Hit Me With Your Best Shot; Fire Away

We apologize in advance for the analogy, but it's clear that Major League Baseball has gone into the beanball wars with no exit strategy whatsoever. Things came to a head on Sunday with five ejections in the Rockies-Giants game — including both managers — after four beanings. Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti was even tossed for throwing his pitch counter onto the field in a fit of pique. But he should count himself lucky; Barry Bonds didn't play on Sunday. Had Bonds been on the field, Righetti would have been tackled by stadium security.

The Giants' Matt Morris was tossed in the first inning — by a Triple-A replacement ump, no less — for plunking Eli Marrero. The umpiring crew had reportedly been on high alert due to the feud between Rockies' pitcher Jose Mesa and Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel. Mesa hit Vizquel on Saturday. As usual, baseball is leaderless on this issue. Umpires are being put into a position where they have to read the players' minds to gauge intent. Pitchers can't work inside without fear of running afoul of some ill-defined beanball rule that seems to change from game to game, and batters have to check the Barnes & Noble best-seller list to figure out who is likely to throw at them in any given week. One rule we'd like to see instituted immediately: Instead of an automatic ejection for the manager, the second beaning in an inning should include an automatic ejection for Bud Selig, with the loss of one day's pay, for failing to establish uniform hit-by-pitch rules. Though ejections are always fun to watch, and we wonder who would be in charge of escorting him out.

Mesa-Vizquel Feud Escalates [Cincinnati Post]