Giving MLB a Fairness Grade for Each Dodgers-Diamondbacks Brawl Suspension

Joe Giglio@@JoeGiglioSportsContributor IJune 14, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11:  Manager Don Mattingly (R) of the Los Angeles Dodgers pushes down coach Alan Trammell #3 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during a bench clearing brawl in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on June 11, 2013 in Los Angeles,  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

After nearly three days to break down the tape, banter in the league offices and let the aftermath of the Dodgers-Diamondbacks brawl simmer down, Major League Baseball has announced suspensions for each of the combatants involved in the scuffle at Dodger Stadium.

Between the two teams, eight uniformed members have received disciplinary action.

How fair were the suspensions? Let's take a look.

Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy: 10 games

Considering that Kennedy's pitch toward the head of Zack Greinke was the straw that broke the camel's back in this incident, anything less than 10 games—or, in other words, two starts for the Diamondbacks starting pitcher—would have been egregious on the part of Major League Baseball.

While some fans might have liked to see him suspended 15 games in order to miss three turns through the rotation, 10 is acceptable. If you believe the sport needs to crack down on headhunting, anything less than 15 or 20 games probably irks you today.

Grade: Fair 

Diamondbacks infielder Eric Hinske: five games

While Hinkse's punishment seems harsh at first glance considering he wasn't on the field to coerce the start of the melee, it's more than acceptable considering his veteran status around the game. If Hinkse had chosen to try to break up the ensuing fight as opposed to taking very aggressive action in it, the entire incident could have looked different.

In fairness, most around the game believe Hinske did no wrong, instead actually becoming a punching bag for the more aggressive Dodgers.

Yasiel Puig, after being hit in the nose, actually displayed more aggression, but didn't warrant a suspension from MLB.

I believe Hinske could have done more to break up the fight before it began, but five games is ridiculous for the notion of what he could have accomplished rather than what he actually did.

Grade: Harsh, but understandable due to his veteran status

Dodgers pitcher J.P. Howell/Dodgers utility man Skip Schumaker: two games

Outside of the highly-publicized outbursts and physicality between the coaches and managers, the most violent and aggressive behavior came from the Howell-Schumaker combination. Howell's wrestling-style takedown of Arizona coach Turner Ward near one of the dugouts felt like the tipping point from argument to brawl.

Grade: Not harsh enough

Dodgers coach Mark McGwire: two games

Although Big Mac, still as imposing as a Dodgers coach as he was during his playing days, was very, very heated during a standoff with Diamondbacks coach Matt Williams, it seemed like he controlled his anger to the point of anger, not aggression or real fighting. The same suspension as Howell seems inappropriate.

Grade: Too harsh 

Dodgers relief pitcher Ronald Belisario: one game

Any time members of the bullpen come rolling into an incident in the middle of the diamond, bad things follow. Belisario didn't help the cause, but he certainly wasn't a lead instigator.

Grade: Fair 

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly/Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson: one game

Baseball should be embarrassed. The two managers, Mattingly and Gibson, should be taking the brunt of the blame for allowing this to deteriorate into an another ugly incident for the sport.

From my perspective, Mattingly let his frustrations with his team's season seep onto the field by tackling an opposing coach.

Gibson, while much less physical during the actual fight, could have ended this before it started by making sure Kennedy did not go to the mound with bad intentions during the inning in which the incident occurred.

The on-field leaders failed, and baseball failed by not recognizing it.

Grade: Not harsh enough

Considering their status as National League West foes, this won't be the last meeting between Los Angeles and Arizona this summer. Let's hope this topic isn't revisited again down the line.


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