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Ah, personal responsibility

Posted Sep 8, 2009 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Sep 8, 2009 at 09:11 PM

NEW YORK—It’s nice to hear Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski “cannot condone” Fernando Rodney throwing the ball into the press box at Tropicana Field last week. What’s not so nice is the way the Tigers have responded to the entire situation, with Dombrowski today all but blaming St. Pete Times reporter Marc Topkin for the three-game suspension MLB handed down to Rodney today.

Dombrowski told reporters in Kansas City this afternoon that he believed a letter Topkin sent in his capacity as president of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America informing MLB of the postgame incident played a “strong” factor in the league’s disciplinary decision.

“What bothers me — and, again, I don’t condone what happened — was that a lot of it was driven by the letter,” Dombrowski said, according to the Associated Press. “He didn’t think that Rodney was at all sorry or remorseful. I know Fernando and I know he was remorseful when I spoke to him. He was very, very sorry and it’s a shame. He wrote the letter and I wish he would have spoken to me beforehand.

“I do know that without the letter being written, the suspension wouldn’t been strong and I don’t know that there would be a suspension.”

OK, here’s the thing: MLB—specifically, discipline czar Bob Watson—made the decision to suspend Rodney. No one else.

I don’t think the humble local chapter of the BBWAA would have stormed MLB’s offices in anger if Rodney hadn’t been disciplined, and I’m quite certain no one at MLB should have given a second thought to the opinions of a bunch of scribes who were unpleasantly surprised to find a baseball ricocheting around their laptops while typing away furiously on deadline Friday night.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again that Rodney chucking the ball—and you can see on the video here that he didn’t merely “toss” it, as Tigers manager Jim Leyland disingenuously implied the other day—was a foolish and dangerous thing to do, and he should be thankful it didn’t go in the stands or hit anyone. But my opinion didn’t get Rodney suspended any more than Topkin’s letter did.

Recklessly throwing a ball without regard to who or what it might hit got him suspended.

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