Youkilis, Porcello suspended five games each

Bob Watson speaks:

Boston’s Kevin Youkilis and Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello were suspended for five games each Wednesday and fined by Major League Baseball for their roles in a benches-clearing confrontation. The pair asked the players’ union to appeal the penalties, which will be held off pending completion of the process. In addition, Detroit pitched Edwin Jackson was fined for what Watson said were aggressive actions.

I’d say this was expected, but beaning and brawling justice is all over the map these days. As many noted in the ATH thread today, guys have been suspended for not hitting people this year, while guys who have beaned people and even bragged about it after the fact have received nothing but a fine.

It strikes me that Watson bases his discipline less on the actions at issue than he does the amount of a fuss people kick up about it after the fact on SportsCenter. Last night’s festivities were quite a spectacle, so fines were issued.

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  1. Randy said...

    The “5 games” thing still bothers me.

    Why does 5 days of a position player equal 1 start for a pitcher?

  2. Jason said...

    Youklis charged the mound, so he gets five games.  Porcello has a little bit of deniability because all he did was hit him and then stand there looking extremely scared. So he gets five games…but really only one.

  3. Dan said...

    This puts the lie to the idea that Porcello was some innocent bystander, victimized by Youkilis going off his nut.  If Watson didn’t regard it as likely that he hit him on purpose, he’d have gotten a fine only, and a small one at that. Just as the umpires discussed it briefly, came to a joint conclusion that Porcello intended to hit him and kicked him out, now Watson is saying the same thing.

    And Youkilis is serving the suspension now rather than trying to get it reduced and serving it at an unknown later time.  Not sure how good this is, missing two with the Tigers and three with the Rangers but I guess its just as good to get it out of the way so it doesn’t hang over his head.

    Good luck to Porcello getting it reduced – if Watson firmly believes he threw it intentionally, he’s not going to waver on five days.

  4. Kevin S. said...

    Randy, it’s the same portion of their season for the pitcher and the hitter, and it’s the same game checks forfeited.  Quite honestly, I don’t think Porcello should be suspended at all, and I think Youk should have gotten double what he did.  But silly me, attacking a pitcher with a weapon is only ten percent as serious as taking a drug that may or may not affect one’s performance.

  5. GregE said...

    Would you rather have a batting helmet thrown at you or take a fastball to the back? Porcello likely threw at Youk intentionally in silly retaliation for Cabrera getting hit by a pitch that was almost certainly not intentional. Both players acted stupidly and deserved to be suspended.

  6. Kevin S. said...

    I’ve taken fastballs in the back.  They sting a bit, you take your base and move on.  What Youkilis did had a greater potential to cause serious injury and was in no way shape or form part of the game.  There exists the possibility that the pitch got away from Porcello, a possibility that does not exist with Youk’s helmet, and the punishments accorded do not reflect the disparity in the probability of intent.

  7. Steve said...

    It is not at all likely that Porcello threw at Youk on purpose, that action at that time makes no sense; therefore, it likely is the wrong explanation.

    The Tigers bullpen has been overworked, it was only the top of the 2nd, they are in a pennant race, and were up 3-0.  If there was going to be payback, it would have come later, probably by a pitcher they could afford to have suspended, and once the outcome of the game was all but decided.

    …plus no one on the Tigers acted like the expected Youk to get hit, otherwise, Youk doesn’t make it Porcello in the first place.

  8. Kevin S. said...

    If Youkilis was entitled to charge the mound, he wouldn’t have gotten tossed.  This playground mentality is mystifying to me.  Furthermore, no pitch in the back has ever killed somebody, and does, in fact, have less potential to injure than a helmet flung without much aim.  As far as having been a part of the game forever, you know what else has been?  Cheating, yet we seem to be far less willing to condone it.

    But hey, the solution to all things in life is violence, right?  Great attitude.

  9. Dan said...

    This is insane.  Thrown helmets have greater potential for pain than baseballs in the back?  That is a ridiculous statement if I have ever heard one.  Do I really need to go into Force Equals Mass X Acceleration?  And why “A” will always be far smaller for a helmet than for a baseball?

    Slightly less ridiculous is the idea that Youkilis ought to have gotten a ten game suspension.

    Reality Check:  Richie Sexson had a pitch thrown up near his head, charged the mound, threw his helmet (hitting Gabbard squarely in the back, he wasn’t injured in the least), and served a five game suspension.

  10. YX said...

    Kevin S. said…

    I said injury, not pain.  And you don’t need to go into F=ma, but you might want consider the possibility that a helmet chucked at a player could hit him in the face, while a ball in the back produces, at worst, a bruise.  That’s without even considering all the other fallout Randy spoke of.


    Are you saying Youk has a bigger possibility of hitting Porcello’s face with a helmet that didn’t end up touch him than Porcello hit Youk’s head with a 90mph fastball that ended up 5 inch away from his head??! Are you kidding me?

    Even if the helmet hit Porcello’s face, it would have close to 0% possibility of causing serious injury. The chance of serious injury of baseball hit Youk’s face? About 100%.

  11. Kevin S. said...

    I said injury, not pain.  And you don’t need to go into F=ma, but you might want consider the possibility that a helmet chucked at a player could hit him in the face, while a ball in the back produces, at worst, a bruise.  That’s without even considering all the other fallout Randy spoke of.

    Reality check yourself: Two light suspensions doesn’t make either right.  I said he *should* have gotten ten games.  While precedent is considered, it can be changed.

  12. Luis said...

    I do not think Porcello meant to hit Youk- the catcher was set up inside and Porcello’s reaction upon the pitch hitting Youk was one of aggravation.  Nor do I really blame Youk. The umpires should have issued a warning after he went inside on Martinez as dlreed52 said earlier. It makes no sense to hit Youk at that point in the game.

