A Brawl With No Winners Whatsoever

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?

212 comments
AV Cosmo
AV Cosmo

Am I missing something? First time here, but I came to see what poor illness Mike Scioscia had? Thought it strange in a column regarding the Dodgers. PLMK TY

Lobo
Lobo

Ok guys, just because the new post is about the games in Australia next spring it doesn't mean you can't talk about something else over there.

Dang88
Dang88

It tis cooler here

Iron Brian
Iron Brian

I have to disagree with Mike here. Teammates cannot allow their opponents to treat them like target practice. The moment Ian Kennedy went after Zach Greinke, he was going over the line and should have been suspended.

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

I understand why you don't want to see Kershaw and Puig out there risking injuries.  That said, once Kennedy threw at Greinke's head, exactly what were the Dodgers supposed to do?  Draw straws to see who runs out there?  Hold the expensive players back and send out Cruz alone?  (THAT would be funny..... FREEEEDOOMMMM!!! Maybe at least Cruz would get a hit that way.)  Not run out at all, and let Kennedy throw at Greinke's head without response, like he thew at Puig's head, like he threw at Kershaw's head twice last season?  The truth is, I don't think the Dodgers had any choice -- at least, not any good choice.  Not saying that JUST because I'm a fan.  I'm quite sure they didn't want to be risking injuries either, but to NOT respond would have been worse.  And you know what, I'm not sure Tim does hit that double if he's not amped up.  It's hard to say what effect that kind of thing has on players.  And come on man, you HAD to love Mattingly and Big Mac out there dishing out the fear.  The D'backs looks just surrounded in a hostile land, Mac looked like he might turn green and rip off his shirt any minute... I would have been freaking a bit if I were them, and THAT is kind of amusing.

Scroogie
Scroogie

It actually makes me laugh when million-dollar mercenaries with no loyalty whatsoever to the team or fan-base start fighting as if they are bonded together as a loyal band of brothers or some such BS.   In fact I applaud any player who stays in the dug-out to avoid injury.  That's the rational move.  But then again we've all been trained to divide ourselves in groups, gangs, schools, etc even when it makes no sense whatsoever. 

And as the fight went on and on last night and players were getting pinned and pummeled against the guard rails, I kept wondering when and if stadium security would get involved.  The threat of arrest would keep fights to a minimum for sure.  And of course if any of us were to get in a fight like that in the stands, we would be arrested in a heart-beat.  Why should these million dollar mercenaries be any different?  In fact, if I were the owner of the Dodgers, I'd want security out there in an instant to protect my investments.

It just makes me laugh.

Jobu
Jobu

So much wrong with this post. 

The whole thing that set this off was Kennedy going after Puig and then Greinke in the HEAD.  He could have beaned both in the bum and no one would have made too much of a stink.  You just DONT go for the head period. 

I could care less on the whole cost-benefit reason, that all goes out the window when a pitcher goes after your starting pitcher and you rookie sensation with a fastball to the head.

Lobo
Lobo

Uh, guys?  You know there's a new post right?

RussellAllen
RussellAllen

Grienke hits Montero for Kennedy hitting Puig in the head so Kennedy pays Grienke back by going after his head. There's a disconnect in Kenndy's brain obviously, but Mattingly should be fired after this game 

RussellAllen
RussellAllen

You forget to mention that Grienke never should have been up to bat in the first place. It was like Mattingly was enticing the Diamondbacks to go after him. And then Mattingly takes him out after the Dodgers end of the inning. Idiotic managing. You don't let the pitcher bat after obviously beaning one of their players, not to mention their catcher, and then Grienke doesn't even come out to pitch? Pointless move. Not to say Kennedy is in the right to go after Grienke's head, not to mention Puig's head, but it is just too tempting for Kennedy to hit Grienke after Grienke intentionally hit his catcher, and Mattingly should have known this. In the end, hitting batters for retribution is one thing, like Grienke hitting Montero in the back, but for Kennedy to go after two of our guys' heads? That's an entirely different matter.

WillL
WillL

I saw fear in Matt Williams' eyes.  

TrolleyDodger
TrolleyDodger

When you compete hard in sports things sometimes happen. Besides, most baseball fight injuries are someone getting his toes stepped on anyway.Staying in the dugout while your teammates fight would be the epitome of cowardice. Nobody wants to go to war with someone who doesn't have his back. The fault was Kennedy's for going headhunting TWICE and his suspension will likely show that. Selig is pretty wimpy himself so you never know but tonight's game should be interesting. 

