Neither team escapes unscathed in brawl reaction

While Major League Baseball will ultimately decide via supplemental discipline who was wrong and who was right — if anyone — in Tuesday’s Diamondbacks-Dodgers brawl in L.A., plenty of external voices weighed in Wednesday.

Reports said further punishment for the brawl, which saw six players ejected, will be handed down Thursday. In the meantime, both sides got pretty scoldings from local and national media.

FOX Sports baseball columnist Ken Rosenthal left no one unscathed, calling the ordeal an instance of baseball’s retaliation “code on steroids.”

“Pretty much everyone was wrong, and not just a little wrong, either,” Rosenthal wrote.

Rosenthal criticized the Dodgers for misinterpreting D-backs pitcher Ian Kennedy’s intention in grazing Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig’s nose with a fastball, a pitch even Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday he thought just got away.

After poring over each thread of the brawl and criticizing others, Rosenthal concludes “No one was right, not on this crazy night.”

Both teams were the target of scorn in their own cities as well. Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke chided the last-place Dodgers for picking a misguided fight with the first place D-backs.

“The Dodgers have finally found something they are willing to fight for,” Plaschke wrote. “But on Tuesday night, it was the wrong thing.”

Plaschke too called into question the Dodgers’ interpretation of Kennedy’s pitch to Puig — “he was clearly not trying to hit him,” Plaschke contended. The fight will prove costly for the Dodgers, Plaschke said, and revealed a leadership void. He concluded with this:
“In hindsight they will hopefully realize that there are smarter ways to become a tough and tight team than by picking dumb fights.”

There seems to be no disagreement that Kennedy’s plunking of Puig was unintentional. But hitting Dodgers counterpart Zack Greinke? Different story.

Kennedy held that he did not mean to hit Greinke but rather send a message about Greinke’s plunking of Miguel Montero, which Kennedy felt was unjustified. But Kennedy’s pitch drew great criticism, including from Arizona Republic columnist Dan Bickley, who said “Kennedy should be ashamed.”

“At a time when head injuries are not to be trivialized, it appears that Kennedy purposely endangered a fellow player,”

Bickley defended Greinke’s hitting Montero in the back as fair, even if Kennedy didn’t mean to hit Puig, and echoed the prevailing opinion that the spat should have ended there.

As much as the D-backs and Dodgers pointed fingers at each other after Tuesday’s game, which the Dodgers won, so, too, did the baseball world point at both Wednesday. Thursday’s rulings will certainly elicit more discussion of the right and wrong in it all and the place of baseball’s unwritten “code.” But if there was any consensus Wednesday it seemed to be that both teams, individual players and coaches erred somewhere and the whole thing could have — and should have — been avoided.