Huffman: Hard-hitting action across MLB

Jun. 17, 2013 @ 08:56 AM

If you ever thought that baseball was not a contact sport, then you have not been paying attention over the past week.
We have seen benches cleared, suspensions, fines, and to cap it all off, a former Durham Bulls pitcher suffer a concussion after being struck by a line drive. As you can see, there has been a lot going on in the world of baseball.
Let’s start with all the benches being cleared. Each of the incidents that happened this week started with a player getting hit by a pitch. Whether it was to intimidate a rookie, a taunt, or whatever it might have been, it seemed like a bad excuse.
I think that throwing at a man is just a cowardly move on the pitcher’s part. Whether a guy truly deserves it is one thing, but to do it to intimidate them is another thing. If I were Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, I would have been upset to be hit in the face by a pitch, then to watch your pitcher get hit would have been taking it a step too far.
In the Rays-Red Sox game, to see Matt Joyce hit a home run must have made John Lackey very mad. Then to see him hit a long foul ball and drop his bat would have added to the rage. But to hit him is the wrong thing to do. If you watch the film from the game, then you would see Joyce drop the bat, but you would be able to tell that he was upset at himself. It also does not help that Lackey leaves the pitch right down the middle for Joyce.
This instance I believe was a case of misunderstanding between Lackey and Joyce. Joyce got hit in the sixth inning, which cleared the benches. The game would go on, and the Rays would call Lackey a “bad teammate” for letting the incident happen. I am a Tampa Bay fan, but I don’t like how they handled it. I think the whole thing could have been ignored if Joyce hadn’t dropped the bat. Actions truly do speak louder than words.
Finally there was the incident that occurred with Rays Pitcher Alex Cobb in the fourth inning of a game this past Sunday. He was the latest pitcher to be struck in the head by a line drive. Now this by no stretch of the imagination was done on purpose. If anything, it was a freak accident that could not have been prevented.
This is just one of the several times this has happened over the last couple of years. J.A. Happ was one of the last to get hit, and he has not returned since. It is starting to become a major issue in baseball.
The MLB has added a seven-day period out for those who suffer concussions. But seven days seems a little short to get over it. They came down hard on the members who took part in the Arizona-Los Angeles brawl. But, what about Lackey and Joyce? Should they be punished for their parts in the incident? Are they at fault or is it just another incident?
Ben Huffman is a rising sophomore at Riverside High School. For comments and question, please e-mail him at