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Code of Hammurabi? Meh.

Joe Girardi, Gene Monihan, Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch for the second time this week. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

An excerpt of the Code of Hammurabi, courtesy of Thinkquest:

Although it follows the practice of “an eye for an eye”, it does not allow for vigilante justice, but rather demands a trial by judges. It also glorifies acts of peace and justice done during Hammurabi’s rule.

What does this have to do with the Yankees? Alex Rodriguez got plunked in the sixth inning of today’s game after Curtis Granderson homered to make it 2-0. Much will be made of Alex Rodriguez getting plunked in the sixth inning after Curtis Granderson’s home run increased the Yankees’ lead to 2-0. There will be much ado because while Mitch Talbot was ejected immediately (wet mound conditions or not), yet again, the HBP went unanswered by a Yankees pitcher. The Yankees have had eight hit batsmen in the last five games. They’ve hit only one. The Boston Red Sox sent a message that teams can hit the Yankees’ batters without repercussion.

To date, despite Joe Girardi’s emphatic stance, the message has gained traction.

Columnists are clamoring for the Yankees to follow Girardi’s lead, to start showing some fight and “protect their own.” David Wells, who was patrolling the clubhouse on Saturday, told reporters the Yankees need to “grow some.”

Perhaps Talbot’s ejection led the Yankees to be more cautious in their retaliation strategy. But a passive-aggressive approach has been the Yankees’ stance for years. The recent beanball wars are reminiscent of 2003, when the Red Sox, more specifically Pedro Martinez, routinely hit Yankees batters, often without repercussion. On July 7 of that year, Pedro and Mike Mussina engaged in a classic pitchers’ duel. Martinez opened the game by hitting Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano on the hands, knocking them both out of the game. Mussina wouldn’t retaliate. Didn’t even buzz anyone. Fans were miffed. Writers were, too.

At the time, George Steinbrenner said of Martinez: “I don’t know what was going through his mind, but if it’s what it looked like, it’s not good. It’s not good for his team, not good for baseball.” Mussina’s response: “It was a situation that was pretty delicate. I think if I go inside to somebody, the umpire’s going to warn both benches. I didn’t want to lose half the plate. It’s a tough spot. You try to do what’s right. I’m not sure what anybody was thinking, but I felt I had to get guys out.” Not until Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, when Roger Clemens threw a fastball to the backstop with Manny Ramirez at the plate, igniting a bench-clearing brawl for the ages, did the Yankees exact revenge according to the common interpretation of Hammurabi’s Code.

If the code glorifies acts of peace and justice, then the Yankees are doing the right thing and should be applauded by being professional, acting above hitting Indians’ batters and winning the game. But do they have to hit someone to demonstrate protection? Pitch inside. Buzz someone. Make the batter uncomfortable. Move his feet. That could work.

Would the umpires allow the Yankees to pitch inside or buzz someone, or would they warn the benches immediately and put the pitchers in a bind, as Mussina feared? It’s a tough call. Joe Torre, who managed the Yankees in that 2003 game, now sits in the League Office and has jurisdiction over this exact issue. He also caught Bob Gibson, who you know full well would have given an opposing batter a shave by now if his teammates were getting hit at the rate the Yankees’ guys are. At what point will Torre get involved? Should he get involved?

It’s unlikely. The Yankees will do what they believe is right. But will they lose players as they consider the appropriate time to punch back?

Three solo home runs and a clutch RBI single by Jorge Posada in the seventh inning provided the scoring for the Yankees. The arms of Bartolo Colon, David Robertson and Boone Logan did the rest. The most important juncture of the game was the eighth inning. While it won’t go in the box score as a save, Robertson should get one for his yeoman effort. After allowing consecutive singles to start the inning, and then balking the runners over to second and third, respectively, his strikeouts of Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore preserved the shutout and pretty much ensured the Yankees would emerge victorious.

Robertson and Logan combined to allow just two hits and struck out four. Contrast that to Friday night, where in a blowout, mop-up scenario, Kevin Whelan and Lance Pendleton yielded five runs on five hits, and walked five. Their performance led Girardi to pull an “I have no other recourse” move, bringing in Mariano Rivera to end the losing streak.

Big Bart pulled up lame covering first base in the seventh inning. He had thrown just 83 pitches and was working on a two-hit shutout at the time of his exit. Given his age, weight, and conditioning (or lack thereof), Colon could be looking at a long stint on the disabled list. The only good news from this: if and when Phil Hughes returns, there’s no doubt where he’ll be slotted in the rotation.

