Monday, July 27, 2009

More on the Bench Clearing Brawl

By Nicole
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The bench clearing “brawl” that happened late in this week's game when Brewers pitcher Chris Smith beaned Pirates reliever Jeff Karstens just doesn't make any sense to me.

Karstens wasn’t happy about this and took a step or two in the direction of the mound, at which time Jason Kendall pushed/escorted him towards first base. The Pirates objected to that treatment of Karstens and both benches ended up on the field, along with guys streaming in from the bullpens.

It was no brawl and the whole thing felt a little half-hearted. Everyone streamed on the field and mostly stood around. Kendall was beyond pissed and did his fair share of yelling at Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan

What I don’t think any viewers remembered until Rock mentioned it is that Karstens was the pitcher that pegged Ryan Braun in the middle of the back, closer to his head than he was happy about, leading to Braun having to sit out for a few days.

Smith said the beaning was an accident after the game, but I’m not sure anyone believes that.

The thing is – since it wasn’t actually a brawl, I was pretty apathetic about the whole thing, which probably isn’t the best reaction to have.

It made me wonder – I think I’ve become complacent about the whole beaning thing. It’s standard practice in baseball and guy’s like Ryan Braun are always going to engender that kind of reaction. Once Rock reminded me about the Braun beaning the last time the Pirates were at Miller Park, I totally lost interest in last night’s situation.

I won’t pretend I understand these unwritten baseball rules – they’re so entrenched in male ego and baseball code, I know I’ll never be able to wrap my head around it. I don’t even try. I don’t condone it – I just know that it’s a part of the game and these sorts of head games go on in every game for every team.

I said back when Karstens hit Braun, presumably for the celebration of his walk-off Grand Slam, that I thought it was pretty week.

I understand the laws of showboating, but I feel like there have to be some exceptions to the rule, and a walk-off Grand Slam in the final week of a season while still in the pennant chase seems like it should be one of those exceptions – especially when it was Braun’s first Granny and he’s still a kid. And it’s not like he did cartwheels around the field.

But ok, the Pirates carried a grudge I don’t understand the whole offseason and then pegged our between the shoulder blades and caused him to miss some time. Yeah, you’re going to get pegged back. Why are the Pirates surprised?

In the circular way baseball has, this has come around quite nicely. Braun hit the granny, got beaned for it, was quite vocal about it to the media, warning that we played the Pirates quite a few more times this season, complained about the pitching, went into a slump, Smith beans Karstens and in Braun’s next at-bat – he hit a home run, hopefully breaking the slump.

Baseball is nuts.

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