What If Suspensions Were Served Against The Teams They Were “Earned” Against?

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When the discipline from the Easter Sunday incident in Pittsburgh was meted out on Tuesday, I had an apostrophe…lightning had just struck my brain.

The basic reason behind my idea?

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh PiratesSo my premise is a simple one. Carlos Gomez and Martin Maldonado were suspended for an on-field altercation against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Travis Snider and Russell Martin (though somehow not Gerrit Cole) were suspended for the same on-field altercation against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the punishment(s) be served when the same two teams squared off again?

There are certainly problems with the idea, including the “what ifs” of the suspended player being traded or sent to the minors or somehow not with his team that next series. And you’d have to consider how (if at all) the punishment being delayed affects the effectiveness of it. Furthermore, if the teams don’t play again the same season, I don’t think works nearly as well.

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But there are many reasons that this would be a good thing, in my opinion. Let’s explore some of them.

1. The punishment doesn’t benefit random opponents.

This is especially pertinent to the basis of the argument. The bottom line is that the Pirates and Brewers got into it and suspensions were the result. So why should the Brewers play short-handed against teams other than the Pirates? Shouldn’t Gomez and Maldonado’s absences hurt the Brewers against Pittsburgh since tempers flared at them? Likewise, why should anyone except the Brewers benefit from Pittsburgh being short Russell Martin and Travis Snider?

2. Players could still appeal length, but this would put an end to seemingly (at times) random scheduling of the hearings and give more of a definitive feel to the punishment, along with quicker decisions.

In the past (and possibly still today?) players would have the appeals heard the next time they played in New York, out of convenience. The Brewers play the New York Mets in Flushing in early June. Could the league really wait that long to decide on Gomez’s appeal? If so, he’ll have played in a lot of games between last Tuesday and then. In my opinion, if you don’t mind that he gets to appeal for weeks, then you shouldn’t mind waiting to serve the suspension until whenever the next time two teams play is.

3. The teams involved would know when the suspensions would be served.

This does benefit the teams to a degree. In our working example, both teams had catchers suspended. This would allow for some manipulation of off days to make sure the teams’ other catchers were rested for the known suspension days, but in circumstances like Maldonado’s whose suspension was for five games, he’d missed a full series and then part of the next one on top of that.

4. It also guarantees that suspension earned concurrently would be served concurrently.

Nothing seems more out of place to me than one guy appealing and one guy serving so that the suspensions don’t overlap. The actions certainly overlapped, so why shouldn’t the punishment? Want to curb some of the participation in these on-field altercations? Making players serve suspensions at the same time might give them pause…at least the next time if not the first time. And maybe that’s enough to avoid some of the physical fallout.

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So again, I understand that there are holes in this idea, but few ideas were perfect at their concept.

What are some added benefits you foresee? What are some problems you can think of? Are any of them dealbreakers?

Respond in the comments and let’s have a fun discussion here. I’ll reply to any serious comments as they come in. (Comments are moderated to avoid spam, so if your comment doesn’t show up right away, it will once I reply/approve.)

Thanks for indulging me in this mental exercise.

3 Comments

My only thought is that suspensions are punishments, so you should have to deal with whatever fallout comes from them. If it helps an unrelated team, even one that is seriously contending with you, then that’s just too bad. It’s a punishment, it’s supposed to be a pain in the…

I totally get that point of view. But to that end, in effect, forcing concurrently served suspensions makes it a bigger pain.

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