San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin unnecessarily started a bench-clearing brawl against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night that had severe consequences.
Major League Baseball historically doesn't throw the hammer down too hard on acts like this one. In this instance, however, the unprovoked nature of the mound charge and injury to Dodgers star hurler Zack Greinke warrants a longer suspension than usual for Quentin.
The two-time All-Star should have exercised better judgment in instigating what he knew would result in chaos on the field. To think Greinke was deliberately delivering chin music his way is illogical.
Greinke wound up with a broken collarbone when the dust settled, which robs the Dodgers of one of their best pitchers for a good chunk of the regular season.
Quentin intimated in Brock's piece that he and Greinke have a long history, and did not necessarily feel remorse over the pitcher's injury, stating that the situation could have been avoided.
He's right. It could have been avoided—if he didn't rush toward the hill.
While it could be argued that Greinke threw at Quentin in response to Padres starter Jason Marquis' high and inside delivery to Matt Kemp in the opening inning, it wouldn't make much sense given the juncture of the game.
There were no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the count was full and it was a one-run game. It seems like a strange time to take a shot at a hitter when the possibility of a strikeout and no runners on base looms.
The Dodgers' official Twitter page logged manager Don Mattingly's comments as to how long he believes Quentin should sit:
Don Mattingly: Carlos Quentin shouldn't play a game until Greinke can pitch.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 12, 2013
As Craig Calcaterra of NBC's Hardball Talk points out so well, though, the prior punishment in similar cases is rather restrained. Selig tends to punish the act rather than the ugliness that ensues as a result, but that needs to change.
The case that stands out the most of the ones Calcaterra references is when Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto kicked Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue in the head.
How long should Carlos Quentin be suspended?
It's up to commissioner Bud Selig to take action in this instance and make an example out of Quentin's irresponsible behavior.
Quentin isn't totally at fault for Greinke's collarbone breaking, because such an injury isn't something that a player purposely tries to inflict on an opponent—and probably couldn't if he tried. Having said that, it never would have happened if Quentin could have resisted charging.
In any other public place, the conduct many of these ball players engaged in would be breaking the law in many ways. So to have any situation escalate to that level in the first place is ludicrous, and it was clearly not the solution to whatever troubled thoughts were swirling around in Quentin's mind.
The outcome of this decision by Selig could be a landmark case in eliminating the violence that can sometimes give professional baseball a black eye. It should yield a more significant penalty for Quentin, given the ramifications of Greinke's injury—even if that isn't the precedent.