MLB Suspensions: A Handy Guide

Baseball players follow trends just like the rest of us. Whether it's titanium necklaces, that stupid spotlight/claw thing that players do when they reach base, or wife-swapping, there's a long history of players following trends.

The latest fad: getting suspended. In a span of a couple of days, Carlos Carrasco, Jered Weaver, and Yadier Molina have all been suspended for various transgressions.

But different crimes come with different times. Here's an attempt to catalog the various suspensions that Major League Baseball has meted out in the past couple of seasons:


Issue: Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol
: N/A

As dangerous and irresponsible as it is to drive under the influence of alcohol, MLB believes this is a matter between the individual and the justice system. Whether it's a manager or a player getting caught, MLB stays out of the way.


Issue: Using Twitter during a game
Punishment: Two games

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for two games after he twote his displeasure with the umpires in an April game.

This one going to cost me a lot money this is patetic

While the actual message is fairly innocuous, MLB levied the punishment as a warning. One minute a manager or player is expressing his displeasure with umpires, and the next he might be using Twitter like the rest us do: announcing to our friends when we're going to the bathroom.


Issue: Going completely insane after disagreeing with a call
Punishment: Five games

Yadier Molina did not like getting called out on strikes, so he responded the way most of us would: covering another human being with spittle while gesturing menacingly. The physical bump is likely what cost him the time, though the spittle didn't help.


Issue: Going completely insane after disagreeing with a call, and murdering a water cooler
Punishment: Six games

The difference between that and Molina's tirade is the murdering of the water cooler. That water cooler had one day left until retirement. It was going to sail around the world with its wife. Other than that, it seems like the Zambrano and Molina tirades are pretty comparable.


Issue: Attempted decapitation
Punishment Six games

Headhunting is already distasteful and ugly -- if you really, really need to hit a peer with a baseball to prove some sort of point, get them in the thigh or back. Jered Weaver and Carlos Carrasco attempted to decapitate two players who were just minding their own business. Somehow that makes it worse. Alex Avila and Billy Butler weren't the ones who preened and watched their long home runs, yet they were the ones who got fastballs toward the head.

When Roger Clemens threw at Mike Piazza's head, at least that was in retaliation for a legitimate transgression (being Mike Piazza).

The worst part is that Weaver admitted that he wanted to hurt Avila

I'm not here to hurt nobody.

What a silver-tongued devil that one is. By using the double negative, Weaver obscured his true meaning, which was that he was there to hurt everybody. If people really started paying attention to what Weaver was really saying, he wouldn't be America's sweetheart any more.


Issue: Attempting a decapitation, then pretending it was an accident
Punishment: Six games

Come on. That should be twice the suspension that regular headhunting is. When a pitcher pretends his hand is covered in KY Jelly, that should earn weenie points that can be redeemed for a few extra games.


Issue: Kicking someone in the face with cleats
Punishment: Seven games

Jason LaRue, who was kicked in the face by Johnny Cueto, never played again, which is the sort of consequence that you fear from a fastball to the batting helmet. So if you've ever wondered what kind of suspension a pitcher would get if he actually hit someone when he was headhunting, the available evidence suggests he could get as much as an additional game tacked on to his punishment.


Issue: Testing positive for marijuana
Punishment: 15-game minimum

Here we've reached the limit of MLB's patience. We've all seen Reefer Madness. We know what people get like when they're high -- they spaz out, spit on people, attack inanimate objects with bats, throw projectiles at the heads of people who don't deserve it, and kick each other in the face with spiked shoes. It's terrifying. Baseball can't have that sort of thing.

This is not just an issue between an individual and the justice system. This is why MLB had to intervene with Donavan Tate's problem. He was a menace to himself, but more than that, he could have hurt somebody. Also, Tate's second violation came after he tested positive for synthetic cannabis. Even though I don't know what that is, I'm sure it's extra offensive. He probably ate a pot leaf built out of Legos, which is horrible.

Major League Baseball isn't afraid to punish players who have done something wrong. By having clear, progressive punishments based on the seriousness of the violation, players know exactly where they stand. Here's to MLB's crystal-clear tiered system of punishments.

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