Is the Baseball Fight #back? I don’t want to be too premature here, but I think fighting in baseball is officially #back. It’s been building up over the last few seasons. Unwritten rules just being broken left and right. Lot of hard slides into second. Lot of throws behind the batter. Lot of long stares. And of course a LOT of bat flips. People are challenging the status quo. Guys like Bryce and Joey Bats and Syndergaard… these guys just want to have fun playing the game. And there are enough baseball purists still out there that this tension has come to a head. Aggressive bat flip? You’re getting thrown at. Hard slide into second? Drop the gloves. Throw at my pitcher? Yours is getting beamed next inning.
Because if you think about it – what’s really the downside?
If you’re a player, your worst case scenario is a nice little week off in the middle of an outrageously long 162 game season.
If you’re a manager, a good old brawl is the perfect wake up call for a slumping/stagnant lineup in the dregs of summer.
And if you’re the league offices, aren’t you juuuuuust concerned enough about National Ratings (yes, I know local ratings are killing it right now) that a couple of SportsCenter-leading, blog-headlining brawls might actually be a good thing for the overall financial health of the sport.
Think about it. Football and Basketball are getting softer. Concussion protocals, less hitting, more penalties and fouls called. Old school NBA and NFL guys call their sport soft all the time. Isn’t the smart move for baseball to embrace the violence? Embrace the aggression? Embrace the entertainment? Embrace fighting?
If I’m Rob Manfred, I’m all in on this. More bat flips and long stares. More hard slides and pitches behind guys backs. More fights. More brawls. More violence. And from all that? More ratings.
So the answer is yes, fighting is officially #back. Now we just need to teach some of these guys how to fight.