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Thread: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

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    How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Thought this was an interesting article about the process of the suspensions/fines

    Frank Robinson went to the movies all day Wednesday.

    Actually, Robinson watched the same flick "over and over and over and over," sometimes from different angles and at different speeds.

    When Major League Baseball appointed the Hall of Fame outfielder as its senior vice president for on-field operations, it was a fancy way of announcing that Robinson gets to clean up messes like the one that spilled behind home plate Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.

    Robinson and vice president for on-field operations Bob Watson assigned discipline for the seven-minute fracas that transpired between the Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. The action included a seven-game suspension for Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, two games each for managers Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker, and fines for Cardinals Chris Carpenter and Yadier Molina and the Reds' Brandon Phillips and Russ Springer.

    "What we want to do is try to be fair," Robinson explained Saturday. "We don't want to punish anyone who doesn't deserve to be punished .We try to keep the players on the field. When it's warranted, we suspend. There is a lot of back and forth and a lot of time involved."

    There typically exists a gulf in perspective as well.

    The Reds saw Molina instigate a verbal exchange with Phillips at home plate and heard Carpenter challenge Baker in a profane exchange that extended the incident.

    The Cardinals insist Phillips baited Molina by twice tapping his shin guards after making public, unflattering comments that had sharpened an edge within the showdown of two NL Central contenders.

    The visiting clubhouse also became enraged over Cueto wildly kicking Carpenter and backup catcher Jason LaRue, raising scars on Carpenter's back and leaving La Rue with a mild concussion and severely bruised ribs that sent him to the disabled list Friday.

    Robinson and Watson determined the incident would not have escalated without the heated rhetoric that arose between Baker and La Russa. Baker at one point told Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo to 'shut up." La Russa forcefully told Baker not to yell at his coaches.

    "We hold the managers and coaches to a higher standard," Robinson said. "They aren't supposed to say or do anything to incite the situation. Clearly the managers did that in this case."

    When Carpenter dropped a string of obscenities on Baker, tempers flared even hotter. Baker engaged Carpenter in a cluster of F-bombs as Reds third baseman and former Cardinals teammate Scott Rolen rushed at Carpenter. Rolen was both protecting his manager and trying to defuse the situation. "We're not going to let this happen! We're not going to let this happen!" Rolen yelled while grabbing Carpenter and pushing him toward the backstop.

    Many on both sides interpreted Rolen's sudden rush at Carpenter as a hostile move and sprinted toward the pair. The ensuing crush of humanity pinned Carpenter against the screen within easy kicking distance of Cueto, who claimed self-defense while being restrained by teammates.

    "We're trying to determine who is being aggressive, very aggressive and who physically escalates an incident with force," Robinson said.

    Robinson defined those who may have verbally incited the situation as aggressive.

    "What separated Cueto was he was kicking and he continued to kick and made physical contact with two players," Robinson said. "He was the No. 1 culprit."

    Cueto's role remained at least partly hidden to Jeff Kellogg's umpiring crew, which received high marks from Robinson as well as both managers for not ejecting players. Indeed, the Cardinals would have faced an untenable predicament had an overly zealous crew decided to evict Molina and Phillips, since LaRue's injuries would have left them without a catcher.

    Umpires are told to take notes during such a scrum rather than act as bouncers. "They did an outstanding job showing good judgment and restraint," Robinson said.

    Molina and Phillips "kind of disappeared after their initial situation," Robinson said. "The reason they only got fined, there were no punches thrown. Nothing got out of hand."

    Robinson classified Carpenter as "very aggressive" but withheld suspension because "he made no physical contact until Rolen kind of tackled him to get him out of Dusty's face."

    Carpenter on Friday reiterated his displeasure with Cueto but also admitted his own actions likely fed Tuesday's escalation.

    "He had something to say. I had something to say," Carpenter recalled of his heated exchange with Baker. "Unfortunately, it got out of control.

    "The hard thing was trying to explain to my son, who saw it 17 times, why is Scott Rolen attacking me? Why is everyone pushing me into the net? Why were they doing that? Why is your back messed up? Why is that guy kicking Mr. LaRue in the face? And you can't explain to a 7-year-old that at a baseball game that happens."

    Cueto, an 11-game winner this season, did not appeal his suspension and fine, immediately leaving the Reds to play a man short for its duration. Cueto, in essence, misses one start.

    The Cardinals argued strenuously for stronger discipline against Cueto. Asked what he thought about MLB's ruling, LaRue responded Friday with a terse "no comment." La Russa offered little more.

