You could say that Mariners slugger Richie Sexson is wrapping up a bad week. The first baseman’s team has lost nine of their last 10 games. He missed a game Wednesday night after an undisclosed family emergency kept him away from the team. On Thursday, he charged the mound on a pitch that arguably wasn’t even inside.
Yesterday, Sexson’s punishment was announced, and it was pretty harsh.
The suspension is six games, considered to be lengthy in part because Sexson took his helmet off and threw it at Rangers pitcher Kason Gabbard. Sexson, obviously, is appealing. And he’s getting help from the team.
From the AP report on SI.COM:
[ Seattle manager John] McLaren said the Mariners will present evidence to [baseball’s vice president in charge of discipline Bob] Watson — things allegedly said by Rangers players after Sexson charged the mound — that Seattle hopes will lead to a reduced penalty for Sexson.
“There’s some things that we know that we are going to put on the table,” McLaren said. “He’ll have some things that he can give Bob on the situation.”
The pitch at Sexson was a retaliation from Seattle’s Felix Hernandez throwing at Texas’ Sidney Ponson. Those two players, along with the Rangers’ Gerald Laird, also were fined, but none were suspended.
Like it or not, protecting one’s teammates and pitching inside are both important parts of the game, even though they seem to be at odds with one another. When the brass in the MLB offices pull a player off the field like this, I’d argue the player isn’t being punished as much as the fans that paid to see him play. But Bob Watson has, in his warped sense of justice, sent a message to the league. We’re looking forward to Sexson’s reply.