Your Monday Reality Check: Unlike would-be assailants, Buck rises above fray

June 24, 2013 | Glenn Clark

“Unwritten rules” are for losers, plain and simple. Winners go win baseball games. When Kevin Gregg spent the Summer of 2011 yelling about the Boston Red Sox and how they “think they’re better than everyone else”, I came on-air every day in response to say “go win some baseball games.”

Thankfully, the Orioles started winning baseball games in 2012 under a manager (Showalter) who cared significantly more about winning baseball games than about winning pissing matches. Instead of screaming about home run admiration, Showalter brought accountability to a team that badly needed it. Showalter’s accountability coupled with a great deal of talent and just like that-there was no longer a need to win via the “unwritten rules” because now the O’s could just win baseball games.

Of course, a great number of fans never got the memo. It’s understandable considering the team’s PR department decided winning off the field battles was still more important than winning baseball games. It’s a shame they haven’t put Buck in charge of that group.

As I expected, Showalter did not engage in a battle of “who’s is bigger?” with the Jays, and starter Freddy Garcia (nor any Orioles reliever) did not direct a fastball towards Bautista’s ear Sunday. It didn’t help the Orioles win Sunday’s game, but his decisions to concern himself more with ACTUAL baseball than unwritten baseball will continue to benefit Charm City for as long as the marriage lasts between skipper and team.

But it’s important that we don’t end this conversation with a simple “way to go, Buck!” He’ll deserve plenty more of those as the years go on, but there’s another conversation that MUST be had while this topic is at hand.

I want you to take a look at the definition of “assault”, courtesy of Merriam-Webster…

In what world does intentionally throwing a ball with a speed in the area of 90 miles an hour towards someone’s head not fall in this category?

I’ve declared that headhunting in baseball has constituted assault for years, but for some reason a great number of you have continued to dismiss this possibility as lunacy. You’ve attempted to compare it to fighting in hockey, despite the fact the combatants in a hockey fight are actually-you know-BOTH involved.

Headhunting in baseball IS however very similar to a hockey goon who decides to take it upon himself and slash an opponent in a gutless manner. Or perhaps a player sucker punching another player from behind because that player wouldn’t fight him. That particular incident actually happened in 2004 when Canucks F Todd Bertuzzi attacked Avalanche C Steve Moore. It ended Moore’s career…Bertuzzi ultimately pled guilty to assault.


Far too long we have allowed cowards in the game of baseball to continue believing that intentionally throwing a baseball at someone is simply an acceptable part of a sport. Far too long we have accepted “because baseball” as a justification for an action that is no more than assault.

The Supreme Court of California unfortunately set a precedent in 2006 that suggested “For better or worse, being intentionally thrown at is a fundamental part and inherent risk of the sport of baseball. It is not the function of tort law to police such conduct.” It was a shameful response from a high court and should be revisited over and over again. Seemingly unintentional HBP’s have resulted in consequences as significant as a child’s death. I checked in with a few area law enforcement authorities who were conflicted in how they would handle a police report of an injury caused by an intentional hit batter. Some suggested they would pursue action, others suggested they punishment would have to be handled internally by the organizers of the sport.

I’m sure that if the cowards who responded to my Facebook post would find out their own child died due to being hit intentionally by a baseball, they’d be quick to say “hey-it’s a fundamental part of the game! No big deal!”

There is absolutely no place in the game for intentionally hitting batters whether or not it was part of the game’s past. Unfortunately there will be many baseball players unintentionally injured by baseballs in the future. Major League Baseball must continue to take very seriously any possible intentional hit batsmen. Phillies P Cole Hamels was laughably suspended for one start for admitting to plunking Bryce Harper last year. That type of punishment does nothing to ensure no pitcher will think such action is acceptable in the future.

The suggestion of intentionally hitting an opposing hitter with a baseball is not just archaic, it’s perverse. It’s sick. It’s deranged. The people who suggest such a thing is acceptable fall into all of those categories.

But thankfully it isn’t a concern in Baltimore today. Thankfully the manager of the Orioles won’t stand for such nonsense.

Thankfully Buck Showalter knows what this baseball team needs to accomplish in 2013.

They need to win baseball games, not defeat 300,000 soldiers with an army of only 300 Spartans. Hopefully some of the cowards on social media this weekend will take their cues from the skipper.


6 Comments For This Post

  1. Chris Says:

    I agree. Headhunting is really stupid and I believe it will lead to a day when someone gets killed or suffers a truly debilitating brain injury. To be honest, there was nothing wrong with Oday briefly celebrating a big strikeout and there’s also nothing wrong with the batter then “getting him back” by hitting a big go ahead homer. It’s just sports. People need to chill. In fact I think the punishment should be an immediate 15 game suspension for position players and relievers and a minimum of 3 starts for starting pitchers. I think that would get the message across.

  2. J Says:

    Bautista deserved to be thrown at, not the head but yes a message pitch. The MLB tonight had a good piece on this it showed how many times Mr ped Bautista flipped his bat after a HR early in the game. he is a showboat. so when Darren Pumped his fist after a big K late in the Game Jose asked what did he say and that was what started it, he did not say anything. so to run your mouth like he id after a HR he deserved to be thrown at he is a moran and a cheat.

  3. Dave Says:

    The best way to retaliate is to win games. I think the Orioles already handle Bautista pretty well- they’ve been throwing inside to him regularly since the beginning of last season. That’s fine- make him uncomfortable, brush him off the plate, etc. If he gets hit by a pitch while we’re doing that, so be it. That’s part of baseball. Happened to Nick Markakis. He wasn’t the first guy who that has happened to, and he certainly isn’t going to be the last. Deliberately throwing at or even near someone’s head does not belong in the game of baseball.

    While Bautista’s (and while we’re at it, David Ortiz’s as well) constant pimping of home runs has no part in baseball, two wrongs don’t make a right.

  4. raz_la Says:

    Beanball pitchers = cowards

    ALL pitchers should bat……….screw the DH

    Chris is right…….15 games for position players and a minimum of 3 starts for pitchers…….I say 5

  5. BK Says:

    Funny the comments by Andy on Facebook are from a ‘Baptist Church School’. Ahhh, religion at its finest. It is OK to do and say whatever you want because you are ‘religious’. I wonder if he realizes you can listen to WNST anywhere in the world, not just Towson? Although there is debate as to if the great Glen Burnie is still part of the real world, lol.

    Throwing intentionally at a batter is just plain a sin (I mean wrong) and especially if it is above the waste. No need for it to be in baseball along with several other things. History is no reason to justify doing anything. Take Hitler, the Crusades, slavery, etc, as prime examples.

  6. PghSteve Says:

    Wonder how some of these fans in favor of throwing at a batter would feel next November if Ray Rice’s knees were taken out by an opposing linebacker after Mr. Rice made some gesture after a big run? Part of the game? Intentionally injuring someone is not part of a game, it is assault. And a player does not need to take a ball in the head to be injured; just ask Mr. Markakis about getting hit on the hand/wrist.

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