This week has seen not one but two bench clearing brawls in Major League Baseball, but one was a little more serious than the other. Miami Marlins pitcher José Urena beaned Atlanta Braves’ young superstar Ronald Acuña Jr in the first inning of their game. The benches immediately cleared because the Braves needed to defend their young superstar.
Now usually when a pitcher beans the hitter there’s a reason, maybe he got a little too aggressive with the tag in a previous inning, etc. But this beaning had no rhyme or reason besides whatever grudge Ureña’s had concocted in his mind.
So enter the MLB who had to decide what the appropriate punishment would be for the starting pitcher and they settled on a six game suspension, talk about a swing and miss. The MLB had an opportunity here to set the precedent for beanings and they whiffed so hard. They could’ve finally put their foot down on this practice and maybe just maybe stop the unnecessary injuries to hitters. The MLB had a clear intent on Ureña’s part which gave them an opportunity to really supspend him so that he actually learns a lesson and his team actually suffers for his actions.
But with six games the Marlins aren’t going to suffer at all. All the Marlins really have to do is call up a minor leaguer and push back Ureña’s start a day, no harm no foul. Thankfully Acuña Jr didn’t suffer a serious injury and actually played the following day getting a single in his first at-bat, but he could’ve been with such a senseless intent on Ureña to actually hurt him.
Maybe with enough backlash the MLB will learn and the next time they’ll knock it out of the park.
And side-note: if you want to know about the other benching clearing brawl between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, I suggest watching Andrew McCutchen’s breakdown of the incident, which you can watch here.