White Sox, Royals, dodge balls and brawls


Alexander Aghayere

Halftime from the Sideline

By Copy Chief

It usually takes a batter being hit by a pitch to clear the benches, but that wasn’t the case on April 23 when the Chicago White Sox played the Kansas City Royals.

Sox center fielder Adam Eaton hit a one-hopper right back to Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who proceeded to approach Eaton as he ran to first base, to stare him down and shout out “F–k you.”

To start off, what?

Ventura said through an interpreter in a post-game interview that he was unable to control his emotions. Nope. Not good enough. The ball being hit back at the pitcher is not uncommon, so the foul mouth was uncalled for. Furthermore, this is not the first of Ventura’s problems this season. Not even a month in and he has already been ejected for hitting Oakland Athletics infielder Brett Lawrie with a pitch on April 18. He was fined for it on April 22—the amount was not disclosed—but Ventura was not suspended.

The April 23 confrontation started with an exchange of hit batters and led to the benches clearing at the end of the seventh inning.

Baseball code says a pitcher should hit a player on the other team if the other team hit one of the pitcher’s teammates first, but sometimes code should be broken and the pitcher should step up as the bigger man.

Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale, both Sox pitchers, were ejected from the game along with Ventura and Royals’ Lorenzo Cain and Edinson Vólquez for their involvements in the fight.

Although it made me happy to see that Samardzija was willing to take the Royals on all by himself, the tensions are both unnecessary and detrimental to the teams’ rivalry.

A division rivalry should be cherished as the epitome of competitive sports, but a dirty rivalry should be the complete opposite. Baseball is not meant for brawls. The sport is not set up for that in terms of the style of play and because there are 162 games in the season.

Moreover, Royals players said in the locker room post-game that this was not their style of play and that they did not want this to continue. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said it was basically both teams’ faults, adding that some players start staring and that leads to other players reacting.

Cain said he would come out the next day and just play baseball, and that’s what the game is all about. However, as Robin Ventura said, players will continue to stare. Some players will be wary of inside pitches and others will have to watch their mouths.

It doesn’t matter if the Royals are still sore about losing the World Series last season or if the altercation was strictly because of the actions on the field on April 23, players on both teams are accountable for their actions.

As exciting as it may be, baseball players get paid millions to play baseball, not to fight. When a hit—you know, a routine part of baseball—is the start of a fight, the players are not focused on their jobs or the game. They are focused on their personal conflicts with opposing players, and that is not acceptable.