Here’s an excerpt of today’s Penning Bull, a piece in which I beg MLB to apply a more thoughtful series of criteria to the decision-making process when disciplinary action is required.
It happened so quickly that Contreras, who seemed to have had half a mind to run interference and keep Lackey from getting tossed, wasn’t even able to turn his full attention away from the field for another moment or two. Once he was, he jawed with Baker a bit, obviously frustrated by the blown call, his own poor framing job on the pitch in question, and Baker’s quick trigger on his pitcher. Then, just as he seemed to be turning his attention toward the field and the job of warming up Lackey’s replacement, Contreras tried to get in some final word that Baker found impermissible. Baker threw him out, more emphatically than the sheepish wave he gave to Lackey. Livid, Contreras spiked his catcher’s mask.
Freeze the video. The mask is on the ground, five feet or so from Baker. It’s been slammed straight down, a victim of Contreras’s frustration and fury. What it clearly isn’t, of course, is a weapon, a tool being applied to some malevolent, violent purpose. Keep watching, though, because that’s about to change.