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Serafini: When did playing dirty become part of the game?

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

When did winning become more important in any sport than the people playing the game?

I know shenanigans like what happened to Andrew McCutchen last weekend happen more frequently than they should, but when did this become OK?

If you weren't watching, didn't hear about it or didn't see the highlight's from Saturday's game against the Diamonbacks, McCutchen was intentionally hit in the back by a 95 mph fastball in the ninth inning. It was in retaliation for Diamondbacks' all-star Paul Goldschmidt fracturing his hand when he was unintentionally hit by a pitch thrown by Ernesto Frieri in the ninth inning of their game the night before.

The pitcher, Randall Delgado, was thrown out of the game, but is that enough?

I'm not picking on baseball; this goes on in pretty much every sport. A few years ago in the NFL, several defensive players for the New Orleans Saints allegedly earned bonuses for injuring opposing players. In June, Uruguay's Luis Suarez apparently bit the shoulder of Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup soccer match. And, as a hockey fan, I have watched many goons over the years end the seasons of, or, in some cases the careers of, other players because of dumb choices they've made on the ice.

This isn't limited to the major leagues, either. Last November, a Missouri high school football player was charged with assault after allegedly pulling the helmet off an opposing playing and hitting him in the head with it during a game, giving him a concussion.

I know that most athletes are very passionate about their sports, and I know that it's easy to get caught up in the emotion of the game, but it's never worth hurting someone over.

This is an especially good time for our local high school athletes to remember that as they gear up for fall sports.

Kristina Serafini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1405 or kserafini@tribweb.com.

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