On Wednesday, the NFL decided to take the news headlines away from the other sports again by announcing the penalties for the Saints “Bounty” situation. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for a year and the team will lose its next two second round picks. Others, such as Rams’ Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was ‘credited’ with offering the bounties was also suspended.
Bla Bla Bla… it’s football, so it really doesn’t matter. It’s baseball season.
But the story did get me thinking… is there a baseball scenario that would be equivalent to Bounty Gate? What would a baseball manager have to do to warrant a one year suspension?
Obviously, things like betting on baseball (see Rose, Pete) or accepting money to throw games (see Jackson, Joe and the 1919 Black Sox) will get a player or manager suspended for life. So that is a different scenario. Baseball has, and continues to fight, its steroid era in which players now get suspended 50 games for a first offense.
Could a manager (or pitching/hitting coach) put a bounty on an opposing player? How would that scenario play out?
One of baseball’s unwritten and very well known rules is that occasionally a pitcher will be instructed to hit an opposing player with a fastball in retaliation for one of his teammate’s being hit. Do you remember in 2006 when then-White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was so upset at rookie pitcher Sean Tracey for not throwing at an opposing batter that he sent him to the minor leagues and never called him back up. Around the same time, Guillen was very upset at veteran Jon Garland for not hitting an opposing batter in retaliation.
If you recall, Guillen was not suspended or fined for his comments, lashing out against his players for not hitting opponents.
Of course, if the pitcher does intentionally hit (and potentially hurt) the batter, the most he would get would be a six game suspension. Even if the batter charges the mound, the pitcher will likely only get a six games off, and the batter will probably get three games off.
What if a manager told a player to charge the mound? And then the manager told one of his bench players, his 25th man, to beat up the opponent’s best pitcher in an attempt to not have to face him the next game?
Using Ozzie Guillen as an example again, what about AJ Pierzynski’s antics? What if we learned that Guillen had offered a bounty to Pierzynski for taking out first baseman Justin Morneau? Maybe he would get a few thousand dollars for stepping on Morneau’s Achilles every time he ran out a ground ball? Maybe that's why AJ continued to do it?
So, give it some thought. What would the baseball equivalent be to the Bounty Situation? I really can’t imagine a situation in baseball which would ever bring about the kinds of ramifications that this New Orleans Saints “Bounty” situation has. Then again, baseball’s that sport where you think you’ve seen it all and then something new happens.