Across this line, YOU DO NOT…

Can we talk about throwing punches for a moment?

There are certain things that you just don’t do. For example, you don’t bet on baseball games when you’re involved in the outcome. Also, you don’t punch people. You just don’t. It’s not OK.

I don’t care how bad things are going for the Cubs. I don’t care how much A.J. Pierzynski may be loathed by ballplayers around both leagues. I don’t care if Pierzynski showed up the Cubs by pounding on home plate, or if he danced on the star at midfield of Texas Stadium. It’s not OK to coldcock him.

Ergo, this is simply unbelievable to me. Ten games? For absolutely clocking another player who didn’t hit you first? And moreover, Barrett is saying he wishes it had been LESS and he is appealing?

I’m almost wihtout comment. I’m overwhelmed. First, I’m disgusted that Barrett only got 10 games. I would have started at 25. If you’d told me 50, I would have been perfectly OK with that. You want to talk about setting examples for kids when it comes to drug suspensions? How about violence?

You get 10 games for a corked bat or doctoring a baseball. This is worse. If the names had been reversed, and it were Pierzynski punching Barrett, my feelings would be the same. It’s simply not OK, and Barrett is almost unfathomably fortunate that he’s going to be out for such a short period of time.



I watched a baseball game and a hockey fight broke out on the field. I was equally astonished at the “penalty.” Barrett should have been suspended for one month. At least a minimum of 20 games–roughly three weeks of action. Ten games? Big whoop. Just another example of what a sap MLB has for a commish. I’m sure he didn’t want to get the Cubs owners TOO mad at him. What a joke.

The 10 game suspension doesnt reflect that punching is “OK” as much as it reflects that more than one line was crossed here.

The mitigating factor isn’t AJ’s reputation – it’s his sequence of deliberate actions. The initial hit wasnt sufficient to provoke Barrett and neither was the theatrical hand slap on the plate. If Pierzynski had THEN acted like 99.9% of ballplayers by proceeding directly into his dugout, this particular incident wouldn’t have escalated the way it did.

But no.

Not satisfied with the brutal and legal hit and the Hollywood hand slap, AJ had to make the additional provocative and unsportsmanlike decision to brush by an understandably charged up Barrett,rather than proceed immediately into his own dugout.

Barrett’s actions clearly require sanction and Pierzynski’s actions do not absolve Barrett of blame; but Barrett was unnecessarily provoked.

AJ didnt break explicit laws, but he’s hardly an innocent party “just playing the game hard”. I think Barrett’s truncated sentence reflects that.

I understand all that, and I respect your points, and I think they’re all valid. And clearly Pierzynski is not an innocent bystander.

But I think even in light of all that, this has to be an agree-to-disagree deal. Because in my eyes, there simply is no mitigating a punch. None. You don’t do it. It’s not OK. And if you do it, you should be absolutely hammered with a heavy suspension.

If he’d shoved back, or yelled at Pierzynski, or whatever, I’d feel differently. But he slugged him, and in my book at least, you’ve got to pay the price for that act.

Thanks for the comment.


I agree that Barrett should have gotten more time off, but I disagree that AJ was at fault. True, Barrett did not have the ball when he got hit, but he grabed AJ and then punched him. The fact that AJ brushed by Barrett, for me, should have no effect on the matter. Barrett is a man and should be able to handle his own emotions. The other part I don’t quite understand is the fine that AJ received. For what? His face getting in the way of Barrett’s fist? There’s no excuse for what Barrett did and he should have been punished accordingly.

I’m sorry, but I have to say I totally and completely disagree with the diamonbacks guy(Matt) on that. AJ did not brush by Barret. He was going around him to get his helmet, which flew off when they collided at the plate. If Barret can’t be a man and take a hit like that he shouldn’t be a catcher. To steal a line from Major League, “Don’t stand on the tracks when the train is coming through, butthead.”

I am thinking of Kermit Washington’s devastating punching of Rudy Tomjanovich in 1977. Certainly the end result of the Barrett punch was relatively insignificant. The act, istelf, was not.

I think the it is the act that must be considered in determining a just punishment. Barrett threw a punch. He threw it in anger. The result could have been the loss of an eye, a brain injury, or the loss of the ability to continuing playing this wonderful game as a way to make a very good living.

I have always thought there to be a huge inequity in the punishments awarded for attempted murder and murder. Ineptitude is no excuse. Any time a guy throws a ****** punch at another guy’s head the resulting punishment should be close to the same, regardless of outcome. The fact that Barrett turns out to be a powderpuff puncher isn’t the point. It’s what his act COULD have done.

If the Cubs were worth two cents as a team, the suspension of a starting catcher could cost a World Series ring. (Yeah, yeah, I know he’s a Cub.) It hurts the team. It takes a serious selfishness to vent one’s anger at another when it is also detrimental to one’s team. I get the idea that Barrett would have thrown the punch in the first game of a playoff. Again, without any thought as to how it would affect the team.

I guess it’s too much to ask that, just once, an entire team would say, “We don’t do that here.”

Then again, I wouldn’t mind seeing him try that stunt on Mike Ditka.

Matt, I wouldn’t say I’m suprised by the short suspension. Let’s face it, pro athletes across the board are pampered. Drugs, crime, alcoholism, beating their wives, unawaringly taking creams….haha. Personally I think Barret should’ve gotten a larger suspension just because I hate the cubs. haha. On a whole, we are way too forgiving with players. On a separate note, lemme say that I love this blog and the only reasons why I go to it other than the Cardinal info, are because of all the Big Lebowski references. I love that movie to death.

Matthew L,

I agree that Barrett’s suspension was too light – I was more speculating on how/why Watson may have arrived at 10 under these circumstances.

I’m fine with a harsher minimum suspension for punching, something in the 25-50 game range, to deter obviously unacceptable bevavior.

My main point is that, at least beyond some minimum penalty, circumstances still matter. They matter when one throws a punch outside of a baseball game – and they should be judiciously considered after a ballplayer throws a punch as well.

If AJ had punched Barrett, for example, instead of the other way around, Pierzynski would have received a more severe suspension and all but some Sox partisans would immediately understand why.

Circumstances matter.


I think that if I were Barrett, I might not have been able to restrain myself from punching Pierzynski. I’m not going to lie, I cheered when I saw Barrett’s fist connect with Pierzynski’s jaw.

Moving beyond that, though, I respect the idea that it’s not “okay” to for one player to hit another. I suppose there should probably be a gentleman’s agreement in baseball.

I was reminded of the fiasco in Detroit between the Pacers and Pistons that ended in Ron Artest hitting a fan. I checked to see how many suspensions were given out. A total of 143 games–73 to Ron Artest.

I’m not sure what it says that the NBA was harsher on those involved in that incident than MLB was here. Maybe it says that they put a greater emphasis on respect between players and fans. In the same article, though, I found that Latrell Sprewell was given a 68-game suspension for choking his coach.

Clearly the NBA is sending the signal to its players that violence is not tolerated and that they expect more out of their players.

The point is, I guess, whether you agree with reasons behind Barrett having thrown the punch, it seems undeniable that other sports (true, I’ve only cited basketball) have harsher penalties for violent player behavior.

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