Is it just me or do you guys also find MLB brawls a little ridiculous? Whenever there is a scuffle between two individual players, each team's benches feel the need to participate, even if all they do is huddle together and at times escalate the situation.
August 10th was no different. The Cincinnati Reds hosted the St. Louis Cardinals in the second game of a pivotal three game series. The two teams are separated by only one game in a two way battle for the division, with every other team in the NL Central seemingly out of contention.
The atmosphere was already tense because of the playoff implications; not to mention the animosity that already exists between Reds manager Dusty Baker and Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. So of course, leave it to a player, in this case Reds infielder Brandon Phillips, to add fuel to the fire with his comments:
"I'd play against these guys with one leg. We have to beat these guys. I hate the Cardinals. All they do is [bleep] and moan about everything, all of them, they're little [same bleep, plural], all of 'em. I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals."
Apparently Phillips must have forgotten his comments because the first inning of the second game he approaches the batters box and friendly taps Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina on the shin, in what in his mind was nothing more then a friendly greeting.
However, given his comments and what was at stake, Molina did not take it too well. The two verbally spat at each other, eventually leading to the brawl we saw on Tuesday.
Benches would clear as they always do, and each manager was ejected. With all the freak accidents that have occurred this year (Angels 1B Kendry Morales and Marlins LF Chris Coghlan, both while celebrating) why risk the chance of losing a key cog in your lineup during one of these brawls?
Baseball needs a spark, and everyone loves a fight, so why not add a new wrinkle to major league baseball. Let's take a page out of the NHL and allow the two players to fight each other. There is no reason for both benches to clear, in the end, all that serves is to prolong the ordeal and increase the possibility of serious injury.
Implementation of the new rule would go as follows:
- The only ones allowed to partake in the brawl are the two players involved.
- No one is allowed to leave the bench or bullpen, the person that does so will automatically be suspended. The length of the suspension will vary depending on the actions of said player and would be determined by the Commissioner of MLB.
- Individuals that are involved in the confrontation must remove all gear from their possession (i.e. catcher's equipment, batting helmet, glove, baseball, and bat). Anyone who violates this rule will serve a one game suspension.
- Umpires are responsible for determining when the altercation should end.
- At the end of the dispute between the two players, each team's manager is ejected for the remainder of the game.
- Only one altercation is allowed per game. If any other should ensue the two players involved in the fight will be tossed out for the remainder of the game.
- The Commissioner of MLB reserves the right to also fine any player who violates the rules set forth.
The toughest part of implementing this new rule is deciding the consequences. The only punishment that seemed plausible was to eject the managers after the fight took place, similar to what happened in Cincinnati on Tuesday. Player ejections would not work for the simple fact that you do not want the outcome of the game affected.
Managers, although glorified, rarely have an impact in who wins or loses. More often then not, they are responsible for losses when they over-manage games. In the end, what does MLB have to lose?