Major League Baseball is looking into yesterday’s benches-clearing incident between the Cardinals and Nationals, with a ruling expected by the end of the week from Joe Garagiola Jr., who was named the baseball’s new disciplinarian in early March.
Since this is the first case Garagiola has heard, it’s difficult to guess how he will come down on those involved, primarily pitchers Livan Hernandez, Chris Carpenter and Miguel Batista and Managers Tony La Russa and Jim Riggleman. The league will almost certainly assess fines. Suspensions are unlikely, but possible. The fact that Hernandez openly admitted he threw at Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus will be taken into account.
As of today, Hernandez said he had not heard from league representatives regarding the fracas. “They don’t have my number,” Hernandez said.
A day later, several veterans, including Adam LaRoche and Rick Ankiel, backed Riggleman’s handling of the incident. Riggleman was the most demonstrative person involved the scrum, getting between Ian Desmond – whom Batista had hit with a pitch – and La Russa, pointing his index finger in La Russa’s face.
“He should be heated up,” Ankiel said. “Unfortunately, those things happen. Overall, the whole thing is stupid, to be honest with you. After Desmond got hit, if I’m Desmond, I would have been really upset, too.
“I don’t know what was said between and [Riggleman] and Tony, but I want to see our manager fired up. Because I don’t feel like Desmond should have been hit.”
One of baseball’s clichés is the idea of a benches-clearing brouhaha bringing a team closer together. Ankiel insisted that, for the Nationals, that really could have happened yesterday.
“You end having each other’s back,” Ankiel said. “It makes you respect and like each other. It’s one of those things.”