Retaliation has been part of the game of baseball for decades. The “you plunk my guy, I plunk yours” mantra typically leads to a few nasty words exchanged, maybe a punch or two thrown, an ejection if the situation warrants one, and a continuation of the game. Simple stuff. Other times it gets out of hand or, in this case, just plain dumb.
Marc Carig of Newsday Sports reported Tuesday that “multiple industry sources” have hinted that the Kansas City Royals plan to retaliate on Opening Night for a pitch that happened in the World Series five months ago.
This pitch, to be exact:
The Royals have already scheduled their World Series championship celebration to cover not one, but both games against the New York Mets to start the 2016 season. That, in and of itself, is a bit much. I sat through a celebration of the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles just a couple years ago when my O’s visited Pittsburgh for a two-game set. Although I was not alive for the 1979 Series, watching the celebration was brutal. One day is more than enough to rub it in.
Now, the Royals decide they’re going to retaliate for a pitch that happened in last year’s World Series. I’m going to give a few reasons why I think they’re taking this a bit too far.
Brush-back pitches happen all the time.
It’s a way of getting the hitter on their heels and disrupting their groove at the plate. Alcides Escobar had built a reputation of swinging at the first pitch and, as seen in the video above, was 6-for-9 in the postseason when swinging at the first pitch of the game. Mets flamethrower Noah Syndergaard was aware of Escobar’s tendencies and took advantage of the opportunity to establish his territory. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The pitch didn’t hit Escobar, nor did it come close.
It was a smart pitch and was not close to hitting Escobar. It was well above his head and only as far inside as the chalk that outlines the batters box. Escobar could have stood still and the ball would have been nearly a foot from his head. Was it a bit dangerous? Sure, but if Syndergaard really wanted to knock Escobar’s helmet off, he would have done it. What he did instead was no more than an expression of his control of the game.
They won the World Series.
Is retaliation really necessary when you already went out and took four out of five games on the biggest stage in baseball? What more needs to be done? The trophy is yours. Take it with class.
It just looks bad.
This kind of ties in with my last point. The Royals went on to win the World Series and will celebrate that championship again next week in front of the defeated Mets. There is absolutely no reason to push it any further. They have the trophy and are reigning kings of the baseball universe. The worst thing they can possibly do is to continue building their reputation as a classless organization.