A Good Rule
South Korea’s KBO apparently has rule that if a pitcher hits a batter in the head, the pitcher is automatically ejected. This is an extremely good rule, and one that MLB should adopt.
Currently, if a major league pitcher hits a batter in the head (granted, it doesn’t happen that often), the pitcher is ejected only if the home plate umpire thinks the beaning was intentional. Needless to say, most of the time the pitcher is not ejected, because MLB pitchers usually don’t throw at the head when they are trying to plunk a batter (they typically aim for the lower back/arms or the legs, because, hey, they’re all professionals, and only the psychopaths want to end another player’s career), and it’s just assumed that the pitcher wasn’t trying to hit the batter in the head.
Ejecting the pitcher for hitting the batter in the head, regardless of intent, solves a whole lot of problems. First, it sends a clear message that under any circumstances, hitting a player in the head is completely unacceptable. This was a lesson MLB should have learned almost 100 years ago, when Carl Mays killed Ray Chapman . Simply put, uou’re control isn’t good enough to avoid hitting somebody in the head, you don’t deserved to be on a major league baseball field.
Second, it defuses a lot of the hitter’s team’s anger. Pitchers don’t usually aim for the head, but if a guy screws up and beans somebody, he’s gone and everyone else can just move on. The perpetrator is punished, and unless the league decides the pitcher did it on purpose (a rare occurrence on top of a rare occurrence), the pitcher can pitch again the next day his arm is ready.
Third, it eliminates the patently ridiculous idea that umpires could or should be mind readers. I wrote recently about the recent event where David Price hit a batter second batter after both teams were warned after Price’s first plunking because the umpire decided that there wasn’t evil intent in Price’s heart.
Who knows and who cares what Price’s intent was — when he hit the second batter, he should have sent to the showers. As it now stands, the Red Sox haven’t forgotten the injustice of that game, and according to the firmest of MLB’s unwritten rules, you can bet on pay-back some time in the future, pay-back that wouldn’t exist if Price had simply been tossed after the second plunking.