The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are waiting on tenterhooks as the MLB has decided to delay its decision regarding punishment following two bench-clearing brawls between the clubs on Tuesday.
The delay could signal many things, with one potential reason being that the MLB is about to come down on the teams. Hard.
It was an ugly scene on Tuesday when the two teams cleared the benches twice and got into it. With hit batters and ejections galore, this ended up turning into a huge fight with stars like Ian Kennedy and Yasiel Puig in the thick of it.
The question after Tuesday night's melee wasn't if the MLB would dish out suspensions, but how severe the punishments would be.
This brawl is certainly going to take a toll on both teams because of suspension, and those tolls could be heavy ones.
Bud Selig and the MLB big wigs are closely examining the events that transpired and who's at fault—and they might not like what they see.
The fact of the matter is that guys like Kennedy and Puig are in big trouble.
Kennedy not only hit two batters, but he hit a rising star, like Puig, and the opposing pitcher, Zack Greinke, near the head. He was being overly aggressive and was the one who started the brawl.
Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation called for a lengthy suspension of Kennedy for his actions:
A super-long suspension's in order. It's not in Major League Baseball's power to suspend him for a month or something, because of precedent and stuff. But if Kennedy doesn't miss two starts, I mean really hit the first-place Diamondbacks where it hurts, then something's wrong with the system. Because he basically beaned the Dodgers' two most exciting players in the head, at least one of them purely out of spite.
Pitchers usually get off pretty easy when it comes to suspensions since they really only miss a game or two, but this suspension needs to send a message.
The other guy who will likely face a hefty suspension will be Puig, who was red hot and was ejected on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old Puig became a 6'3", 245-pound ball of rage on Tuesday, and his teammates needed to hold him back (not that it worked).
As Ken Rosenthal wrote regarding the fight, Puig couldn't be controlled:
The Diamondbacks were still talking about Puig’s actions Wednesday, saying that the Dodgers were shouting at him, “No! Not you!” as he kept charging back into the melee.
Nine games into his career, Puig is already that valuable. The Dodgers were fearful of losing him to an ejection (which happened) and a suspension (which almost certainly will follow).
Puig, though, was in a rage.
Kennedy had hit him the previous inning, grazing his nose with a 92-mph fastball. According to several Diamondbacks, Puig kept shouting, “Yo soy Cubano!—“I am a Cuban!”—as he drifted in and out of the fight, at one point landing a haymaker on the back of Eric Hinske’s head.
To be completely fair, Puig had reason to come after Kennedy, as he had been hit in the face earlier in the game.
However, figuring out which players should be punished and for how long shouldn't take the MLB almost three days to figure out. There is another reason behind the punishments being delayed until Friday.
However, as Fox Sports West reports, MLB might still be looking into which participants will need to be suspended other than the obvious candidates:
League executives still need to sign off on which participants are to be disciplined, the source said. It’s possible that a number of players and coaches from each team, plus Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, could face fines, suspensions or both.
The fact that the MLB still hasn't decided which players will be suspended is a clear sign that more players than expected will be out.
While guys like Kennedy, Puig and Gibson are obviously getting suspended, the fact that the MLB is using video replay to find every player who should be suspended shows that even the players on the fringe of the fracas—but got a quick shot in—could be at risk.
However, there is another explanation for the MLB taking so long.
We've already seen umpires and the league blow calls this year. It's been ugly to say the least, and this blown home run call by Angel Hernandez is just one of many embarrassments this year.
The MLB doesn't want to blow anymore calls this year, and that could include this suspension.
It's definitely an ominous sign to see that punishments won't be doled out until Friday, but we can be sure that the league will try to make a statement with some serious suspensions and hefty fines.