Let's Talk about Suspensions

Cliff Lee sure does look happy about being suspended.

Cliff Lee was suspended 5 regular season games today for “throwing at” Chris Synder.  In a Spring Training game.

Let’s backtrack.  The point of suspending a baseball player is to

  • Punish a player for doing something the league finds inappropriate
  • Make an example and show other major leaguers that the action taken by said player is unacceptable

Cliff Lee threw a pitch inside and over Snyder’s head.  It may have been intentional and it may have been an accident.  But were the league to let these sort of incidents go by without punishment, players would get the idea that throwing at hitters is less heinous than it used to be.  The problem here is that Barry Zito threw at a batter last week and received nary a punishment.

But, for the most part, I don’t blame MLB for suspending Lee.  They thought he was intentionally trying to peg Chris Snyder, and that generally is an action that is worth punishment.  Had he hit Snyder in the head, he might have fractured his skull or something horrible.  And hey, it’s only one start.  That’s probably 1/35.  We’ll live.

Obviously, I hope Lee appeals and has his suspension reduced or taken away entirely.  But, conceptually, I agree with MLB’s decision.

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