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Brawl Proves Costly for Dodgers

(The Verge) – San Diego Padres Carlos Quentin and the Los Angeles Dodgers Zach Greinke may have an interesting history, as Greinke’s plunked the Padres slugger multiple times now. And after a fierce altercation yesterday, Greinke now has a fractured left collarbone that will most likely keep him out at least a month (if he does not need surgery). This comes as a major blow to the Dodgers organization, which signed Greinke to a $147 million dollar contract this offseason to compliment the all-star Clayton Kershaw, who has not yet surrendered an earned run this season. Greinke injured his collarbone yesterday after Quentin charged the mound after being hit by a 3-2 pitch in the 6th inning while his team was actually trailing by one run. When Quentin, 6’ 2”, 235, lowered his body into the 6’ 2”, 192 Greinke’s left shoulder, the bull-doggish Quentin won. Then the benches cleared and a brawl was eminent. It went on for several gruesome minutes. Quentin was eventually ejected from the game along with the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp and Jerry Hairston Jr. (who angrily tried to defend his fallen teammate even after the brawl seemed over).
The question surrounding the incident is why Quentin would charge the mound in a situation where Greinke was trying to preserve a one-run lead late in the game. According to MLB Network, Greinke has hit Quentin three times in his career, which is more than any other player. Additionally, a few years ago when Greinke was with the Royals, he threw two straight pitches that nearly hit Quentin in the head. Greinke claimed in the post-game interview that Quentin refuses to believe that the pitches were not intentional, but the Padre slugger insists they are. Greinke may have some merit with this claim because Quentin leads all active major leaguers in hit-by-pitches; a reason many believe is because he stands so close to the plate and hangs his arms in the upper right corner of the strike zone.

Greinke (21) tries to defend himself after Quentin charged the mound in the sixth inning of last night’s ballgame (Photo courtesy of Business Insider).

After the dust clears, there will certainly be suspensions handed out by Commissioner Bud Selig. The question is, how long will Quentin be suspended? Not only did he charge the mound arbitrarily, but he also injured an extremely expensive pitcher who seemed to have no mal-intent. Dodgers’ manager, Don Mattingly, believes that “Quentin should not be allowed to play until Greinke can throw again.” Although that situation seems unlikely, it would seem to be fair to Dodgers fans who are in a much better position to actually compete in the competitive NL West Division than the Padres, who have consistently finished near the bottom of the division in the last few years. Regarding Kemp and Hairston Jr., it seems as if their suspensions will be rather light considering no punches were thrown. Hairston Jr. and Kemp were seen exchanging heated words with Quentin and other Padres during the brawl and even after the game in the tunnel that connects the two clubhouses. Kemp even went as far to say after the game that, “I heard [Quentin] went to Stanford. I heard there’s some smart people there; that wasn’t too smart.”
Surprisingly, there have been talks on recent sports news broadcasts (specifically SportsCenter), whether Major League Baseball should start disciplining players who leave the dugout during heated moments. In the NCAA, players are automatically ejected if they leave the bench; however, baseball players are allowed to leave the dugout and involve themselves in brawls with no initial penalties. It seems so far that the opinion of sports analysts (such as Mark Mulder, former Athletics pitcher), that baseball will not make any rule change on the subject as of now. Most fans tend to feel as if players should be able to go out and fight/protect their teammates during issues like this because pitchers are able to throw 90+ mph pitches potentially at their teammate’s head which could have deadly consequences. Players such as Kemp and Hairston Jr. obviously agree with that stance as well judging by their words and actions last night. The decision from MLB will most likely be given this weekend regarding suspensions and any rule changes that may be implemented.
For now, sorry fantasy owners who own Zach Greinke…You may have to go a few months without one of your top pitchers. Greinke started the year 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 10 strikeouts. Quentin was just hitting .222 with no home runs after a surprising campaign last year.
And that’s the MLB in a nutshell…
(Video of brawl) http://www.nj.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/04/video_zack_greinke_breaks_coll.html