Detroit Tigers Need To Stop Retaliating When Mistake Pitches End Up Inside


July 11, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Luke Putkonen (36) is ejected from the game after throwing a pitch high and inside on Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez (not pictured) in the sixth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The benches cleared in yesterday’s Detroit Tigers-Chicago White Sox game – leading to a lot of players just standing around looking at each other – as a result of a silly string of events. You can see the video below:

An errant pitch by Chris Sale buzzed the tower of Prince Fielder following a Miguel Cabrera home run. The pitch could be viewed as threatening except Sale’s body language clearly shows that he was disgusted at himself for missing his spot so badly. It’s one thing to stare down the pitcher or maybe toss a few strongly worded phrases back in his direction, but, just like back in Tampa when Fernando Rodney’s clearly accidental buzzing of Miguel Cabrera drew retaliation from Rick Porcello, there was really no need to escalate the situation.

The Tigers clearly weren’t pleased that a pitch ended up above the shoulders and tight to one of their star players, but they simply needed to let this one go and move on with the game. Instead, Luke Putkonen took it upon himself to throw at Alexei Ramirez when he entered the game following Josh Phegley’s grand slam. It was a bush league play by LuPu. No, perhaps the umpires didn’t handle the situation correctly – though I don’t think you need to issue warnings everytime a mistake pitch ends up high and tight – but that doesn’t excuse the sophomoric behavior of the Tigers.

Intentionally throwing a baseball at a player should never be acceptable – let MLB and the umpires police the game, that’s their job – and the Tigers are made to look even worse after twice raising the stakes these last few weeks following two clearly (at least in my view) accidental pitches. When you retaliate by intentionally throwing at someone, you’re only hurting yourself. Sure, the other guy may end up with a bruised ribcage (which, wouldn’t hurting someone on purpose be borderline assault?), but all you’re really doing is opening yourself up to handing out a free base, ejection, and suspension.

But yeah, you showed them. They’re never going to try to go down and away and accidentally miss their spot inside ever again.