The Cardinals and Cubs most recent exchange of words/social media posts/whatever else has had some people worried that retaliation might be on the agenda. To combat that, a few people believe that the umpires should issue warnings before the games even begin. Maybe that is necessary, but I am not really sold.
For starters, I am not a fan of warnings anyway; if an umpire believes a pitcher threw at a player intentionally, he should just throw him out. Pitchers know they are not allowed to purposely throw at hitters. This is not a new rule. Pitchers that throw at hitters should not be allowed to stay in the game - a warning is definitely not needed to advise them on that fact. Additionally, getting hit by a pitch is a part of the game. Anthony Rizzo has been hit by pitch 118 times in his career (a career high of thirty in 2015 and as many as twenty times in 2018). He is going to get hit and it will likely be accidental. Do we just throw someone out when that happens? Warnings just add this extra layer of unnecessary controversy to the game. With games already this tense, it might actually make things worse.
Mostly though, I really do not think the players are going to care that much in May about words that were said in January - it is just a little gamesmanship. Despite what some may say, the Cardinals do not really have much of a reputation for throwing at batters, especially since Mike Shildt took over as manager. I do not believe Kris Bryant being thrown at is rational thing to fear.
Of course, Yadier Molina did say this, per Jenifer Langosch which might suggest otherwise,
The social media chatter has died down, but Yadier Molina assured that Kris Bryant’s characterization of St. Louis as “boring” won’t soon be forgotten.
”Oh, it will. It will carry [into the season],” Molina insisted on Monday. “I can’t wait to get on the field.”
however, I think it is pretty obvious that Molina simply means he wants to play baseball. The man is a known competitor - he wants to play. Any effort to turn this statement into a The Sopranos style threat seems incredibly dramatic and just plain off-base. The Yadfather puns have been going around and they are funny, but because it is a silly comparison of a veteran baseball player defending his home to an old mob boss, not because Molina is going to put out a mafia-style hit on Kris Bryant. It is hyperbole - a literary device.
The Cardinals always want to beat the Cubs. The two teams have been long-time rivals and now their talent-level has reached nearly an even point. They do not need extra incentive to try to beat each other, but Kris Bryant, perhaps unwittingly, provided just that. That is all this is: two teams that really want to defeat each other in a game of baseball, not cause actual physical harm. That would be ridiculous.
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