Ubaldo Jimenez Needs to Get a Grip

Benches cleared during a spring training “bout” (pun intended) between the Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians when Cleveland pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez drilled former teammate Troy Tulowitzki.

For some reason, baseball players seem to hold the biggest grudges. And pitchers “beaning” batters is the main form of on-field retaliation. But why?

It seems childish to me. Perhaps it is done because there is little else you can do inside the rules of baseball to physically harm the opponent, but rarely does a pitcher get widely applauded for such an act.

Maybe in the clubhouse, if a pitcher’s manager calls for a beaning, then he may get some kudos. But most of the time it just looks dumb and you are giving the team you are retaliating against an advantage by having a base runner.

Furthermore, if a pitcher seriously injures a batter with an intentional beaning, that pitcher risks being  suspended for a long, long time, so what is the point?

Plus if you injure a star player in Tulowitzki, you are hurting the game you play. Not only are you affecting ticket sales by putting a star out of commission but you are also ruining the great concept of any sport:

To be the best, you have to beat the best.

Sure, nobody will complain about beating the New York Yankees with an injured Robinson Cano, but if you were to ask Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox whether he would approve of a scrub minor league Red Sox pitcher beaning Cano in the head, (to give the Sox a better chance at winning the World Series) he would definitely disapprove.

Nobody in their right mind, even off the record, would admit to wanting to intentionally injure a player so his team has a better chance to win.

Nothing good comes of deliberately beaning an opponent. Whether it is spring training, the regular season, or playoffs. Retaliate by beating them where it counts: on the scoreboard.

Furthermore, talk has it that Jimenez (who was traded mid-season last year from Colorado to Cleveland) has beef with the Rockies for paying star hitters Carlos Gonzalez and Tulowitzki big money instead of him.

To borrow a phrase used on my radio program: “SAAAAY WHAT?” Beef against the Rockies for choosing to pay everyday hitters big money?

The Rockies play in a hitters ballpark. Coors Field—humidor or no humidor—is widely considered to be in the top-5 hitters parks in the league. Of course the Rockies are going to field a team more largely based on offense. Similarly, teams like the San Francisco Giants build more on pitching with their ballpark.

Not only does it make more sense for the Rockies to pay All-Star hitters than pitchers but just who does Ubaldo think he is? Tim Lincecum? Roy Halladay?

Jimenez has delivered one great statistical season (2010) to go along with a solid 2009 performance, but before and after those two seasons, he has been nothing but mediocre on the mound.

Last season he started out 0-5 in his first nine starts, and the Rockies got a trade offer of prospects they simply couldn’t refuse. There should be no beef between Jimenez and the Rockies organization.

Certainly there could have been behind the scenes issues between Jimenez and Tulowitzki that we don’t know about.

But even if that were the case, you are going to get him back by drilling him in a meaningless game? Please, what does that accomplish?

Shouldn’t you want to strike that guy out every time you face him (or at least keep him off base every time) instead of drilling him one time?

Now while Jimenez remains steadfast that he didn’t intentionally bean Tulowitzki, then why does he stare down Tulowitzki, walk toward the plate and gesture for a fight? Watch the video for yourself, body language shows “intent to injure” (to borrow a hockey phrase).

No, no. Anyone who has ever pitched at even the little league level knows that if you accidentally bean someone you naturally show your frustration by jerking your head back, letting out a word of personal frustration, or something similar.

You don’t do what Jimenez did and show no initial reaction but to keep staring down the hitter.

Jimenez certainly holds something against the Rockies and Tulowizki.  His plunking of the latter certainly calls for a significant suspension. (update: MLB has suspended him for 5 games pending appeal)

That is not the way a professional athlete is supposed to handle himself, period.

Andrew Bensch writes for TheFanManifesto. Follow him on twitter at @AndyBensch

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  1. Baseball | FreeFire Sports says:

    [...] Greatest Regular Season Day in MLB HistoryAre the Mets Considering the Post 2012 Free Agent MarketBrewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: #16 Aramis RamirezIntentional Bean Balls & Ubaldo Jimenez [...]

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