Yeah, we’re still on this beanball war thing, since I only just now heard what Mark Melancon said last night. I’m drafting off of Bill Baer’s post from this afternoon, but I had been trying to hold out from speaking my mind on the matter because, well, dragging out the incident means “both sides” get a bigger platform to wage their war of ideas in the matter of When Is It The Appropriate Time To Intentionally Throw A Ball At A Player’s Head.
The argument for is that it’s never about hitting the guy in the head with the ball, it’s about scaring him for making you look bad. The argument against is that a rage-fueled id monster can do serious physical damage even if he just means to scare the other guy. The second part of that is that it doesn’t make you look like a tough guy, it makes you look like a pathetic loser.
To recap: Strickland threw a 95 mph fastball at Brinson's head. Brinson, a rookie, got a big base hit and celebrated "too much," according to the Giants. Strickland hit a door. The Giants hit Brinson.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 20, 2018
It’s important to remember that the most callous yet emotionally fragile baseball players in every stadium on a given night are the pitchers. They’re the ultimately bullies because they stand taller than everybody else — there’s a mound built in their honor — and they get to throw hard leather balls at people all night long. And those people have no idea what’s coming, so it’s the pitcher who’s in control. So, when a batter shows them up by beating them or when an ump shows them up by not giving them what they want, they lose their goddamn minds.
In a pitcher’s mind, this gives him permission to do whatever he wants to get back at the offending person and that person cannot do anything in response. He just has to take it. Pitchers will say whatever they have to in order to justify this warped philosophy, and their teammates will support them.
Melancon says Brinson 'disrespected the game' in exchange with Strickland pic.twitter.com/KhdJpTTvrQ— KNBR (@KNBR) June 20, 2018
“Disrespected the game” is such an emotionally charged statement because it rises to the level of a character attack. Attacking the character of a baseball player because they got a hit is so aggressively weak that it calls into question the integrity of the people who use it, because “disrespected the game” is also a limp cop out for a pitcher’s shitty behavior.
Only Brian McCann cares about the rules of the game as much as pitchers do, and that’s because catchers are the district attorneys for the Baseball Cops.
A pitcher is the player most likely to drop the line “No one is bigger than the game” as they chuck 97 mph at your head. Both Mark Melancon and Dereck Rodriguez have essentially come to Strickland’s defense, and that makes sense because pitchers stick together, but it also goes to show that the Alphas are all about using emotional phrasing to get enough sympathy to continue doing whatever they want to on the mound.
You know the Giants are grasping at straws here because Melancon willfully ignores the context for Brinson’s behavior, which, again, as a reminder, started with this:
which Strickland instigated because of this from the week before:
and yesterday, when the beanball wars began, we got a line on the broadcast that was basically “Oh, the boys were still mad about Straily breaking Longoria’s hand”, an idea that came out of nowhere and doesn’t pass the smell test. It does pass the boys will be boys line Mike Krukow floated on the broadcast after Mattingly had been ejected and tempers were highest. He added something to the effect of “Just having fun out here at the ballpark”.
But that was all cover for the fact that an emotionally unhinged pitcher couldn’t handle the pressure, and so we have to pretend like this is all for some other reason. The closer couldn’t close, but it’s somebody else’s fault. For all the cranky old guys who complain about the modern way of playing baseball (and, for the record, they’re on literally all media outlets with an MLB license and it’s the only thing they talk about), one of baseball’s oldest unwritten rules is based on one of the chief criticisms of “millenials” — these young people don’t take responsibility for their actions!
If Hunter Strickland had literally murdered Lewis Brinson with that “purpose pitch”, fans and teammates would’ve defended him. It would’ve been deemed an “unfortunate outcome” in a “tough sport”, but everyone would’ve worked hard to make it clear that Strickland was within the rules of baseball going up and in on a hitter who beat him. How was he supposed to know that there was a defect in Brinson’s helmet?
I never expected the Giants pitchers to think differently from every other pitcher on the planet or in the history of the sport, but I hoped they would at least make the best possible choice available to them: Shut up! No one cares about your situational ethics or baseball moralism that only makes sense in your warped baby minds. A wise man knows to keep his mouth shut.
I get it. The world is a chaotic place and off the field, pitchers are as susceptible to the chaos as we normies. Hunter Strickland needs to work on his anger issues and the Giants bullpen will defend one of their own no matter what. Mark Melancon has been an outspoken member of that bullpen, throwing one unnamed member to the wolves in the offseason and calling out a rookie last night. It’s fair to call into question his leadership and beliefs for being so petty. We all have our own ways of dealing with chaos.
You don’t have to defend everything the players do because they’re on Your Team. It’s okay to dislike some of them. It’ll still be Your Team long after they’re gone. The Giants are dumb for tripling down on blaming Lewis Brinson, and I just thought you should know that.
P.S. Don Mattingly is one of the worst baseball managers to have ever lived and the fact that he threatened Bruce Bochy with retaliation right in the middle of all this just shows that there are no limits to how addled and terrible he can be. We desperately need him back in the NL West, preferably managing the Dodgers.