Boston’s Ryan Dempster threw four straight pitches at Alex Rodriguez Sunday night before he finally hit him with a pitch. Home plate umpire Brian O'Nora incorrectly waited until the aftermath to warn both teams. Joe Girardi flipped out and got tossed from the game.
Yesterday, Major League Baseball mishandled things again. While Girardi was fined as expected, Dempster was given just a five game suspension. With two off days this week, the penalty means nothing to the Red Sox, who will push Dempster’s next start from Saturday to Tuesday. Dempster, meanwhile, could have shown a set had he admitted what he had done, but instead spouted the usual jibberish.
“I thought about appealing. But at the end of the day, Major League Baseball does a really good job of thinking through punishments before they hand them out,” Dempster said before the Red Sox played the Giants. “I just thought it was in the best interests of us as a team to go ahead and serve my suspension.”1
I believe that Joe Torre, MLB's disciplinarian that handed out the suspension, would have had Dempster sit longer if not for a directive from commissioner Bud Selig or veep Rpb Manfred.
ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted this morning that suspensions for retaliations are usually five games and blatant head hunting will get you a 10 game ban. Dempster's actions should have fallen in between since it was clearly a premeditated act.2
The suspension also lends credence to the defense’s theory that MLB is “out to get” A-Rod and make an example of him. Whether or not it's true, any speculation would have been avoided had MLB merely given Dempster a 7-8 game suspension. I do disagree with people like the NY Post’s Kevin Kernan, however, who felt the ruling meant “open season” on A-Rod.3 Other pitchers would be idiots to put their own teammates in jeopardy; especially since the majority of them have certainly played with a PED player at one time in their career.
The ruling will also add fuel to an already burning fire that could get out of hand when the Yankees and Red Sox meet in New York for a four game series beginning September 5. The two teams face each other again the following week at Fenway Park (Sept. 13-15). David Ortiz, a likely candidate for retaliation can thank his teammate should he get hit and possibly injured.
Sunday night’s Yankees starter CC Sabathia openly expressed his disappoint to the five game penalty when he spoke to the media on Tuesday.
"I thought he at least should miss a start and he's not going to do that, so I don't think it does anything. You don't throw at a guy four times. He violated every code in every way."41 - Boston Globe
2 - Buster Olney, Twitter
3 - NY Post
4 - Newsday