In reality, suspending a pitcher for five games is the equivalent of providing said pitcher a day of rest between starts to be better prepared for their start 9-10 days down the road. In this instance, actually, you could almost say the MLB has done Dempster a favor at a point in the season where most pitchers have a rubber arm hanging from their shoulder anyhow and would welcome whatever rest they can get.
We can all debate whether it was within Dempster’s purview to throw at Alex Rodriguez, and what point it made if any, but there is no doubt that the MLB’s suspension has not fit the crime, if there was a crime to begin with. Sure, five-game suspensions make a little bit of a dent in the pride of a day-to-day players, but to a pitcher it could matter less given they work on an entirely different cycle of performance and rest.
If the MLB wanted to truly make a point in this case that Dempster’s decision to allegedly throw intentionally at Alex Rodriguez was taboo they would have suspended him for multiple starts not days.
Beyond this, Dempster is still getting paid during the suspension, so the brief respite doesn’t even affect his pocketbook.
I know this is far from rocket science, but for whatever reason is still the standard when it comes to suspensions for pitchers in these instances. It’s just impossible for me to understand — even as a casual baseball fan — why one standard is applied to pitchers while an entirely different one is applied to position players.
Who was the genius that came up with this dichotomy?
Inquiring minds would certainly like to know.