I’m all for the Bryce Harper/Hunter Strickland Brawl
The culture around baseball is tough to understand outside of game. Don’t show off, don’t be a clown, respect those who came before you. There is so much more than that, but generally those are the rules of thumb.
Monday was the first time Nationals star Bryce Harper took an at-bat against Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland in the regular season. The last time the two faced off was in the 2014 Playoffs. Harper got Stickland on yet another homer in a late game situation.
Everyone remembers who showed off, who did a huge bat flip, who plunked who, who talked trash while going around the bases. Baseball players remember. Tensions carry over, not just game to game, but years later you can see links between players with history. A 2014 NLDS moment could be linked to a 2017 regular season at-bat.
Those who watched the video can easily see intent with Strickland’s pitch. If someone disagrees, then they must have never seen a batter get hit. When a baseball leaves a pitchers hand, you can tell whether the pitch was intentional or not most of the time. A ball slips on a curve: the easiest unintentional hit-by-pitch. A pitcher’s body language can tell you how intentional a pitch was. Were they angry with themselves? Did they give a signal to the catcher or dugout like ‘my bad’? Did they just turn around to try and get back into their groove?
Strickland stared down Harper and hit him in a perfect spot as if he had planned on the spot. That’s not great man.
Long story short in the aftermath of impending suspensions is that a ball is a weapon and any batter has the right to retaliate — or they should. Who has more control over the situation? Who initiates the contact?
I am frankly shocked that there isn’t a baseball brawl every week for someone getting plunked. I get it, shit happens but lets knock some heads in if there is intent. Baseballs are dangerous weapons.
Batters deserve the right to charge the mound because there is no real defense for a 99 mph heater to the hip or thigh. I am almost too happy that it was Bryce Harper, a face of the league, who charged the mound because of a three-year old beef a pitcher had with him. Here is the deal though, both players are going to get 6–10 game suspensions. Strickland is lucky if he gets into 3 games a week. He has appeared in 21 of 53 games for the Giants this season with only 17.2 innings pitched. His suspension may only keep him out of one or two appearances he would make. Harper’s absence on the other hand, is going to hurt the Nationals. Bryce would be in right field everyday during the suspension. This hurts the team with the guy who cannot defend himself.
For those who say Bryce is stupid for charging the mound, I ask you, would you want a 99 mph heater to the thigh because you hit a couple of bombs off a pitcher in the playoffs three years ago?
Yup, same here, a big N-O.
This post was originally posted on Medium.com/Section240 by John Amoroso on May 30th, 2017