    Robinson underscored that his office acts within a narrow framework intended to be both thorough and expeditious while relying heavily on precedent. Robinson spoke with the umpiring crew, Watson with both managers, and the commissioner's office was forwarded interviews conducted between the Players Association and some of those players involved. (MLB may not directly interview players without union consent.)

    Robinson and Watson used as precedent a 1999 incident in which Texas Rangers pitcher Chan Ho Park launched a flying kick at Anaheim Angels pitcher Tim Belcher.

    In that instance, Belcher remained in the game, relatively unscathed; Park was ejected and eventually received a seven-game suspension.

    "We did what we could to Cueto," Robinson said, noting even an eight-game suspension would have been "pushing the envelope."

    (San Francisco Giants ace and future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal received an eight-game suspension and was heavily fined for clubbing Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro twice in the head with a bat in August 1965.)

    The process worked against stiffer action against Cueto as Robinson admitted he was unaware of the extent of LaRue's injuries before announcing discipline. La Rue did not see team medical supervisor Dr. George Paletta until almost 24 hours after MLB levied the suspensions and fines. An agreement between the commissioner's office and Players Association stipulates punishment for on-field incidents should be handed down within 48 hours.

    "Sometimes we may miss something like (LaRue's case) because of that," Robinson said. "If we had not acted, it would probably have been more severe. But as is, we really can't take a starting pitcher beyond five, six or seven days because this individual may hurt himself being laid off for a longer amount of time. We didn't know the extent of LaRue's injuries until later on."

    Added Robinson: "We may have added another game and gone against precedent. It's more likely we would have increased the fine."

    Robinson and Watson played a combined 40 seasons in the major leagues and believe any comparison of MLB's code of justice to other leagues such as the NBA and NHL is inappropriate.

    "The fans aren't there to see us. They're not there to see the umpires. It's about the players," Robinson said. "Players have to understand that they should play baseball. This is our sport. People don't come to the ballpark to see fights."

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseb...f6e5c28f8.html

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Frank Robinson is a class act. IMO. His quotes are all cool with me. Classy guy.
    "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."
    - Yogi Berra

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Robinson may be a class act, but they did a lousy job of handing out punishment. Cardinals got off easy as usual.
    "I can't take this homerism anymore." - 10xWSChamps, August 11, 2010. A Cardinals fan having a problem with all the homerism on Redszone. Classic.

    "Man do I miss the days where were didn't need a calculator and an encyclopedia of baseball metrics to enjoy a baseball game ... - MikeS21" - 8/2/12 game thread

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Carpenter on Friday reiterated his displeasure with Cueto but also admitted his own actions likely fed Tuesday's escalation.

    "He had something to say. I had something to say," Carpenter recalled of his heated exchange with Baker. "Unfortunately, it got out of control.

    Uhm, this isn't exactly admitting his own guilt and role in this at all IMO.
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    Off the schneid TStuck's Avatar
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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    I give high marks to both Robinson and Watson for their handling of this. The explanation really makes a lot of sense. I already really respected both of these guys on the basis of great playing careers - that's multiplied more now after reading this article. I think they effectively identified each of the instigation and flashpoints. Everyone named in the article played some role in starting, fueling, or escalating the fire during the scrum. I REALLY respect them for recognizing Rolen's true role and actions in the mess.
    The only question I'm still left with is how Springer managed to come out of this with a fine? Maybe I've overlooked it, but I've never seen anything definitive on what he actually did during the situation. The others were obvious.
    Better to be silent and thought a fool, than speak and be proven one.

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    TStuck - Springer is on the DL. You can't as much as set a foot on the field without receiving a fine...and that's exactly what he did. It had nothing to do with the fight itself. Sucks for Springer, but rules are rules.

    -Matt

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Quote Originally Posted by mattfeet View Post
    TStuck - Springer is on the DL. You can't as much as set a foot on the field without receiving a fine...and that's exactly what he did. It had nothing to do with the fight itself. Sucks for Springer, but rules are rules.

    -Matt
    Ok, this id off topic, but does OCab face a fine for being the "bat boy" while on the Dl then?

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    I understand that this was written from a St Louis perspective, but I dont know that the article could be any more one-sided than it is. The Cardinals were saints apparently.

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Quote Originally Posted by JoseRijo059 View Post
    Ok, this id off topic, but does OCab face a fine for being the "bat boy" while on the Dl then?
    Good question honestly, but the rule is probably worded that they dont want players on the field during game activity. I think handing balls and picking up bats count as game activity as an in game fight does.

