.

empron
empron

@dsoifn @empron you're right, no sense arguing.  But see below.  If you understand the camera angle and the trajectory of the ball and take that into account, it's actually pretty easy to figure out where the ball was and where it would of has to be in the video if it was way inside.  Have a good day.

dsoifn
dsoifn

@empron @dsoifn dude, are you seriously putting a ruler on a computer screen to try and get an accurate measurement from a video with a bad angle?  it's impossible and ludicrous.  i'm not going to try and argue with you from this premise.  if you can find video of the pitch from an overhead view, maybe we can talk.  catcher is set up outside but not that far outside.  his arm is fully extended to try and catch this ball.  it's way more than six inches off the plate, man...

empron
empron

@dsoifn @empron See my above post and try it.  Use a ruler and see just how close to the plate the ball was.  The catcher argument doesn't work because Ellis was setup so far outside.  Of course he had to reach up.  Your argument is based on the premise of a catcher setup in the normal position which he was not.  I think if you look at the video with a ruler and consider the angles and physics of a tailing fastball, you will quite possibly change your mind.


dsoifn
dsoifn

@empron seriously, you're blind or you're a dodgers fan. tell me where the catcher's mitt ends up as he tries to catch the wild pitch. he's a professional catcher.  he's not going to miss by much.  look how far his arm is extended trying to catch the wild pitch.