As you surely have seen and/or heard by now, Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino was fined and suspended for three games by Major League Baseball for actions that occurred last Friday night during their game in San Francisco.
No Giants were suspended. San Francisco’s P Ramon Ramirez and C Eli Whiteside were fined…as was Phillies 3B Placido Polanco.
Look, I know I should be used to the outrageous, moronic rulings baseball hands down when both benches clear and major leaguers prance about like they want a piece of someone on the other team. The goal has always already been accomplished by the team in the field by either hitting someone with their 90+ fastball or making them eat dirt ducking it. I am truly embarrassed when I see these faux fights thereafter. Here comes the “wise elder line”…wait for it…when I played competitive baseball in situations like that they did not end with everyone just smoothing their unis out and saying some nasty words to each other. There was blood.
That being said, any person with a pulse who saw Victorino get drilled in the back knew the pitch had purpose. There is a growing history between these clubs. But what really set me off was Giants C Whiteside immediately stepping out from behind the plate and beginning to bounce up and down like a boxer awaiting his oncoming opponent. It was, as it always is in baseball, a gutless attempt by San Francisco to send a heat-seeking Hallmark card of unhappiness towards their opposition.
And seeing reliever Ramirez’s body language after Victorino had only taken a couple of steps towards him while discussing the merits of his most recent pitch…well, let’s just say as a sports fan first and a Phillies fan a close second…Victorino being the only one suspended in this matter doesn’t sit well.
Joe Garagiola Jr. is the VP of Standards in Major League Baseball. As the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Frank Fitzpatrick notes in the linked article above, Joe Jr. lowered those standards in handing out “justice” from this fracas. Both Frank and I are old enough to remember Joe Jr.’s father, who was a baseball broadcaster and network television host for many, many years. Joe Sr. in his day played the part of the light-hearted jokester who served only to set up others for serious, purposeful commentary. Calling him clown-like would be a tad harsh.
Joe Jr. appears to be taking his more critical role in baseball with the same mindset as his father…because his ruling in this affair can indeed be categorized as clown-like.
In announcing Shane’s penalty the commissioner’s office statement read, “Victorino’s aggressive actions prolonged the bench-clearing incident between the clubs.” Indeed, after things had calmed down (i.e. everyone assumed their normal stance of wanting nothing to do with each other except posing) Victorino did indeed dive back into a sea of San Francisco Giants…actually looking as if he wanted to engage someone in actual combat. The problem is, nothing came of it and the “prolonged” period paled in comparison to overlooking the obvious outset…a pitcher and catcher who both clearly knew what they were doing and what they needed to be ready for thereafter. Somehow, Victorino’s dive back into the pile of posers after being restrained warranted a 3-game suspension…but starting the whole premeditated nonsense warranted nothing but a couple of checks made out to MLB.
The Phillies have zipped their lips on all this except to say the suspension will be appealed.
Unfortunately, unabashed Philadelphia lover and nationally syndicated sportscaster Tony Bruno didn’t keep his lips…more accurately, his fingers…in check when the initial dust-up went down. (Tony worked in Philly for many years)
He took great lengths to apologize for a Twitter post both on that service and on his radio broadcast after the damage was done…but here’s part of what showed up on Tony’s Twitter account when he first saw the beanball…
“Gutless (….) Giants. Bochy (Manager Bruce) is a coward for having his illegal alien pitcher hit a guy.”
Bochy called out Bruno for his “racist” remark and rightly so. Talk about clowns. As much as I have loved Tony’s work over the years (met him once – nice man), he went over the cliff on this one. Unprofessional, unacceptable and Bruno deserves a substantial suspension from his duties…
…just like Ramirez and Whiteside. I’ll leave Bochy out of this because I’m not a mind reader (I have my suspicions, don’t you?). But I am a body language reader, and if ever I saw two people set out to throw a pitch at a batter it was the Giants’ pitcher/catcher combo that evening.
The ironic thing is, the lack of justice meted out in this instance will likely lead to some type of retaliation when these teams next meet.
Maybe then, the clown in charge will see not everything can be taken so lightly.