Monday, May 11, 2009


Friday night, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun hit a game-winning two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Cubs. When bat met ball, Braun went into a bit of a walk, instead of running toward first base. He also stuck his tongue out (right). Video can be seen here.

(Dear MLB, please enable embedding of videos. This isn't 2007.)

Saturday night, Braun hit another long bomb, this one to give the Brewers a 5-2 lead on their way to a 12-6 win. The at-bat before his long home run, Cubs starter Ryan Dumpster had a message he wanted to send the slugger's way.

(Let's see how long this video is available for.)

Set aside for a moment the argument about whether the pitch actually grazed Braun's helmet, because it's irrelevant. The umpire ruled that it did, Braun was awarded first base, and it didn't matter because the Brewers won by six runs and absolutely destroyed the Cubs pitching on this night.

Focus instead on the location of Dumpster's pitch.

Yeah. There.
"I think the league frowns upon people throwing at people's heads," (Brewers manager Ken) Macha said. "I don't know if (MLB vice president) Bob Watson will look at that or not.

"I don't think that's a good idea to throw at people's heads. I don't know if (Dempster) was or he wasn't. I can't answer that. It's hard for me to tell anybody what somebody else's intentions are."
I wouldn't be happy, either.

After all, it has to be kind of scary watching people throw at your best player's head.

I am all for the policing that we see in baseball. To me, there are no issues with a pitcher sending one between a guy's numbers when they feel it's necessary.

But it has to be between the numbers, not into someone's earhole. You just don't go after a hitter's head, no matter how much of a jerk they may act like.

Macha's right about this, and Dumpster would probably face a fine or a possible suspension if he didn't play for the Cubs.

Where Macha goes wrong is in trying to tie in a larger point about the dangers of headshots. This comes from the same Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.
"The implications of hitting somebody and the effect that can have on somebody's career, look at Kirby Puckett. He was one of the stars of our game, enjoyed the game. He got hit in the face by Dennis Martinez and that was pretty much the end of it. There are consequences of what you do out there."
I have great respect for Tom Haudricourt, but it would have been nice if he had found a way to correct Macha. After all, it only took me one Google search.
To this day, Puckett searches for the logic behind his illness. "Nothing popped. There's nothing detached. Doc says it was just the pressure building up behind the eye for 35 years. And finally it just got to the breaking point on March 28."

(Dr. Bert) Glaser has ruled out as a cause any residual trauma from the beaning Puckett suffered Sept. 28 when his left sinus was shattered by a Dennis Martinez pitch.
(NOTE: The Times article cited Glaser, who was with the Retina Eye Institute in 1996, as "one of the foremost eye specialists in the country", so there's a good chance he knew what he was talking about.)

Ken Macha is far from the first person to blame Puckett's blindness on Martinez, either directly or indirectly. Sadly, many people continue to make this mistake even now, over 12 years later.

It would have been nice for Haudricourt to reach into the vast amount of information available on the internet before he allowed Macha to become the latest.

No comments: