When Will Smith (the Brewers pitcher, not the Fresh Prince) was caught with a foreign substance on his arm by the Braves, he was ejected and subsequently suspended for 8 games.

Freddie Freeman–Smith’s opponent– was quoted as saying: “As a hitter you want them to do it so they have a better grip, so we don’t get hit in the head.”

Smith’s manager Craig Counsell said the same.

That’s an interesting take considering baseball is a sport that prides itself on self-policing, often by way of “purpose” pitches near the opponent’s…head.

“Put one in his ear” you’ve surely heard an adult human say, maybe within earshot of his adoring son.

Sometimes an opponent really earns the right to have a 95 mph heater near his only and irreplaceable brain.  Deserving parties have been known to commit murder take too long rounding the bases, or steal  an old lady’s purse a base while winning by three runs.

“But they’re not throwing *at* his head, just near it.”

Can pitcher’s fully control location?  Freeman’s quote indicates the answer.  Surely most of the pitches that have hit batters in the head were accidental, missing their intended mark by inches.

Maybe, with the existing margin for error, we should just stop purposely throwing fastballs anywhere near other people’s central nervous systems.

I agree with Freddie and Counsell.

Let the game rid itself only of things that compromise the player’s cognitive safety, not things that may protect it.

But know that means less about getting rid of substances, than it does some caveman players and managers.


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