The Major League Baseball world was all aflutter this past week as the on-field brawl between the Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins ended with five players and three coaches being suspended. Players Doug Slaten and Nyjer Morgan with the Nationals and Chris Volstad, Alex Sanabia, and Gaby Sanchez for the Marlins were the players and Pat Listach, Jim Riggleman and Edwin Rodriguez were the three coaches who were suspended, the first two from the Nationals and the last the manager of the Marlins. It was a pretty ugly brawl and a pretty bad situation for the Nationals’ Morgan. His suspension was for eight games’ and he’s also appealing a seven-game suspension from an incident in Philadelphia at the end of August.
Were Morgan’s actions justified? As everyone saw in the game on Wednesday night, “Volstad threw behind Morgan, which prompted the center fielder to charge the mound and swing his fists.” While this reaction may have been justified for a player who gets thrown behind, the fact is this wasn’t a new situation for Morgan…this week. According to mlb.com:
“Morgan was involved in three separate incidents in less than one week. He unnecessarily ran into Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson on Saturday, directed inappropriate comments to fans at Sun Life Stadium in Miami on Tuesday, then charged the mound, fought and made inappropriate gestures to fans on Wednesday.”
So does Morgan get a heavier fine just because of his past actions?
History with Suspension:
It’s no mystery that Major League Baseball is not interested in having players who act like hot heads, start fights, or any of that. One need look back only as far as the steroid scandal of recent years to see that Major League Baseball has no problem suspending players (for as many as 50 games) who violate their code.
But with Morgan and this case in particular, it’s the multiple suspensions which raise the biggest red flags. (It should be noted that Morgan is, at this time, appealing both suspensions.) What is the history with multiple suspensions? A piece on Helium about the NHL banning players who have multiple suspensions for intentional injury has received over 300 votes, with a large majority (77 percent) saying yes, players who can’t keep their cool need to go. In the end, it’s the fans who vote you in or out with their support or lack thereof.
While the endgame for Nyjer Morgan remains to be seen, there are going to be repercussions for sure. Riggleman said “I thought the suspensions were a little heavy but I certainly expected suspensions…it is what it is, it’s automatic.”
Could these excessively paid athletes take a cue from their bank accounts for their behavior? Riggleman thinks so, telling mlb.com, “As word goes around (about) how heavy some of the fines were, that will help stop it.”
Could money be the only way to improve Major League Baseball players’ shoddy attitudes about throwing balls at each other, retaliating, and causing bench-clearing brawls? Maybe. Or do they need to go the proposed NHL route and just ban players who can’t keep their cool? We’ll see. But as the repitition of this event on the sports news channels all week proves, everyone loves a good fight.