The long wait is over. The Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks had a knock down drag out fight Tuesday night in Los Angeles, and a mere three days later, Major League Baseball has decided what to do about it.
MLB generally hands out fines and suspensions the day after an on-field incident, but with a melee also occurring between the Giants and Pirates in Pennsylvania Tuesday — and the L.A. vs. Arizona fight no doubt requiring every camera, start-stop and zoom capability available to the deciders — more consideration was required.
The San Francisco and Pittsburgh suspensions were announced Wednesday, with pitchers George Kontos being banished three games for plunking Andrew McCutchen with a pitch after a warning had been given, and Giants skipper Bruce Bochy receiving a one-game penalty.
Dodgers suspended for their participation in Tuesday's brawl include manager Don Mattingly, one game; relief pitcher Ronald Belisario, one game; reliever J.P. Howell and utility man Skip Schumaker, two games each; and batting coach Mark McGwire — clearly the most angry of the L.A. participants — two games. That's Mac in the picture above, tangling with former Dodger hero and current Arizona manager Kirk Gibson (DIY 1988 World Series ironic statement here).
Dbacks' pitcher Ian Kennedy took the brunt of the league's wrath for throwing at Zack Greinke's head, with a 10-game suspension. Arizona utility player Eric Hinske got a five-game ban, with Gibson getting the same one-game penalty as Mattingly. Fines of undisclosed amounts were issued to Dodgers Yasiel Puig and Greinke and Dbacks Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero, in addition to those already mentioned.
There's an appeal process in baseball that players use to their advantage — I think unfairly — which essentially allows guys to postpone taking their penalties until it's convenient for them; like say, when they're nursing a minor injury and might not be able to play anyway. For a reliever like Belisario, for example, he might go ahead and drop his appeal after he's pitched two or three nights in a row, and would be in line for a rest the next day or two, and serve his suspension then.
The twist here is, appeals are heard in New York, and the Dodgers are headed to the Bronx for interleague games with the Yankees Tuesday and Wednesday. It'll be interesting to see if MLB can handle multiple suspensions in the time allotted.
Why this far into the 21st Century players and league officials need to be in the same area code to have an important discussion is beyond me.
More importantly, however, Los Angeles and Arizona have been fueding for three years running, and the harshness of the league penalties — or lack thereof, depending on your perspective — may do little to curtail hostilities between the clubs going forward. The Dodgers will be in Phoenix for three games beginning July 8, and face the Dbacks another eight times during the season.
The Dodgers also have unfinished fight club-like business with the Padres, stemming from the Greinke-Carlos Quentin brouhaha in April, which could lead to even more trouble in terms of both injuries and suspensions. They'll be in San Diego next week for four, Thursday through Sunday.
Who'd have thought, that with the Dodgers rolling around stadiums, eyes bulging, with half of their possible opponents in the National League West, the team they'd be getting along with best is San Francisco? Of course, that could change soon. The Giants open the Dodgers' next homestand June 24.