Zack Greinke and the Great Mound Charging Debate

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So last night Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke plunked Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin and the end result was a bench clearing brawl engulfed by mass chaos. No big deal, right? After all, these types of situations happen on a semi-regular basis through the course of a season. Everyone can take their suspensions and move on with their lives.

Well… Not so fast.

As it turns out, Greinke suffered a broken left collarbone in the melee and will be sidelined for at least two months while the injury heals. The injury, combined with Greinke’s $147-million contract has the baseball world up in arms over the place that fighting has in the game today and how severly Quentin should be punished for his actions.

Many pundits and fans have chastised Quentin for injuring Greinke. Even Dodgers manager Don Mattingly chimed in to say that there is no way that Quentin should play until Greinke can pitch. Ummm… what? While I understand his point and his role in all of this (Mattingly has to protect his player and the rest of the team moving forward) I don’t understand why that’s a realistic solution to a freak injury.

I’ve seen the video replay over and over and over and all I can say to the Dodgers is… “Oh well.”

First of all, despite what you may think about charging the mound, Quentin has a legitimate beef. Greinke has a history of plunking him throughout the years. Is he supposed to continue to take that? Better yet, why should Greinke be allowed to continue to plunk him over and over again? I have zero issue with Quentin finally saying enough is enough and taking matters into his own hands.

Second, if Greinke hadn’t gotten hurt this would he a non-issue and just another brawl that will live on in infamy on YouTube. But he did get hurt and as a result this is the worst thing to ever happen and Quentin is now regarded as a thug. It’s the same kind of 24 hour sports cycle bull crap that blows everything else out of proportion. It’s no different than when Kendrys Morales broke his leg celebrating a game winning homer a few years back. When that happened, suddenly celebrating a game winning hit or home run was stupid and should never be done ever again. Right, because one freak injury out of lord knows how many celebrations is enough to justify a change of that magnitude.

Lastly, I love how everyone is making it out like Quentin ran out to the mound and clubbed Greinke with his bat or judo chopped him in the neck. Greinke should hold shared responsibility in this. Quentin charged the mound, but he didn’t tell Greinke to turn and lower his shoulder to take on a guy that outweighs him by 40+ pounds. That’s his own damn fault and he should know better. He should know to simply protect himself until the calvary arrives. But again, in the 24 hour news cycle world we live in we have to play the angle that will garner the most reaction. If that means villifying Carlos Quentin in the process, then so be it.

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Oh, and one more thing. What if when Greinke lowered his shoulder it was Quentin who suffered the devastating shoulder injury? Would people be crying for Greinke to be suspended until Quentin could play again? Hell no. Instead Quentin would still live in infamy as the guy that got beat up by Zack Greinke. Why doesn’t someone go ask Robin Ventura how that type of stigma feels?

Seriously, people need to back away from the ledge on this one. Yes, the injury is devastating to the Dodgers and Quentin will undoubtedly be back on the field before Greinke, but oh well. Such is life. Maybe next time Greinke will think a little bit harder about how to handle himself on the mound.

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