Tim Benz: Pirates-Reds brawl suspensions a complete joke | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz: Pirates-Reds brawl suspensions a complete joke

Tim Benz
Pirates relief pitcher Kyle Crick, left, throws a punch onto Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Amir Garrett during a brawl in the ninth inning Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in Cincinnati.

This column is going to be very difficult to follow.

Judging by the comments section that normally accompanies my posts, some of you may feel that’s a common occurrence on my page.

This time, though, it won’t be my fault.

This time.

No, today it’ll be Major League Baseball’s fault.

Because I am going to try to interpret how MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre essentially tried to write down — and then prioritize — baseball’s unwritten rules through his discipline of those involved in Tuesday’s Pirates-Reds brawl.

So this one is on Torre.

Let’s see if we can connect the dots on his logic.

First of all, here is the list of Pirates suspensions:

• Keone Kela: 10 games

• José Osuna: five games

• Kyle Crick: three games

• Clint Hurdle: two games

And here are the Reds:

• Amir Garrett: eight games

• Jared Hughes: three games

• Yasiel Puig: three games

• David Bell: six games

Now check out Torre’s statement with a full explanation of why each guy got the suspension that he did.

“The incidents between these two clubs remain a source of concern, and it’s reflected by the level of discipline we are handing down today,” Torre said. “Everyone on the field should be aware of the example they are setting for fans, particularly young people. I firmly expect these two managers and all others to hold their players accountable for appropriate conduct and to guide them in the right direction.”

That makes it sound like the fight itself — the actual culmination of the incident becoming a brawl — is the biggest problem that Torre has with the situation.

As he should.

However, why, then, did Kela get a longer suspension than Garrett? Because he was guilty of throwing at Derek Dietrich earlier in the game?

Who is Torre? A third-grader in mom’s station wagon? “Keone started it, Mom!”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t Kela who started the brawl. Garrett did.

Hey, if MLB wants to suspend for Kela for 10 games, I’m fine with that. Heck, make it longer. If you buzz a guy up-and-in and admit to it after the game, as Kela did, then you deserve a lengthy vacation.

If Kela’s suspension was longer than 10 games, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash.

Let me ask you something, though. If Garrett doesn’t charge the Pirates dugout, and there is no fight, is Kela suspended 10 games?

No way. Even if he still admits it.

What Garrett did is still far worse in this situation. He went on the mound begging for a fight from the moment he threw his first warm-up pitch. And when no one gave him one, he created it on his own.

If the actual fight is the biggest deal, as Torre suggested it was in his statement, Garrett’s suspension should’ve been longer than anyone else’s.

But, in Torre’s cobwebbed, old-school mind, Kela created a worse sin since he broke baseball’s “unwritten rules.”

Kela went up-and-in, instead of brushing back low-and-tight.

You know, like Hughes did on Starling Marte. I guess Hughes only got three games because “he did it the right way.”

According to baseball’s unwritten bible.

And because he was smart enough to lie about it when he said “the ball just slipped.”

So Hughes got seven fewer games on the shelf in part because Kela was honest and Hughes wasn’t.


To reiterate, I’m not defending Kela. I’m indicting Torre.

Of course, Hughes’ pitch hit Marte. Kela’s missed Dietrich. But apparently what actually happened only matters 30% as much as violating the unwritten theory.

Then there is Hurdle. If Kela committed the capital offense of the bunch, how come Hurdle only got a two-game suspension for “his club’s conduct during the incident and his club’s multiple intentional pitches thrown at Dietrich this season?”

If it’s been going on all year, why is he only getting suspended now, and why is it so short?

Basically, what Torre is saying here is that he needed a Cincinnati player to start a riot to suspend the Pirates manager for something one of his pitchers (Chris Archer) did months ago.

I told you this was gonna be tough to follow.

Meanwhile, Bell got six games for running back on the field after previously being ejected. That’s not comparable to Osuna, who got five games for trying to clean Garrett off the pile after Garrett touched off the fracas in the first place.

Nor were Osuna’s actions comparable to Puig, who tried to reignite the things 10 times over, yet he only got a three-game punishment.

How come? Since he got traded and Torre doesn’t want to punish Cleveland?

Yeah. That’s it. Torre will never say so. But, that’s it.

All the while, Garrett was baseball’s version of Ron Artest for a night, and he didn’t even get the heaviest slap on the wrist.

Torre messed up this one so bad, he should be working for the NHL.

Can you follow that analogy, at least?

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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