Kirk Gibson Tries and Fails to Police Baseball
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson and Brewers right-fielder Ryan Braun taught us another lesson about Baseball's Unwritten Rules last night.
Except, somehow, Gibson and Arizona reliever Evan Marshall screwed things up so badly, Braun got the last laugh.
The Unwritten Rules of Major League Baseball are both fascinating and ambiguous. For example:
- You don't steal a base when your team is up 10 runs.
- You don't try to break up a no-hitter with a bunt.
- And if you get caught using steroids after an MVP season, vehemently deny the claim, and allegedly call the urine collector an anti-Semite with an agenda only to have the lies blow up in your face, you will probably have a few pitches thrown at your head from time to time.
Such is the life of Ryan Braun these days, and such was the case last night in Arizona. And after Brewers starting pitcher Kyle Lohse hit two Diamondbacks in the same game, you knew Braun had one coming for his ribs.
OK, he missed the ribs. But he got the job done.
Most teams, however, would realize winning games comes first and exacting revenge follows. The Diamondbacks aren't most teams. They are terrible. Worst than the Astros terrible. So while most teams would see that loading the bases in the seventh inning of a one-run game for one of the league's best hitters isn't the smartest idea, Kirk Gibson and the Diamondbacks had to protect the integrity of the game. Damn the consequences, like the next guy up hitting a grand slam and beating you, 7-5.
Here's the sequence of events, viewed from both the Milwaukee and Arizona media outlets:
Cheaters have no place in baseball.
Well, most cheaters have no place in baseball. If you played, coached, and worked as an executive and broadcaster for the Diamondbacks, you have a place in baseball. If you coached with Kirk Gibson for the past four seasons and now manage the Washington Nationals, you have a place in baseball. That would be Matt Williams, the admitted steroid user and good friend of Gibson. I wonder what he thinks of Gibson's crusade?
The ironic Diamondbacks could afford to look foolish last night because they've been doing so all season. But if or when the Brewers make the playoffs by one game, a few teams will be wishing Arizona had cared more about winning games than carelessly trying -- and failing -- to be the baseball police.