As I’ve stated previously, beaning batters on purpose is bad. It’s dangerous and no one should do it and there should be more severe consequences to try and discourage pitchers from retaliating against opposing hitters.
Well, losing out on half a million dollars because you retaliated on behalf of your teammate is probably punishment enough. Also, awesomely, a pretty pointed way to say you care more about retaliation than you do about a huge stack of money.
The unique part of this particular bout of retaliation was Sabathia was only a few innings away from triggering $500,000 in bonus money if he hit an innings minimum by making it through the seventh. Which he definitely knew and was in no danger of missing since he was only at 55 pitches on the day with his team up by 11 when he came in for the sixth.
Absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind Sabathia was gone after this, but he made sure his walk off the field was slow and measured just in case anyone wanted to start something.
An 11-0 margin in the final game between the @RaysBaseball and the Yankees this season. Sure, go ahead and intentionally hit a person. Today's game is live on FOX Sports Sun and FOX Sports Go. #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/p4tPs06CHo— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) September 27, 2018
Sabathia also made sure the Rays dugout knew exactly what he thought of them before heading back to the clubhouse.
"That's for you, bitch" - CC Sabathia pic.twitter.com/ZDWyzSDaAu— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) September 27, 2018
There wasn’t any fighting in the aftermath, although Aaron Judge was prepared to take on the Tampa Bay bullpen all by himself if necessary.
CC Sabathia gets tossed for hitting a batter in retaliation for Romine getting thrown at. Meanwhile, Aaron Judge goes over to find out if the Rays' bullpen has a problem with any of it.#Yankees pic.twitter.com/W4oV1FXrzo— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) September 27, 2018
One question that needs to be answered is why Sabathia didn’t just wait. Especially when it wasn’t such a strong need for retaliation that it had to happen to Sucre specifically for a dirty slide, or at that very moment. It’s not like anyone was going anywhere before the eighth inning.
For intentionally throwing at Sucre, Sabathia was suspended five games on Saturday by Major League Baseball, but Sabathia appealed the suspension. If his punishment is upheld, the suspension won’t occur until the 2019 season.
The Yankees could have had CC retaliate after the seventh inning to ensure his bonus, maybe hitting someone on his first pitch in the eighth inning if he really wanted to do it himself, or have one of the bullpen guys do it.
But “defending” your teammate to the tune of $500,000 less in your bank account is certainly a gesture! (He’d later say “I don’t really make decisions based on money, I guess,” Sabathia said. “I just felt like it was the right thing to do.”) Romine better take CC to the nicest possible dinner in New York during their off day before the Wild Card game to make up for it. Or just cut him a check.
His teammates are on his side, though, with Giancarlo Stanton saying “I’m with CC” and Aaron Judge admitting “that’s the type of guy you want to go to battle with.” Which rings true, because if there’s someone you want in your dugout it’s someone who cares about people more than money. Even if he proved it by participating in one of baseball’s dumbest traditions.