It was exactly 11 years ago yesterday when Michael Barrett’s fist connected with A.J. Pierzynski’s face. “The punch heard around Chicago,” as many fans called it, was just one of many acts of emotional showcases in the MLB. Aggression amongst ballplayers is a staple in baseball. Tensions flare, pitches are thrown at each other, benches clear, and players exchange fists. Personally, these quarrels between players make the game more interesting, intense, real, authentic, and any other positive connotation you can come up with. Without the ability to express emotions and display the true tenacity of the game, baseball loses an edge.
I love baseball, I love to watch it, play it, and talk about it. I agree to some degree with the MLB that rules need to be intact to prevent injuries to middle infielders such as Chase Utley’s slide on Ruben Tejada, but as of recent, discussions have been made to prevent balls being intentionally thrown at opposing players. This retaliation move has been a tradition by ball clubs since what seems like the beginning of time. No sensible ball player ever has the intention to cause serious injury, but a slow fastball to the thigh is sure to let the other team know exactly how they feel. Pitchers already get ejected for this move, and batters or any player for that reason gets ejected in the event they charge the mound or exchange hands.
If you take away the emotional aspect of the game, you lose a certain feel. Their is no greater feeling of passion and intensity you have for your team and guys when another team throws a fist or a ball at your star player. It creates a feeling of passion for fans that just would not be the same without it.
Ask any Chicago Cubs or Sox fan who happened to be around during that infamous moment, and you’ll most likely start a cross-town argument about “Who really won that fight.” ( Michael Barrett did for those asking.) They will remember it like it was yesterday. However I am certain no one can tell you the score of that game, let alone who even won. The only thing that stuck was the emotion and pure display of passion that makes the game of baseball what it is today.