Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You Can't Spell Immaturity Without the I in Ian Kennedy

Most likely by now you either saw the Arizona Diamondbacks-Los Angeles Dodgers game live Tuesday night, watched the "lowlights" or read about everything that is not what baseball is supposed to be about. When all is said and done Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy should be hit, no pun intended, with a lengthy suspension and a hefty fine.

Things started out when Zack Greine hit the Dbacks' Cody Ross, which probably looked innocent enough to most observers. However, Greinke has a reputation for well placed pitches that connect with body tissue and broke his collarbone earlier this year when San Diego's Carlos Quentin bull rushed the mound. Hitting Ross also backfired when the next hitter, Jason Kubel, hit a 2-run home run.

Arizona's Kennedy must have been one of those who though Greinke's pitch had a purpose, since he took thingst one step further and went head hunting at rookie standout Yasiel Puig. The ball hit Puig's shoulder and ricocheted off his nose. Luckily the Cuban native was only shaken up, but the benches emptied due to the location of the pitch. Things could have been let go there, but you can't blame Greinke when he retaliated.

His teammate didn't get hit below the waist, his career and life was put in jeopardy in a matter of seconds by Kennedy's irresponsibility. Greinke responded with a fastball in the back of catcher Miguel Montero. That is where it should have stayed, but Kennedy, who was immensely immature when he was in the Yankees organization, nailed Greinke up high when the Dodgers pitcher came to bat in the 7th inning.

In doing so, Kennedy set off an even nastier bench clearer that had managers and coaches pushing and shoving, and squaring off.  (Dodgers manager Don Mattingly shoved down Diamondbacks coach Alan Trammell; perhaps that was really retaliation for all the times Trammell's late innings hits helped the Tigers beat the Yankees back in the day.) Mattingly and fellow manager Kirk Gibson all had to be separated.  Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire was ejected after a shouting match with Gibson.

Jimmy Dugan aka Tom Hanks said, "There's no crying in baseball.", but a better saying is there is no room for stupidity in baseball. What Kennedy did Tuesday night was the ultimate in stupidity. There is no place in baseball for pitches thrown from the shoulders up.

Those of you who are Yankees fans remember when Kennedy pitched for the Bronx Bombers organization from the time he was drafted in 2006 into 2009 when he made his final Major League start for the pinstripes.  No loss was ever his fault. His pitchers were good ones, somehow the other team just hit them. His fielders let him down, the team didn't score, etc. Kennedy needed a change of scenery and attitude. It appears he only got one.

Two years later he was a 21-game winner and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting for the Diamondbacks. However, his numbers weren't as good in 2012 and have been much worse this season. (5.49 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, -0.8 WAR) You can bet Kennedy must be frustrated by the season he is having, but his behavior in LA Tuesday night is no excuse. Forget the somewhat standard eight game suspension and double least.

And the worst may still be to come if Kennedy faces the Dodgers again this season.

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