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Some little things that should probably be bigger things but it’s the end of the week and I don’t want to think all that hard right now.
Figures baseball would screw it up.
Bit late to this but this ridiculous, needless drilling of Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. by Jose Urena of the Marlins the other night was handled, of course, poorly by those who run the game.
Now, I have come around almost full circle on “purpose” pitches that were, and are, at a pitcher’s disposal as a way to “send a message” or “get even” for some other slight. I still think brushing a guy back slightly has a place in the game but never at the end, always close and never behind a hitter but I think only in retaliation for something that’s happened in a game. And once it’s done, it’s done.
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Kind of like a hard slide, which I have no issue with whatsoever, it’s to be used judiciously and rarely but I do think it’s still a small part of the game.
It is not, however, ever cool to plunk a guy with the first pitch of a game solely because he’s been wearing your staff out for days, which is precisely what Urena did in what has to be one of the bush league moments of the season.
And I’m glad the Braves reacted as they did and were as angry as they were; it was a classless act and I wish someone could have gotten to Urena somehow. Plus, it’s outstanding that Acuna didn’t miss a game and was back in the lineup last night.
But here’s where baseball screwed up and maybe there is no answer but there should be.
Urena has to be disciplined, of that there is no question, but to simply hit him with a six-game suspension was a wuss-out move by the overseers of the sport.
That’s basically a one-game suspension for a starter, hardly a hardship and, some might think, not a bad thing to force a pitcher to take an extra day between starts.
Me? I’d have no problem with a two-week suspension or even 15 days, take the guy out of a rotation for a legit period, put some weight behind the penalty. That might open a few eyes.
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And if that’s not palatable, how about a six-game unpaid suspension and another quarter of a million dollar fine, to both the player and the team? Denting a pocketbook is never a bad idea.
Either way, the penalty doesn’t fit the crime as it exists in baseball’s minds these days and hitting the first batter of the game is one of the more egregious screw-ups of this or any season.
This’ll be our last call for questions — good, bad or indifferent, it doesn’t matter — for this weekend’s mailbag.
Get ’em in soon and I’ll get ‘em answered for Sunday. All you’ve got to do is click on email@example.com and let your mind go.
I don’t know what it says but it says something somehow that Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth all died on the same date, Aug. 16.
You may not find a group of such diverse people who each had such a crazy impact on very different segments of society and in entirely different eras.
And I know everyone listened to as much Aretha yesterday as they could — never a bad thing — but this would have been among the top five minutes.
Was cool to see David Robinson in the stands among the people at the Duke-Ryerson game the other night, in a prime location behind the bench to watch his son play for the Blue Devils.
A story came to mind:
I have the greatest of respect for Robinson and what he stands for and how he comports himself. He built, or spearheaded the building, of a school in San Antonio years and years ago, he is an exemplary person by everything I’ve ever known about him or seen of him.
This, however stands out.
I probably saw him play somewhere around 55-65 times over the years, in regular seasons games, all-star games, Olympics, NBA finals and every single time, without fail, he stood ramrod at military attention for every single national anthem.
No shuffling of feet, no staring off into space, no goofing around, nothing. Full attention. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
That level of respect and discipline is, sadly, lacking in so many these days.
Shockingly, I haven’t paid close attention to the NBA’s video game league this season.
I still think twitch is a tiny convulsion and not a thing you watch on a computer screen and I am not alone in that.
But, anyway, the regular season is over, the playoffs are set and it’s Toronto-Cleveland in the first round.
If LeBron plays, we got ourselves a story.
Doug Smith is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @smithraps