Friday, April 24, 2015

Some thoughts on the White Sox-Royals brawl

You can watch the video here if you haven't already seen the fracas between the White Sox and the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

For the record, the Royals won the game, 3-2, in 13 innings, and for me as a Sox fan, that's the most frustrating part of the whole evening. The Sox have lost the last five head-to-head meetings with Kansas City, and 15 out of the last 18, dating back to last year.

The Sox cannot call themselves a contender if they're going to continue to allow Kansas City to walk in and kick their ass game after game and series after series. When is enough going to be enough?

The Royals are a good team; they got to the World Series last year for a reason, but let's not pretend they are some sort of juggernaut like the Yankees were in the late 1990s. Even in the loss last night, White Sox pitchers were able to keep the Royals off the scoreboard for 11 consecutive innings. What does that tell you? Kansas City is not some sort of elite fighting force that cannot be stopped. The Royals are beatable. The problem is more with the White Sox, who have developed an identity as a team that cannot execute in clutch situations and routinely beats itself.

That's what I'm mad about today as a Sox fan, much more than the fight.

But looking at the fight, it strikes me as bizarre that Adam Eaton is getting so much blame from Kansas City and its fans. Supposedly, Eaton "said something" to provoke Yordano Ventura, the Royals pitcher. I don't doubt that Eaton "said something," but whatever he said, the home plate umpire had to have heard it. He was standing right there; yet Eaton was not among the five players ejected from the game.

If Eaton had said something that inflammatory toward Ventura, don't you believe he would have been tossed? I do. The umpires seemingly had no reservations about sending the people who were in the wrong to the showers. Ventura, Edinson Volquez and Lorenzo Cain of the Royals were all rightfully ejected, as were Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale of the White Sox. I firmly believe Eaton would have been ejected if he had deserved an ejection. The umpire, who was standing right there when the whole thing went down, apparently did not see Eaton as the instigator.

I believe Eaton "said something" that was misconstrued by Ventura. That happens. It's part of the game. Both players were apologetic about the incident, and I think fans of both teams should be able to let that part of the brawl go without further discussion.

What went on after that was far more troubling. Cain and Samardzija were instigators. Both were way out of line, both in actions on the field and words after the game. We should expect better from two quality players who should be acting as leaders for their respective teams. I wouldn't be surprised if Samardzija gets the longest suspension of anyone involved in this fracas. As a Sox fan, I'm disappointed in him.

There's no excuse for throwing wild sucker punches on the field, and Volquez merits a lengthy suspension for his actions, as well. There's also no reason for Sale to be anywhere near the Kansas City clubhouse while the game is still going on.

It's time for the managers and the team leaders on both sides to get this nonsense under control, especially Kansas City, which has brawled with three different teams in the first 17 days of the season.

And from a White Sox perspective, it's long past time to man up and start beating the Royals, not with fists and purpose pitches, but rather by playing good baseball.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not going to waste another blog entry on this, but I just want to add on that suspensions have been announced.

    White Sox:
    Jeff Samardzija gets five games.
    Chris Sale gets five games.
    Tyler Flowers get an undisclosed fine.

    Yordano Ventura gets seven games.
    Edinson Volquez gets five games.
    Lorenzo Cain gets two games.
    Kelvin Herrera gets two games.

    The White Sox have already announced they'll appeal the suspensions. I assume the Royals will do the same.