By: Mark Lester
A few days ago, White Sox slugger Tim Anderson smashed a pitch from Royals pitcher Brad Keller over the left field fence. Like any athlete would do when they score, Anderson celebrated, yelling towards the dugout to fire up his teammates as they’d just taken the lead in a scoreless game. Brad Keller thought an appropriate response would be to hit Anderson with a 92 mph fastball in the thigh. Apparently he didn’t get a chance to watch that “let the kids play” commercial that MLB put out before the season started.
And apparently Rob Manfred didn’t watch it either, as he suspended Keller for only 5 games.
A 5-game suspension for a pitcher in a 5-man rotation is basically the equivalent of 1 game: the same suspension that Tim Anderson got. I’m not saying that Anderson didn’t deserve it, as he used an epithet for Keller that doesn’t need to be repeated nor ever spoken on a baseball field. But the fact that Keller, or any pitcher for that matter is getting away with intentionally hitting someone knowing full well that there’s a chance it will injure the batter is a disgrace to the game. Anyone who says otherwise probably haven’t experienced the pain that goes with getting drilled by a 90 mph fastball.
MLB needs to stand by what its preaching and start handing out 20-game suspensions to pitchers who can’t handle getting showed up on the mound. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before a pitcher slips up and seriously injures someone. Only then will we see rule changes and suspensions that guarantee that the long-held baseball tradition of beaning batters acting like any other athlete ends permanently.
The fact that this is still going on is an absolute joke and an embarrassment to the sport. It’s childish, silly, and worst of all it’s dangerous.
C’mon, Manfred. Let the kids play.