Shame on Ian Kennedy
Wanna fight? Pick a side.
That’s how it works at times like this. Sports fans defend their own, turning cheeks to reason, especially if it involves teams from Phoenix and Los Angeles.
The bench-clearing brawl between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers was ugly, riveting, reminiscent of a different era in Major League Baseball. And in the end, Ian Kennedy should be ashamed.
Twice, the Diamondbacks’ ace appeared to throw at a batter’s head. The latter came against the opposing pitcher, after the score had apparently been settled.
At a time when head injuries are not to be trivialized, it appears that Kennedy purposely endangered a fellow player. He will face a lengthy suspension that will further tax the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff, all but assuring Josh Collmenter’s return to the starting rotation.
It began when Kennedy plunked Yasiel Puig with a pitch that glanced off his nose. Kennedy’s reaction made it clear he did not intend to hit the batter. And Kennedy’s history with this stuff – he led the National League in plunked batters last season – suggests he can get a bit loose when working the inside corners.
But it’s also Yasiel Puig, a kid who has sparked a new kind of Fernando-mania in Los Angeles. Even if Kennedy had zero intent, the outcome demanded retribution. It demanded that the Dodgers stick up for their young star.
What would you expect if an opposing pitcher accidentally plunked Paul Goldschmidt in the face?
When Zack Greinke retaliated by hitting Miguel Montero, he followed proper protocol. He hit him in the square of the back, and at that point, the game within the game should’ve been over.
For Kennedy to follow with a pitch at Greinke’s head is unconscionable.
I know there are mitigating factors and things we don’t know. I understand Greinke isn’t exactly beloved inside the lines. Earlier in the season, Greinke hit Carlos Quentin with a pitch that send the hitter into a blind rage.
Tuesday’s brawl was even more heated, more like a hockey scrum. The skirmishing coaches represented a clash of titans. Mark McGwire’s ridiculous fury invited a string of steroid-related jokes.
It was great theater, but not a great night for baseball. And in the end, it’s going to cost Kennedy and his team.