Technogit
Technogit

Agree 100% with you, Mike. There's nothing "studly" about getting into a fist fight. There's nothing "manly" about risking a career just to get a few punches in. As crazy as Mike McGwire was last night, I didn't see him throw any punches. Who would have thought HE would have been an example our players should emulate?

jWerthfan
jWerthfan

Man....all your points make 'sense', Mike, but you just don't get it. Sometimes, in sports, in life, a man does what's right - what has to be done, and consequences fall where they may. Kershaw is a man's man on and off the field. Greinke is a stud - who knew?

The Dodgers have sucked ever since Greinke/Quinton, as you note, but as Strother Martin said in Slap Shot, they've also performed and carried themselves like a "bunch of pussies". I'm certain you think the Dodgers 'played it smart' when San Diego came to L A and left unscathed, but for me, that's the low point of the year, and last night by far the high. I can't cheer for 'men' I have no respect for. Thank you Zack Greinke, for helping the Dodgers' testicles to finally drop.;

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

like capn said earlier in the day when the Giants threw at a batter's wallet:

go high to the batter and anything can happen

SportsBrah
SportsBrah

LOL: Third-base umpire Larry Vanover said Puig and McGwire were ejected for "instigating," while Belisario was deemed to be "out of control."

Technogit
Technogit

I have no idea why this site is called Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness. But once you hear it, it's hard to forget, isn't it?

jWerthfan
jWerthfan

I don't blame you for trying to get people off this thread, Mike. :)

West Coast Ram
West Coast Ram

@AnotherBrian Zach should have gone all Juan Marishal on Miggy to put the final point on frey.  That would have been entertainment.

Bamstick
Bamstick

So I guess we shouldn't have teams then right? Maybe just send out some random players. You sound like people who do little league with no outs or score

West Coast Ram
West Coast Ram

@Quillcrow I find it difficult to believe that you were ever part of a team that didn't provide participation trophies (not intended as a dig but just an observation on your view).  Whether they are "million-dollar" mercenaries or high schoolers the nature of team sports is a "them" against "us" mentality.  Their loyalty is not to the fan base or the "team", it is to each other and that is what is important.  Do I care that they weren't out there standing up for the name on the front of their jersey? NO.  What I what to see is that they are willing to protect their teammate if they think he is being taken advantage of, that they pull for each others success and that their mind set is not just a me first approach.

RussellAllen
RussellAllen

@Lobo Is there a rule that once a new post is up we can't talk about past posts?

Jobu
Jobu

Yeah and it is really lame compared to this one.

Tony88
Tony88

@RussellAllen I agree. What was donnie thinking? Its those things that I will never understand. He has no feel for game situations. Anyone can look at stat book to make a call, but, he has no gut instinct and this proved it.

WillL
WillL

@RussellAllen Donny doesn't seem to think things through.  Like the other day when the Dodgers beat the Braves on the wild pitch: you had Ramon Hernandez on second with Cruz at the plate.  Run for him.  But he didn't, Cruz got a base hit, and Ramon being slow only went to third.  So THEN he runs for him by putting in Schumaker.  Wut?  If you were going to do this anyway, do this when Ramon is already in scoring position at 2nd base.  Lucky Uribe was able to get a wild pitch and Schu scored but it was really bad decision making, IMO.    

TrolleyDodger
TrolleyDodger

@Technogit I'm sure you haven't been in a lot of  fights but McGuire was looking for somebody to deck . Matt Williams was smart enough to just grab his jersey and not provoke him. Most baseball players during fights are looking for someone to dance with but McGuire had bad intentions and the Diamondbacks were wise to not give him a reason to fight.

Nineteen84
Nineteen84

@Technogit Must be young, can't imagine any baseball fan over the age of 20 not knowing the reference. As for the original commenter you are aware Scioscia was a player before becoming a manager, right, and that it was with the Dodgers?

ih8turteam
ih8turteam

@RussellAllen @Lobo So you would rather talk about some lame game that hasn't even happen yet, instead of a game which could possible had an effect to the rest of the season?

Lobo
Lobo

@Jobu Hundreds of deadly creatures in Australia think you're lame

jWerthfan
jWerthfan

You don't get it. Greinke is a bad ass. He knew what was coming, and took his at bat. Then, he takes out GregariousGuy with a slide that should have embarrassed the position players. I'd bet you all I had that Mattingly let Greinke talk him into taking that at bat.

Technogit
Technogit

It wouldn't be the first time. ;-)

Technogit
Technogit

@Nineteen84  Actually, no, I'm not young.  I went to the first Dodger game ever played in Los Angeles in 1958 at the Coliseum.  I am also very well aware of who Mike Scioscia is.  The reference I don't "get" is the tragic illness part.  But perhaps you (born in 1984?) can educate me. ;-)

ih8turteam
ih8turteam

@Lobo @Jobu Yes, lets talk about a game that hasn't happen yet. Good for Australia, there we talked about it. 

Jobu
Jobu

Here's a toast to all the creatures in Australia -- pass me a glass of rum mate