You can’t blame the Tigers for getting mad when they feel like an opposing pitcher is throwing the baseball near their heads. You can’t blame their players for following the unwritten rules of baseball: an action has an equal and opposite reaction, generally sooner than later. And you certainly can’t blame their manager for doing everything in his power to protect his players. Yet it’s fair to question whether the Tigers dig deeper holes for themselves with the league every time they respond to an inside pitch with another or when Jim Leyland speaks his mind a little too freely to the press. That seems like what we saw happen Thursday when the Tigers and White Sox benches cleared following an exchange of inside pitches. White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale was given the benefit of the doubt -- his body language after a pitch that flew close to Prince Fielder’s head immediately following Miguel Cabrera’s home run served to exonerate him from further blame. The Tigers, and relief pitcher Luke Putkonen, did not even receive a warning when Putkonen’s pitch flew behind Alexei Ramirez’s back following a grand slam by Chicago. Putkonen was ejected by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild in moments, and Leyland soon after joined him in the clubhouse. No warnings were issued. That’s because the Tigers just aren’t going to get the benefit of the doubt. The first rule of the unwritten rules is apparently that you do not talk about the unwritten rules. Leyland, still angry after Rays reliever Fernando Rodney threw a ball near Cabrera’s head in late June, told reporters after that game: “We will not tolerate that. You can take that to the bank. We won't tolerate that up at the head, with anybody, not (just) Cabrera, but anybody.
Tigers have to be more pragmatic about how they protect teammates
Detroit News | Jul 16