I’m not sure how many of you are hockey fans, but for many years, the NHL has had an ongoing divide on the subject of fighting. Some consider it absurdly dangerous and point out that it would never be allowed in any other sport — seriously, imagine, say, Miguel Cabrera facing off against Joe Mauer, and the umps standing aside to simply watch? — while others consider it a vital part of the game that allows two men to, I don’t know, prove they are men. (Obligatory “what makes a man, sir?” reference here.)
But you know why the NHL hasn’t legislated it out? Because that league is starving for relevance, and fans love it. They absolutely love it, and hockey is in no position to remove anything that stokes fan interest.
That being the case, it’s perhaps not surprising that much of the Dodger fan reaction out of last night’s brawl was overwhelmingly positive, ranging from “the team is finally showing some heart” to “good on Zack Greinke for standing up for Yasiel Puig” to even as far as “this fueled the team to victory,” as though Tim Federowicz wouldn’t have delivered his big hit were he not fueled by some sort of rage.
This is, of course, ridiculous, and even moreso considering that it was Greinke on the mound. Have we forgotten so quickly just how his season was ruined in the first place? We have Puig & Clayton Kershaw, basically the two most important men on this team right now, both potentially throwing punches. (Eric & Chad have your full wrap-up and GIF-fest already taken care of.) They’re risking suspension; worse, they’re risking injury.
That’s not to say that none of this should have happened, because it didn’t end after Puig was hit and Greinke followed up by getting Miguel Montero. That should have been that; Ian Kennedy, who is probably now at a Gerardo Parra and Carlos Quentin level of hate among Dodger fans, had to go after Greinke’s head. That’s unforgivable, will likely earn him a long suspension, and makes the Dodger reaction more than understandable.
But to see Greinke back out there in the middle of another fight, to see Kershaw & Puig risking their health on this, to see Ronald Belisario & J.P. Howell losing it… even if no one gets hurt, this is a roster that is already down to the bare bones, and is likely to lose some incredibly vital pieces shortly.
Sure, it may have been fun to see some “heart” & “life”. No, no one wants their team to simply roll over and die, and like I said, Kennedy’s actions demanded a response. But for the small amount of respect that may have been earned, what’s left of an entire season — careers, maybe — got risked. The math simply doesn’t add up there, does it?