Granderson’s home run was his 20th. Mark Teixeira’s was his 19th. YES Network’s announcers got homer happy. Ken Singleton brought up 1961, and that the recent home run barrage reminded him of that seminal year in Yankees history. Michael Kay mentioned that Maris had 20 home runs and Mantle 18 on this date 50 years ago. Please stop. Granderson and Teixeira are not Mantle and Maris. Moreover, the 2004 Yankees hold the team record for home runs in a season (242). Granted, they didn’t have two guys going shot for shot the way Granderson and Teixeira seem to be right now, but it’s worth noting that the ’04 group, not the ’61 group, is the most prolific Yankees team in that category.


1 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jun 12, 2011 5:28 am

It's ridiculous. You don't retaliate then you deserve to get hit. Show some damn pride, already!

2 RIYank   ~  Jun 12, 2011 7:09 am

I'm on Girardi's side.
Bartolo Colon is supposed to ruin Grady Sizemore's career because Fausto Carmona (or Mitch Talbott...) is an asshole? Maybe in the NL, where you can retaliate against the pitcher himself. Even then I don't like it -- one way in which baseball is superior to football is that in baseball you try to win but you don't try to hurt the opponent.

And [1] I don't agree that A-Rod and Teix deserve to get hit by fastballs. I don't think any baseball player does. I can't even imagine what you're thinking when you say something like that.

3 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jun 12, 2011 7:53 am

[2] No one is advocating ruining someone's career. Retaliation need not be a fastball to the head or hands. How about charging the mound, taking it straight to the pitcher? This is pretty clear cut to me. As long as the Yankees "take the high road" they will continue to get thrown at, is that not obvious by now?

If I'm Teix or A-Rod I'm letting the umpires and other team's managers know that the next one way inside is going to be met by a charge to the mound. Sometimes enough is enough.

4 ny2ca2dc   ~  Jun 12, 2011 8:03 am

3) charge the mound, seriously? What are the chances the mound charger does not get injured in the ensuing scrum? 50%? Come on. I'm fine with plunking a guy in the bum, but I'm mostly with RIYank

5 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jun 12, 2011 8:11 am

[4] Well, maybe I'm wrong. I don't know..seems to me that if guys are REPEATEDLY throwing at me intentionally and not ONE of my pitchers (other than CC) is following the unwritten baseball rules of retaliating..I mean, what else can you do? How many more times can they risk Teix or A-Rod getting hit?

Anyways, hopefully this all stops now. And that I wake up tomorrow to read about another win!

6 a.O   ~  Jun 12, 2011 10:47 am

It is definitely time for MLB to get involved ... if they don't want the Yanks to start retaliating. Jazz is right -- What other choice do the Yanks have? Everyone has the right to defend themselves, and if the cops (MLB) don't step in, the only choices are to fight or hit back. Why should these guys have to accept continuing to get hit? It's just not fair. In fact, this is one of the main reasons the league's disciplinary structure exists -- to make sure these things don't escalate too far.

7 MSM35   ~  Jun 12, 2011 10:53 am

I find it amusing that we fans so bravely advocate payback. I heard a particular talk show person doing the same thing. Let the players and the umpires do their job. We are neither throwing nor standing in front of a "speedball" to quote the real Boss.

8 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 12, 2011 11:19 am

How about this then: if a player is injured as the result of a HBP and has to go on the DL, the pitcher is subsequently tossed from the game and suspended for the duration of the injured player's length of time on the DL up to 15 days. I want the Yankee players to show more spirit than they have been showing too, but then I want the league to do their job first. I agree with Jazz that taking the high road can only go so far before it becomes impractical because of injuries, and may I also say that we should not be looking to the Yanks or any other team for high moral imperatives in a game that allows conflicts of those morals.

9 Just Fair   ~  Jun 12, 2011 12:08 pm

It's pathetic that the only time I can reall payback withing the last 10 years is CC's well placed 97 mph heater to Ortiz's ribs the other night. That was beautiful. I guess Nova buzzed Ugly a few times last year. That was nice. When Ramirez flipped out over Clemens his pitch was high but over the goddamn plate. I agree with Wells. Grow some balls. Today. Throw at someone's waste or below. I seriously doubt the Yankees hitters resspect the "high road' their pitchers are taking. It's horsehit. The routine plunking of Yanees hitters by the Red Sox for 10 years with the good guy pitchers doing nothing was bollocks.

10 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 12, 2011 12:59 pm


"Big Bart pulled up lame covering first base in the seventh inning. He had thrown just 83 pitches and was working on a two-hit shutout at the time of his exit. Given his age, weight, and conditioning"

I swear to God, I read, "given his ass, weight, and conditioning..."


11 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jun 12, 2011 1:04 pm

I have to agree with OK. While I'm deeply sympathetic to the high road position and I'm not a vengeful person, enough is enough already. You don't have to even hit anyone, as has been pointed out, you just have to intimidate them. Make them uncomfortable, move their feet, and yes, plunk them on the ass. Something, for Christ's sake!

Enough is enough.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver