By Mason Nesbitt
Major League Baseball handed out suspensions on Friday for Tuesday Night’s fight between the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.
D-backs starting pitcher Ian Kennedy headlined those suspended. The right-hander received a 10-game-ban for sparking the brawl by beaning Dodger pitcher Zach Greinke near the head.
Greinke had hit D-backs catcher Miguel Montero in the previous half inning as retaliation for Kennedy plunking Dodger outfielder Yasiel Puig in the head with a pitch in the sixth.
During the scrum, Puig responded to a push from D-backs reserve infielder Eric Hinske by punching him in the back of the head.
Surprisingly, Puig wasn’t suspended.
ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon suggested in a column that Major League Baseball might’ve been gracious to Puig because his actions stemmed from the fear generated by being hit in the head.
But if that’s the case, why didn’t MLB show such grace to Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin when—after being hit with a pitch—he attacked Greinke.
If Puig’s blow had seriously injured Hinske, like Quentin did Greinke, would Puig ‘ve been suspended?
It seems then, Puig didn’t receive a suspension because Hinske isn’t headed to the disabled list.
But Hinske’s health doesn’t excuse Puig’s cheap shot; the 22-year-old right fielder should’ve been suspended. In fact, his punch was equal to or worse than the misconduct of Dodgers who were suspended.
The four biggest offenders in Dodger blue seem to have been relievers Ronald Belisario and J.P. Howell, as well as Don Mattingly and Puig.
Belisario was punching people and probably deserved more than his one game suspension.
Howell pushed a D-back halfway over the camera-well railing and rightly received a two game ban.
Mattingly received a one game suspension for going Pedro Martinez-Don Zimmer on D-backs bench coach Alan Trammel, throwing him to the ground on his way to yell at an umpire.
And Puig’s fist connected with the back of Hinske’s skull, resulting in nothing but a fine.
On the other hand, it’s hard to tell exactly why utility-man Skip Schumaker was banned for two games. And it might be even harder to discern what hitting coach Mark McGwire did to deserve a two game absence from the Dodgers’ dugout—since when is it a crime to yell in someone’s face?
McGwire yelled and Puig punched. Who should’ve been suspended?
MLB did the Dodgers a favor in suspending McGwire and not Puig; Big Mac’s days of hitting home runs are over, and Puig’s are just beginning.