Dellin Betances should not be suspended by Major League Baseball

Wow. On what seemed to be just another afternoon game in Detroit turned out to be one of if not the craziest game in 2017. There were eight total ejections and three bench clearings including the notorious Miguel Cabrera fight versus the Yankee catcher duo of Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez. With a plethora of suspensions and fines likely on the way, there is one player in particular who should not have to miss a game under any circumstances, Dellin Betances.
Photo Credit: AP 
Dellin Betances came into pitch in the seventh inning, because Aroldis Chapman had to be pinch-hit for due to the Yankees losing their DH, as a result of Austin Romine’s ejection. His arrival into the ballgame came promptly after the Yankees rallied to tie the game at six runs apiece. His first pitch against Detroit catcher, James McCann, was on the outside half for strike one. The next pitch, as everyone who is reading this probably already knows, plunked McCann in the head.

There were words and a bench clearing from both sides, but nothing to the extent of the earlier brawl occurred. After the umpiring crew and Tigers’ staff checked on McCann, Betances was promptly notified that he had been tossed to his dismay.

Was Betances trying to hit McCann? Absolutely not. His team is trying to win the division and just rallied from a three-run deficit to tie the game in the inning before. His first pitch was on the outer third of the plate and Sanchez’s target was down and in the middle of the plate for the pitch that got away from him. James McCann has been hitting well, but it makes zero sense for the Yankees’ best pitcher to hit a guy who he could easily overpower with his stuff. Anyone who has ever seen Betances pitched knows that he doesn’t even know where the ball is going to go half the time, when he releases it. The 0-1 fastball in a tied game got away from him in the worst possible scenario.

Due to the circumstances the umpires ejected Betances making David Robertson have to warm up on the field, which in my opinion, was the reason why he pitched poorly. If Dellin hits McCann with a breaking ball or in the foot, he doesn’t get ejected, and that cannot be argued against as Robertson did that exactly on an 0-2 count to John Hicks. Getting hit in the head is an extremely scary moment for anyone and should not be taken lightly, and due to the warnings already issued, Betances had to exit the field.
Photo Credit: AP
Now that the game is over, there should be zero further repercussions for the Yankee reliever. Anyone that knows baseball, which I would surely hope that Joe Torre and company do know, knows that Betances did not want to hit McCann, especially in the head. If the Yankees had any intentions of hitting another Tigers’ player it would have come if they had been losing by a lot, and it would not have been with their best relief pitcher on the mound.

With it clear that there was no intention, even mulling about the topic of Betances being suspended is completely impulsive and ignorant. Next thing you know hitters who line comebackers off the pitcher will be suspended or a fielder who rockets a throw off of a runner’s back will have to leave the field. While it may seem comical to compare these situations, there’s a common ground between them all, which is the lack of intention. However, this obvious lack of intention still blew right through some people’s minds including MLB Network Radio’s Casey Stern, who said Betances should be suspended for 15-20 games for his “actions.” Keep in mind that ten games is the longest suspension for any player involved in a fight since 2000.

In his postgame interview, Betances said hitting McCann was the "last thing he wanted to do" as his gameplay was to give the team two innings and give the offense a chance to win. He realized why he got ejected, but clearly expressed his lack of intention and disappointment in himself for letting the team down.

Joe Girardi nailed it in his press conference, when he said this whole situation could have been avoided if the umpires had warned Fulmer after he clearly hit Sanchez. Instead it led to arguably one of the craziest series of events in the history of a baseball game. Now that the umpires got it wrong, it is time for Major League Baseball to get it right and not suspend Dellin Betances.

Article by: Ryan Thoms


  1. Except that Fulmer did not clearly hit Sanchez. He was checked for finger numbness and control the inning before (something he has been on the DL for recently) and denied hitting Sanchez on purpose. If Girardi had not ordered Kahnle (who had recently hit Mikey Matook in the head) to throw behind Cabrera's head all of this could have been avoided. In my mind there is a possibility that Betances threw at McCann -- likely ordered from the dugout. First batter that he faced and the opposing hot hitting catcher (as you mention). As many beat writers said this is awful optics for Joe Torre (ex Yankees manager). It is pretty much open season to head hunt from here on out.


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