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Commentary: Leagues need to act to stop violence

Daniel Hargis, Sports Editor

Teams taunt one another during games, often through controversial extracurricular activities that result in more resentment between the teams and an act of retaliation that the governing body of the sport must address.

No self-respecting team will go down without having the last laugh, taking action so that the opponent knows they will not get pushed around.

The most recent case happened on Sept. 14 when Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra, who was nearly hit on the head by pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo earlier in his at-bat, hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to tie their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After hitting the home run, Parra admired the long distance shot at home plate before rounding the bases.

When he returned home, Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis and pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who was on the bench at the time, yelled at the gloating Parra.

Both benches were warned by the home plate umpire to prevent any further action during the rest of the Dodgers’ eventual extra inning victory.

During the next day there was a lot of speculation about what Kershaw, who was scheduled to be on the mound that evening, would do to have the last laugh and seek revenge on Parra.

Callers to “The Mason and Ireland Show” on ESPN radio thought that Kershaw would wait until the sixth inning, when he could secure a win, before finding his revenge.

All of the talk by sports fans across the greater Los Angeles area must have been noticed by Major League Baseball, yet no action was taken to warn Kershaw, the Dodgers, Parra or the Diamondbacks to watch their behavior during that evening’s game.

Sure enough, in the top of the sixth inning, Kershaw barely hit the left-handed batting Parra on the right elbow.

As a result, Kershaw was immediately ejected, then Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was ejected after arguing with the home plate umpire and crew chief about the call.

However, this was not the beginning of the issues between Parra and the Dodgers.

On July 31, Parra hit a home run off of Kuo and showboated his feat, probably sparking the controversy between the two that was revisited on that September evening.

All of this could have been avoided if the MLB was stricter about what transpires between teams that do not necessarily have a direct result on the outcome of the game.

The MLB should have placed sanctions on Parra for his original taunt, placing responsibility on Parra and the Diamondbacks organization for his actions.

To make things fair, Kuo and the Dodgers could have received sanctions as well, although Parra admitted that he felt Kuo’s dangerous pitch was unintentional.

Kershaw and Mattingly’s ejections and any kind of tension between either team during the subsequent game would have never existed if the MLB had a stronger grip on this sort of behavior.

This problem exists not just in the MLB.

Hits, some of which result in serious injury, in the National Hockey League stem from ongoing problems between players and teams as well.

An incident happened on Feb. 11 when the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders were involved in a bench-clearing brawl in a game nine days after a previous meeting.

The fight was fueled by leftover feelings from the previous game when Penguins forward Maxime Talbot concussed New York Islanders forward Blake Comeau with a questionable hit.

This incident could have been properly avoided if the NHL stepped in after the initial conflict.

In the MLB, problems between two teams can escalate to bench-clearing brawls during the course of one game.

In the Aug. 6 game between the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants, Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino was hit by Giants pitcher Ramon Ramirez, sparking a fight.

One solution, utilized by the governing body of European soccer, the United European Football Association, involves ending games that are physical and on the brink of violence prematurely.

Extracurricular activities between professional sports teams would be reduced if their governing bodies took charge of their franchises and put an end to problems before they have a chance to start.

Daniel Hargis, a sophomore journalism major, is the sports editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by email at daniel.hargis@laverne.edu.

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