One thing I wish MLB would do is outlaw the 'fun police'. I guess this doesn't even fall under fun police. The Twins decided that the reigning AL MVP wasn't playing the game right, so they had to correct him.
Can you imagine that in any other business. Let's say Bell thinks that a Rogers VP of marketing isn't working hard enough so they go by a Rogers building and throw bricks through the window. Sobeys decides that Save-On bag boys fill grocery bags wrong so they go to Save-On and throw apples at the bag boys.
Just to go over the story, though you all know it: Donaldson ground out to second Saturday, by the time his was out of the box the second baseman had the ball and was throwing to second. So he didn't exactly go hard to first, pretty normal stuff. He could have gone harder, but that would have been just for show, not to help his team win. And the Twins bench got on his case.
Let's just stop there for a second. The Twins, who are 11-32 this season complained that Josh Donaldson wasn't playing the game right. The Twins, who play the game so well, that there were more Blue Jays fans than Twins fans at their home game. Josh Donaldson, who people would spend a day or two driving from Canada to watch play, while people in Minneapolis wouldn't get a on a crosstown bus to see the Twins. But Josh is playing the game wrong.
Anyway, Josh gets kicked out of the game for talking back to the Twins bench.
Next day, Josh gets his revenge, in my mind the right way, by hitting a home run and making several great plays on defense.
The Twins try to get their revenge by throwing at Josh. Twice. The umpires, MLB's representatives of the rules on the field, decided that this was the right way to do things. It the umps are claiming they didn't know the pitches were on purpose, they should be fired for stupidity.
Gibby comes out to a) keep his star from being thrown out of his second game in a row and b) to state the obvious, the Twins are throwing at my player. I thought Gibby kept a pretty cool head, but he gets ejected anyway. and beyond being ejected, as Gibby is walking away from the argument, Joe West feels the need to continue it. For me, this is totally the wrong thing for an umpire to do. His job is to deescalate problems on the field, not make them worse.
Throwing at a guy because he's hit a home run against you is baseball's equivalent of Con Smythe's old line: If you can't beat them on the ice, beat them in the alley (which, apparently, isn't quite what he said, but that's the way it is remembered.
Josh, as noted in Bob Elliot's story, said this:
"Major league baseball has to do something about this," he said post-game. "They talk about trying to protect players. They put in a sliding rule at second so you can't slide past the base. They make a rule to protect catchers on slides at home.
"It says in the rules you can't throw at hitters. Yet when someone throws a pitch at a batter ... nothing. My manager comes out to ask a question and gets thrown out. It doesn't make any sense to me. It gets to the point where two balls are thrown at me."
Donaldson said the rule book reads if a pitcher "throws at somebody, the ump can" kick him out.
I wish baseball would send a strong message that this sort of thing isn't allowed.
But instead they don't.
Jose Bautista get thrown at, the umpires don't care. Then after the brawl, MLB doesn't care enough to suspend suspend the guy that threw at him.
Donaldson gets thrown at, twice, and the umpires pretend it didn't happen, then they toss Gibby. The manager of the team that caused the problem isn't even talked to (and I'm presuming he either ordered Hughes to throw at Josh, or allowed it to happen).
MLB seems to want this stuff to continue.
They say nothing about it. They don't punish it when it happens. They don't instruct the umpires to watch for it. It is like this stuff gets a blind eye. Players get hurt by being hit by pitch quite often (much of the time by accident). Does MLB care so little about it's product that it is willing to have it's stars injured rather than state that this sort of playground justice is wrong. They got rid of hard slides into second and got rid of running over the catcher, why ignore this.
I keep thinking baseball has to grow up, at some point, but it seems not to want to. It fights to hold on to these stupid methods of revenge. Maybe Josh should take the George Bell (I typed George Bell the first time, and really it's the same thing) method of dealing with being thrown at and go out after the pitcher. Course that kind of revenge MLB would punish.