To Bean or Not to Bean?
In watching the St. Louis Cardinals last night (huge fan) a scenario happened in last night's game that has always made me think... The Cardinals' superstar, Albert Pujols, was thrown a fastball high and tight that caught him on the hand, and nearly in the face. In retaliation, the next inning, the Cardinals' pitcher, Jason Motte, drilled one of the Brewers' best hitters with a 96 mph fastball in the middle of the back. This is the honor code of baseball, one of the unwritten rules that makes the game great - Old Testament justice - eye for an eye. You hit one of our best players, we will hit one of yours. This unwritten rule actually prevents a lot of people from getting hurt, because the thought of retaliation makes the pitchers be a little more careful about those high/inside fastballs that have shattered many a face and killed more than one.
In baseball terms, particularly in last night's game, this had to be done. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, the Cardinals are chasing the Brewers for the pennant. The Brewers have had their way with the Cardinals on the field this season, and the Cardinals needed to send a message, "You can't push us around." In the end, the Cardinals won last night's game in 11 innings. It was a fantastic, exciting game with lots of twists and turns. The kind of game that can define a season.
But the question I have lies in a Christian's role in such antics. Is it wrong for a Christian pitcher to purposely bean someone with a baseball?
Furthermore, on occasion, a batter may charge the mound after he's been hit to personally show the pitcher he won't be bullied. (The most infamous charging of the mound in baseball history is shown in the video above - 23 year-old Robin Ventura charging 46 year-old Nolan Ryan. The old cowboy gets him in a headlock and pounds some sense into him.)
One of the most vicious beat downs of a pitcher I've ever seen was Mike Sweeney of the Royals (built like an NFL tight end) chasing down Jeff Weaver in the early 90's (he caught him out by the SS position) and beating the stuffing out of him. Sweeney was an outspoken Christian, and actually a youth pastor in a KC church. He immediately apologized to his church youth, and later would call Weaver and ask his forgiveness as well.
So what do you think baseball fans? Is it wrong for a Christian athlete to be involved in a bean ball war? Is it sin, or just an understood part of the game? Would your opinion of Pujols (an outspoken Christian and Southern Baptist) be lowered if he charged the mound?