Although it’s not our favorite part of the game, retaliation is a big part of baseball. If you run into a particularly old-school team while refusing to follow the unwritten rules (which were, incidentally, written down by Goose Gossage recently) you might expect a fastball in the middle of your back sometime soon.
But why is retaliation always one-sided?
Obviously, pitchers have the advantage, because they so routinely throw a small cannon ball in a hitter’s general direction every few minutes or so, but the batters aren’t exactly up there unarmed either … or at least, that’s what this one Korean baseball player realized as he “accidentally” let go of his bat after a pitch that he considered a bit too high and tight:
But it’s not the first time we’ve seen this seemingly unique type of retaliation. Back in 2002, Ryan Rupe, a Devil Rays reliever, intentionally hit both Nomar Garciaparra and Shea Hillenbrand with pitches, just before Trot Nixon retaliated by throwing his bat right back at the mound:
But wait! There’s more!
Manny Machado did the same thing against the Oakland A’s, when he considered a pitch from Fernando Abad to be a little too close to home, if you know what I mean:
Last July, I got a chance to ask former Cubs catcher John Baker about his thoughts on retaliation in baseball, and it was a pretty illuminating experience. But despite all of the questions, comments, and stories, I never heard what the strategy is when the batter bites back.
The pitchers are going to start wearing helmets!