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Punishment for Yankees does not fit crime

Leslie Monteiro



MLB discipline officer Joe Torre wasted no time doling out suspensions and fines to the principals that participated in the brawl between the Tigers and Yankees Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Here’s the scorecard on the suspensions that were handed Friday afternoon: Miguel Cabrera was suspended for seven games. Gary Sanchez received a four-game suspension. Austin Romine had two games. Alex Wilson earned his four-game suspension by plunking Todd Frazier in the hip as retaliation for Dellin Betances throwing at James McCann’s helmet in the seventh inning.

From the way I see it, the Yankees got away with it. It should have been worse for them. It shouldn’t be surprising Torre ruled in favor of the Yankees. After all, he was their manager during the Yankees’ championship years in the late 90s and 2000, so he was going to be biased. This is the same manager that used to screw deserving All-Stars from other teams just to put in his own players in the All-Star Game.


Somehow, if former Tigers manager Jim Leyland was the head of discipline, he would have evened out the suspensions and not show bias towards the Tigers. He has integrity, which is something Torre can’t say.

There’s no complaints about the suspensions the Tigers received. They acted like spoiled brats by being frustrated that Sanchez hit four home runs against them this week. When Sanchez homered against Michael Fulmer in the fourth inning on Thursday, the Tigers starter decided to plunk him in the fifth inning. Wilson did not help matters by retaliating in the eighth inning.

It was surprising both teams did not receive warnings from the home plate umpire. Had that happened, there would be no brawls and no suspensions. This was poorly done. No ifs, ands or buts. Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not hesitate to blame the umpires for their role in the brawl. Odds are the home plate umpire privately received a reprimand from Torre and commissioner Rob Manfred. This is the last thing baseball wants to do in promoting the sport.

For Sanchez to get four games is a joke. For Betances to not even be suspended is a disgrace. Why is it Tommy Kahnle not suspended for throwing behind Cabrera in the sixth inning, which set the Tigers slugger off as he jawed with Romine that precipitated the brawl while Wilson was suspended for throwing at Frazier?

Sanchez should have received a seven-game suspension, just like Cabrera. He was sucker-punching the Tigers first baseman and Nick Castellanos while he was on the ground. He acted like a madman searching for blood during that melee in the sixth inning. He knew what he was doing, and he was willing to be suspended just to show he was not going to be pushed around. Those intentions should have been worthy of a long suspension.

A four-game suspension is nothing, especially if Sanchez wins his appeal. It’s not like he will miss two weeks or anything. A seven-game suspension made sense for his behavior. It should make one wonder why even suspend the Yankees catcher if Betances and Kahnle were not suspended for having benches clear couple of times in the game.

Kahnle should have been suspended for at least four games if Wilson was going to be suspended. If he does not throw chin music at Cabrera, nothing happens, either. He instigated the brawl in the first place that set Cabrera off. For him to not get suspended is a joke.

Betances should have received at least nine games. Sorry, but anytime a pitcher plunks someone in the head, it’s dangerous. A hitter can receive brain damage or a concussion. There’s no excuse to throw at someone’s head whether a pitcher has control or not. The Yankees reliever can say the pitch got away, but it’s hard to buy into it based on what transpired the entire afternoon, not to mention a pitcher has to know what he’s doing to throw at someone’s head.

Based on the argument that can be made for several Yankees to get suspended for either more games or a game, it’s stunning Torre never understood that angle. It seemed like he was wearing Yankee-colored glasses when he played the role of judge, jury and executioner. That’s the only way one can explain why the Tigers had more guys suspended than the Yankees.

The Tigers have every right to be incensed. They have not admitted it publicly since they want all of this to go away.

The Yankees know they are fortunate. They won’t admit it since there’s no reason to.

Here’s what begs the question: What was the point of suspending the Yankees in the first place?

Leslie Monteiro is a syndicated sports columnist who writes about the Tri-State area teams for the Upstate Courier. He is based in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and can be reached on Twitter @MongoGoesInSane.