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Quote Originally Posted by HalMorrisRules View Post
    I understand that this was written from a St Louis perspective, but I dont know that the article could be any more one-sided than it is. The Cardinals were saints apparently.
    Well man, it is Saint Lisa, so they couldn't have done anything wrong.
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    Off the schneid TStuck's Avatar
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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Quote Originally Posted by HalMorrisRules View Post
    I understand that this was written from a St Louis perspective, but I dont know that the article could be any more one-sided than it is. The Cardinals were saints apparently.
    Hal - looking only at the direct quotes from Robinson, I guess I don't see them making the Cards out to be saints. In fact, he charactarized Carpenter's role as "very aggressive" but differentiated it from Cueto's role solely on the basis of (lack of) physical contact. Johnny was going to get suspended one way or another regardless of his motive. Even as a diehard Reds fan, I saw that coming. But they did stop short of labeling Cueto's actions as malicious - evidenced by the comparison to Marichal vs. Roseboro and the precedent 8 game suspension it got. In practicality, Johnny got a 1 game suspension plus a bigger hit in wallet due to actually making physical contact with other players.
    I don't know that the amount of the fines has been publicized (?) but it's entirely possible Carpenter's fine was bigger than the other players (except most likely Cueto)
    Maybe the rest of the article's filler made it slightly StL slanted, but I didn't see Robby painting it that way.
    To me, it breaks out like this:
    Brandon didn't have to do the 2nd tap on Molina, but did = $fine$
    Molina could have just stayed down and shut up, but didn't = $fine$
    Baker & LaRussa yelling at each other rather than calming their teams = $fine$ & suspension
    Carpenter reignites brawl when he starts up yelling after umps have things calmed down = $fine$
    Johnny made physical contact with opposing players which resulted in some injury = $fine$ & suspension.

    Don't get me wrong...I'm still a bit sore and ticked off over the whole ordeal. I really had no love for Carpenter or Molina before and have even less now.
    But, given all circumstances along with the MLB rules, I think they handled it about as well as it could have been. Just my opinion though....anyone is free to disagree with me.
    Better to be silent and thought a fool, than speak and be proven one.

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Still think they handled it ok, but Carpenter comes across as a tool with his quotes.... again.
    RALLY CAPS!

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Quote Originally Posted by HalMorrisRules View Post
    I understand that this was written from a St Louis perspective, but I dont know that the article could be any more one-sided than it is. The Cardinals were saints apparently.
    It's from a St. Louis paper. So the home town tilt is to be expected.

    But imo, Robinson's remarks are not biased at all, just the article itself.

    I think with the exception of Carpenter not getting suspended, it was handled quite well, especially by the umps at the time.

    As I said before, I don't buy Robinson's explanation that since Carpenter didn't hit anyone, he shouldn't be suspended. No one can convince me that Carpenter didn't intentionally try to re-start the fight after it had calmed down. What he did was much worse than what Baker and LaRussa did, since the fight was over, and everyone was headed back to the benches before he started yelling obscenities at Baker.

    Coming into a calm or calming situation and elevating the fight, even with words, is a suspension in Basketball, Football and Hockey, and for good reason. No one gets hurt if Carpenter doesn't open his mouth.

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Almost no one was headed back to the dugouts when Carpenter yelled at Dusty and Dusty was still running his mouth. I will admit that Carpenter didn't help matters at all but he isn't as guilty in all this as a lot of you are making him out to be.
    As to the Cueto suspension, does anyone here want to comment on how funny it is that the only players he spiked were from the Cardinals when he got pushed up against the backstop by Reds players? Not one player from the Reds has came forward to say he got spiked by the "scared and panicked" Cueto. He got off lucky.

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    Re: How the MLB sorted out the brawl

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawg View Post
    Almost no one was headed back to the dugouts when Carpenter yelled at Dusty and Dusty was still running his mouth. I will admit that Carpenter didn't help matters at all but he isn't as guilty in all this as a lot of you are making him out to be.
    As to the Cueto suspension, does anyone here want to comment on how funny it is that the only players he spiked were from the Cardinals when he got pushed up against the backstop by Reds players? Not one player from the Reds has came forward to say he got spiked by the "scared and panicked" Cueto. He got off lucky.
    Noboday was pushed into a fence before Carpenter yelled. Nobody was getting kicked in the face before Carpenter yelled. Nobody would have been suspended if it ended before Carpenter yelled.


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