At the seventh inning stretch of the July 31 game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Detroit Tigers, it looked likely people would be talking about the game all week long. Tigers starter Justin Verlander had yet to allow a hit, and everyone was getting ready to celebrate his second no-no of the season.
Verlander finally gave up a hit in the top of the eighth, but the fact that he came within four outs of a no-hitter became a minor footnote after the events of the seventh.
Jered Weaver surrendered a solo home run to Carlos Guillen, giving the Tigers a 3-0 advantage. Guillen stood and admired his blast for a few seconds before flipping the bat out of his hand and dancing down the line, taunting Weaver. Home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt talked with the pitcher, then issued warnings to both benches.
On the first pitch to the next batter, Alex Avila, Weaver threw straight at his head and was immediately ejected from the game.
Let's not give Weaver too much benefit of the doubt here.
He did not mean to pitch inside, and he did not mean to hit him on the thigh. A pitcher of Weaver's talent throws the ball where he wants to throw it—and he threw it at Avila's head.
Of course, I'm not saying Weaver wanted to hit him. If he had wanted to bean Avila, he would have gotten him in the back or the leg.
The fact remains, though, that he threw at his head.
MLB suspensions are like parking tickets; you get fined $60, but if you show up within two weeks to pay, it gets halved to $30. If you are suspended four games, you appeal and, 99 times out of 100, you will get it reduced to three.
So it is not unreasonable or unrealistic to think Weaver will get his suspension reduced to five games. For a position player, that is a fairly major suspension. For a starting pitcher, that is nothing.
Weaver is going to sit four games between starts anyway; a five-game ban means he just gets an extra day of rest.
Weaver lost it completely in the seventh inning of that game and made a terrible decision about how to respond to the situation. It is just a shame MLB has done almost nothing about it.