Thurm: It’s time to end beanball, once and for all

From SABR member Wendy Thurm at on April 10, 2012:

Ubaldo Jimenez and Troy Tulowitzki engaged in a war of words over the winter. When the former teammates met on a baseball field in the last week of spring training, the war of words escalated. Jimenez pitched inside to Tulowitzki, hitting him on the elbow with a 90+ miles per hour fastball. Tulowitzki charged the mound. Jimenez came forward to challenge him. Benches cleared. When order was restored, Jimenez was on the mound and Tulowitzki was at the hospital getting x-rays. The umpires made no ejections and issued no warnings.

After the game, Rockies manager Jim Tracy called Jimenez “gutless.”  Jimenez said he did not intend to hit Tulowitzki. The Commissioner’s Office apparently disagreed, overruled the umpires and suspended Jimenez for five games, the equivalent of one start.

Change the names of the players. Change the teams involved. Change the circumstances leading to the beaning. It’s all about retaliation, a ritual as enmeshed in the fabric of baseball as stealing signs and never bunting to break up a no-hit bid. The Baseball Codes: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime, as baseball writer Jason Turbow called them in his best-selling book and on his on-going blog.

There’s a big difference, of course, between stealing signs and intentionally hurling a baseball more than 90 miles per hour at a player standing 60 feet, 6 inches away. The former may give the sign-stealing team an advantage in a game. The latter may seriously injure the batter, cutting short his season or his career. The danger is real and the practice needs to stop.

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Originally published: April 11, 2012. Last Updated: April 11, 2012.