  13. dlreed52 said...

    The aspect of the whole incident that bothers me the most is the fact that the umpiring crew lost control of the situation.

    Three batters had been plunked in the Monday night game—Cabrera, Youkilis, and Inge. Then Cabrera was hit by Tazawa.  At that point, Brian O’Nora should have issued warnings to both teams. My sense is that the pitch got away from Tazawa, but given the number of hit batsmen the night before, a warning certainly seems to have been in order.

    Then Porcello, a pitcher who’d only hit one batter all season (coincidentally, it was Youkilis) begins throwing at Martinez.  Still no response from the umpires—not even after V-Mart took a couple of steps toward the mound and shouted at Porcello after striking out.

    Then Youkilis gets hit.  I suspect this wouldn’t have happened and that all of today’s discussion would have been moot if the umpires hadn’t been so reluctant to act.

    Now we have two players on contending teams facing five-day suspensions and who does that help? Certainly not the ballpark patron who bought tickets for those games.

  14. Jack Marshall said...

    John—-I object to that. Biases are always a factor, but many of us make a conscious effort to put those aside. I don’t think you have to be a Boston fan to conclude that a batting helmet thrown (and missed) in the wake of a beaning isn’t provocation for an extra-long suspension. I wouldn’t have objected to Youkilis getting an extra game off for the helmet—-but I’d like to see a stated MLB policy that throwing helmets or even gloves will increase penalties first. Using accusations of bias to discredit a reasonable argument is a cheap and lazy tactic: it relieves you of having to actually deal with the argument itself.

    “I’m just sayin’!”

  15. Ben2009 said...

    Kevin S. said, “As far as having been a part of the game forever, you know what else has been?  Cheating, yet we seem to be far less willing to condone it.”

    Oh, we condone all kinds of cheating.  It just has to be the “right” kind.  Too much pine tar?  Against the rules, but OK.  A little stick ‘um on the pitcher’s hat/hands to grip the ball better in cold weather.  Against the rules, sure, but “part of the game.”  (Remember Tony LaRussa’s lack-of-reaction to the Tigers’ pitcher getting caught during the World Series a couple of years ago?). 

    Charging the mound isn’t even as bad as those examples, becuase those examples give one player or team an unfair advantage.  Charging the mound is just a fight.  But guys who charge the mound get suspended (it’s against the rules, OK, so there should be punishment) but other kinds of cheating are considered OK.

    Oh, and john, I am not a Red Sox fan.

  16. JE said...

    Youk is a moron. How do I know this? Because Rick Sutcliffe this morning on the WWL praised his “passion” for charging the mound, never mind that arguably the Sox’ most important bat in the lineup is now serving a five-game suspension in the midst of a division/wild-card race.

    And I am NOT a Yankees fan.

  17. Jack Marshall said...

    No thanks to Youk, but in so far as his absence prompts Tito to catch Martinez instead of Tek and keep Lowell in the line-up while giving Kotchman some at bats, the suspension could even help. Youkilis has had the honestly to admit he used bad judgement…he was a TEMPORARY moron.

  18. Steve A said...

    Randy, as I recall reading once upon a time, a 5 game suspension for a pitcher is equal to a 1 game suspension for a position player and a 3 game suspension for a relief pitcher.  This is based on MLB’s attempt to force a starter to miss a start.  My problem is that the starter still has to give up 5 games of pay.

  19. Jack Marshall said...

    Players have been killed, blinded and otherwise seriously injured by thrown balls…some of which, thrown at someplace other than the head or face, landed there anyway. However, I can find no instance of anyone, anywhere, being injured by a thrown helmet. The practice should be discouraged, yes. Arguing that a thrown helmet by an amateur helmet thrower (admittedly, there are no pro helmet-throwers) is more potentially deadly than a ball thrown by a professional pitcher is really, really silly.

  20. Ben2009 said...

    Kevin S. said, “I’ve taken fastballs in the back.  They sting a bit, you take your base and move on.  What Youkilis did had a greater potential to cause serious injury and was in no way shape or form part of the game.”

    That’s wrong on so many fronts I’m not sure where to start:

    1.  “[T]ake your base and move on” was what Youk did on Tuesday night when the Tigers intentionally threw at him.  When they did it again on Wednesday, he was entitled to react differently.  (I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been suspended – he should have and 5 games seems about right). 

    2.  Throwing a baseball going 90 MPH at a virtually unprotected person has a much greater potential to cause serious injury that flinging a batting helmet at a guy.  To my knowledge, no one (pitcher or hitter) has ever died in a mound-charge.  They have from being hit with baseballs.  Most mound-charges, even ones complete with helmet-flings, result in nothing.  Being beaned can cause head injuries and broken bones.

    3.  If something has been going on practically since the game was invented, then it’s part of the game.  Mound-charging brawls are as much a part of baseball as fights in hockey.

  21. Randy said...

    Not to speak for Kevin, but I think Kevin’s point was that being hit someplace other than the head to send a message (from one person to another person) is more orchestrated than a bench-clearing brawl that has players on the ground, sucker-punches that cause injury to both parties, hands getting spiked, shoulders wrenched, etc.

    Having been in a brawl like this I can attest that it is absolute chaos. Everyone is fair game.

    While bench clearing brawls are not in the “unwritten rules” (slide hard at second, take your base on an HBP, protect your teammates, etc.) I agree they are a part of it. But certainly not as common as hockey. I’ve heard plenty of players “plan” on fighting, but I’ve never heard a baseball team plan on a brawl.

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