Marcus Stroman: Up and In

By Ryan Mueller
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This week at Big League Chew, Shaun Doyle (@JaysFromCouch) and I (@MuellerRyan11) take a look at the what transpired between the Blue Jays Marcus Stroman and the Orioles Caleb Joseph. We’re basing this discussion on a piece written by Robert MacLeod from The Globe and Mail (Marcus Stroman draws the ire of Orioles manager in Blue Jays loss) . MacLeod looks at the reaction from Buck Showalter and the perceived head hunting incident. Word on the street is that Stroman will receive a 6-game suspension, which he will appeal.

ICYMI:Here is the incident we are talking about

RM: the inside pitch and brushing players off the plate appears to be a dying art. A pitcher that can work inside and is willing to throw inside to brush a batter off the plate, is a pitcher I love to watch. In my opinion, Marcus Stroman did nothing wrong by throwing up and in on Joesph….after all he was just standing up for Jose Reyes‎.

SD: You’re right, but not for the reason you think. Throwing at a player is a dying art, but that is because pitchers can’t do it properly anymore. If you can’t hit a player in the rump or ribs, you shouldn’t be throwing at someone. I’m going to reference Shane Victorino from a few years ago.  Players will take it if it is properly done. They get the unspoken aspects of the game. They will not stand for head shots and stuff. No one needs to get hurt. I wouldn’t want the O’s causing the same amount of damage to José Bautista (or anyone else) that Giancarlo Stanton just suffered all in the name of sending a message or standing up for your guy. That’s too far. Do it right or don’t do it.

RM: Agreed too much can go wrong if your intent is to throw at ones head. I was not suggesting that head hunting is right or should be tolerated. Stroman was not head hunting….I believe that if he wanted to hit Joseph in the head, than he would have. Besides batters these days aren’t protecting themselves from getting hit in the face or head. Years ago batters know how to get hit by a pitch. Lawrie sucks at it. So many batter lunge at pitches and leave themselves vulnerable.
I complained about the Jays not showing ‘fire’ when Melky got beaned. Stroman showed that ‘fire’. Buck is whining, plain and simple.

SD: Stroman showed fire, yes. But fire is only useful if you can contain it. Stroman didn’t. His attempted beaning was way off the mark. First mistake. His second mistake was to stare down Showalter. I love Stroman. A lot. But he’s not anywhere near the legend Buck is. Besides, I wouldn’t be proud of such a weak attempt at retribution. And, even if it were successful, it should speak for itself. Period. Get off the field. There is no need for the stare down. I love the passion and posturing, but at the end of the day, it’s not needed. If anything, it’ll cause more drama.

RM: This is a start. Marcus and the rest of the Jays staff need to throw inside more. They need to put that inside pitch into the batters head. They need to let other teams know that if they throw at our guys, your guys WILL be thrown at. That intimidation ‎will cause a batter to hesitate and a pitcher to think twice before throwing inside to Jose Bautista.

SD: Agreed. And the other teams’ batters will put pressure on their pitchers to maybe stop throwing at Jays hitters. I’ve always thought that the Jays need to play with more testosterone. But if you’re going to play that game, you had better do it properly. And then shut up about it. I imagine THAT is Nick’s issue.

Last Word
RM: Throwing at batters is as much a part of baseball as fighting is a part of Hockey. If a pitcher is able to locate his pitches than throwing chin music to straighten a guy out is a useful tool. I applaud Stroman even though he is denying his intent was to throw at Joseph.

SD: If it is indeed part of the game., then it needs to be executed as such. Just like a bunt has a technique, so too should the brush back, etc. Players cannot just rear back and throw to send a message. It has to be controlled and precise. If you can’t do it properly, don’t try. Marking your territory is one thing. Shattering someone’s face, causing concussions, or worse is not and cannot be passed off as part of the game.

Chew on that and tell us what you think.

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