Although I did not see the play and don’t know the history involved here. There was clearly someone who was wrong.
From my view it appears that the Marlins took exception to Mr. Morgan’s collision at the plate with catcher Brett Hayes. What I can’t understand though is why the Marlins feel as though the play was uncalled for.
Catchers of all people should know that if they are anywhere near home plate then they become a target. Middle infielders get attacked all the time and they seem to do a good job of getting out-of-the-way. I believe that Mr. Hayes needs to make sure that he is not putting himself in a situation that can get him hurt. The reality is that if Mr. Hayes clear the plate, this wouldn’t happen.
If the Marlins believe that Mr. Hayes was completely correct with being close to the plate, then someone in the Marlins Baseball Operations Department needs to have a stern talking to. Fundamentals were lost on this play. Not a fundamental that deals with ability, but a fundamental that should be taught and reinforced so that this situation never shows up. But the Marlins took exception to Mr. Morgan’s play.
The Marlins decided to hit Mr. Morgan later in the game and Mr. Morgan trotted down to first base. From the information I have seen and been given, Mr. Morgan took that as retaliation for tackling the catcher and excepted his punishment regardless if it was warranted.
Mr. Morgan then stole 2 bases when the score was 14-3 in the 4th inning. From my understanding, the Marlins were holding him on and even if they weren’t, there is no problem in this situation for him to steal those bases. There are no rules about stealing when a team is down 11 runs in the 4th. The fact that the Marlins were holding him on proves that they to have no problem with him stealing. As a rule of thumb, if a team holds you on, you play.
As far as I’m concerned, the issue had been taken care of even though the Marlins didn’t have a real case to hit Mr. Morgan in the first place. If anyone should have been hit, it was the person who failed to teach catcher, Brett Hayes about the proper fundamentals and understanding of that play. If I was a Marlin I would have been yelling at someone about how baseball is taught in the organization.
The situation was not over in the eyes of the Marlins though. Mr. Volstad decided to throw another ball at Mr. Morgan. But there was no reason to do so. Not only that, Mr. Volstad threw a fastball at least a foot behind Mr. Morgan. This is a sign of a pitcher who has not been taught how to play the game properly and has now counter attacked Mr. Morgan after the situation should have been over.
Fundamental baseball retaliation says that you should never throw a ball behind a guy. The reason? Because that is cowardly. It shows a pitcher who is afraid to hit a batter and he is simply making a veiled attempt to protect his team. If I were manager of the Marlins, I would have called Volstad into my office and sternly yelled at him to HIT THE BATTER! YOU THINK PROTECTING YOUR TEAMMATES IS MISSING A GUY? Of course I also would have yelled at him and the rest of the team for throwing at Morgan in the first and second place.
Next, Mr. Morgan charged the mound only to see Volstad who threw his glove down and then didn’t put up his hands to protect himself. What is going on in the Marlins system? Do they not teach pitchers to put their fists up? As a result of the organization not teaching this, Volstad gets hit in the face because there was nothing to block Mr. Morgan’s fist from making contact.
The fight ensues and people are ejected.
As Mr. Morgan walks off the field, he decides to raise his hands up and interacts with the crowd. What are you doing? This is no time to celebrate! If I am the manager of the Nationals I would pull you into the office and yell at you for being a classless little kid. This isn’t some show! If you get into a fight then you fight and it is over. Don’t throw your hands up like some belligerent jerk. In that one-act you showed that this was not about baseball, it was about you. That is not team baseball and if it isn’t team baseball then it shouldn’t be tolerated. Grow up.
Finally, I have found that the most blame needs to go to Major League Baseball. Just like most in our society, the league thinks that the avoidance of pain is a better lesson then allowing pain. When did we decide to protect our kids from learning important lessons? This is a problem.
The league has forced the umpires to make immediate warnings even if they aren’t needed. The league believes that this will exhaust the problem, but it only frustrates the players and the forces the umpires to take heat when they are just doing what they are told from the league.
The other byproduct of not letting teams hit guys is that players no longer know when to hit a guy or why to hit a guy. In the Marlins situation, they started a “Snowball fight” because they didn’t teach their catcher how to protect himself. There is a clear way to hit a player and it has to do with a combination of a lot more than the guy you want to be at the plate.
If you want to hit a guy, there has to be 2 outs and your team is winning by more than 4 runs. The pitcher then throws a 4 seamed fastball and tries to hit the batters ribs. NOT THE HEAD AND NOT THE LEG. The head is dangerous and the leg is cowardly.
MLB needs to teach teams when to hit a guy if the teams don’t know how to. The answer is not to start warning everyone. There is too much pressure out there to add more frustration with a warning.
Stop trying to avoid pain.
I find the Florida Marlins guilty of doing so many things wrong that it is unavoidable. The organization is not teaching their players how to play the game correctly.
Mr. Morgan, although you were in the right to charge the mound, you failed as an honorable baseball player. This game is not about you. It is about winning baseball games. I am embarrassed that you think it is ok to interact with the crowd that way. You embarrassed all Major League Baseball players with your actions. It’s time to act like a man, handle your business, and keep your mouth shut. Play to win.
I am embarrassed today with what we have shown fans. Once again, due to an avoidance of pain, baseball has shown that they are acting like spoiled rich kids. We have an obligation to teach the game of baseball with honor. This is not honor. This is lack of leadership.
I sentence all parties to sit in front of a mirror with a dictionary. Your first punishment is to look up the words honor and character. You are then to face the mirror and say those definitions into the mirror so that you can talk to yourself. Sit there and think. Repeat the definitions if you have to but don’t get up until those words have been planted in your heart.
This court is adjourned. I am going for a run right now because I am so upset and embarrassed.
All Rise! Judge Ensberg Presiding!
Judge Mo: You may be seated. Florida Marlins, what seems to be the problem here?
Marlins: Your honor. On September 1, 2010, Mr. Morgan charged the mound and a bench clearing brawl ensued. We believe that this was uncalled for.
Judge: Ok. Mr. Morgan? Please tell me what happened.
Morgan: Judge Mo, it is really simple. In the previous game I hit their catcher on a play at the plate and he got hurt.
Judge: Were you out?
Judge: Could you have slid?
Judge: OK. Go on.
Morgan: The next game, I was hit on purpose and took my base.
Judge: Did you say anything or look at them in any way that would be considered aggressive?
Morgan: No your honor. They were paying me back because I hurt their catcher. I jogged down to 1st base.
Morgan: After that I stole second base and then third base.
Judge: What was the inning and score?
Morgan: It was the 4th inning and the score was 14-3.
Judge: Then what happened?
Morgan: Later on in the game I Volstad threw a ball behind me.
Judge: He threw the ball behind you? It wasn’t at you?
Morgan: No. The ball missed me by a foot. But I just dropped my bat and helmet and charged him.
Judge: Ok. So the ball was thrown behind you and you charged the mound. Did you hit Mr. Volstad?
Morgan: I did your honor. I hit him with a left right in the face. It was a good shot. Right after I connected, I was clothes lined and tackled by the Marlins team.
Judge: Alright. Marlins. Why did Mr. Volstad throw behind Mr. Morgan?
Marlins: Your honor. We feel like all of Mr. Morgan’s actions of hitting our catcher and then stealing bases led to another “beaning.”
Judge: Alright. I think I have an understanding of what went on. I will adjourn and ask the jury here at Morgan Ensberg’s Baseball IQ what they think. They have really helped me so it is their turn to chime in. Below is a poll. I will submit my summary when 100 people vote. Understood? Good.
Bailiff: All RISE!