Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Anger Management

As I was returning from the golf driving range yesterday I heard the ESPN radio guys John Seibel and Orestes Destrade discussing the Danica Patrick outburst over the weekend. The discussion brought up an interesting point about fighting in sports. Does fighting belong in sports? Well, short of MMA and Boxing, probably not. One listener made an interesting point – fighting is not allowed in regular society so why should athletes be held to a different standard? Orestes noted that fights are a part of baseball, period. John Seibel echoed this, stating that his high school coach basically said the same. He told of a team discussion where the coach instructed the boys that they were never allowed to run out to the mound. But, if he asked them to do so, they better run out to the mound. This coach was basically informing high school boys that there are certain instances where violence is fine.

This also begs the question about the “fighting tradition” in the NHL. Should fights be allowed in some sports and not others? Where is it acceptable? Is it acceptable?

Over the years, there have been several instances of tempers flaring in the sports world. Some just in baseball have been:

George Brett and the Pine Tar Incident: On July 24, 1983, George Brett completely lost his cool when his home run was called back due to the amount of pine tar he had on his bat. At the time, only 18 inches of the bat was allowed to be covered and his apparently had more than that. In the end, baseball’s powers that be ruled that the bat should have been removed and not the home run so the tantrum was totally unnecessary. Brett even noted that he should have kept his cool.

Pedro Martinez vs. Don Zimmer: In Game 3 of the ALCS in 2003, Martinez threw a pitch near the head of Karim Garcia. The ump gave Garcia 1st, saying the ball hit him in the back. Garcia then ran to second base with Alfonso Soriano at bat and ran into Todd Walker, 2nd baseman. The two pushed each other a few times and the benches ended up clearing. Don Zimmer approached Martinez and Pedro simply pushed him over. Certainly Zimmer’s age made him easy to bully (72). This one was on SportsCenter highlights for weeks.

Of course there have been many more. Personally, I’ve found that keeping a cool head is the way to go. If you can bite your tongue and hold your temper there are usually no regrets and nothing that follows you around forever. Letting the other person yell themselves out has worked rather well in many situations.

Would Danica have tried to actually fight the other driver had she not been stopped? Was she just going to tell him off? No one will know for sure since it didn’t play out.

What do you think about fighting in sports other than MMA and Boxing?


Lindsay said...

Fighting shouldn't be allowed, and there should be bigger penalties. With that said, though, the fans usually enjoy seeing a fight or seeing one player lose his or her temper. Still, it sets a bad example.

Apryl DeLancey said...

Yeah, it does set a bad example!