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Jose Urena targeting Acuna Jr is unacceptable

Jose Urena hit Ronald Acuna Jr with the first pitch of the game

August 15, 2018 - 10:02 pm
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By Alex Woodward

Ronald Acuna Jr has been on fire recently and has emerged as the NL Rookie of the Year favorite. He had 8 homeruns in 8 games, he hit 5 straight homeruns in his first at bat of the game and 3 of those dingers came in the leadoff spot; making him the first player to do that since Brady Anderson in 1996 (4 straight). He had a chance to tie Brady Anderson tonight but not on Jose Urena's watch.

Acuna Jr has been jumping on the first pitch recently and Jose Urena decided that Acuna was going to have to take the first pitch....in his elbow. 

Not only did he hit him square, he hit him with everything he had:

This is nothing new in baseball. Pitchers hold grudges or decide they are going to end someone's hot streak by throwing some "sweet chin music". There is no doubt in my mind that Urena fully intended to hit him. All 3 of the games Acuna Jr hit a leadoff homerun came against the Marlins and this was in the finale of the four game series. It doesn't take a detective to determine intent. 

When Braves manager Brian Snitker comes out to defend his young star, Urena tosses the glove and stands as if he wants to fight the 62 year old Snitker. If this was a call from above by Don Mattingly, that's a malicious plan to stop a hitting streak. If Urena did this on his own he is also a mad man. Baseball is such a weird sport when it comes to unwritten rules. Maybe Acuna Jr was celebrating too much with his leadoff homeruns? Maybe he did something in a previous at bat against Urena that rubbed him the wrong way. Whatever the reason, he was obviously targeting Acuna Jr and he didn't care about getting ejected. 

Baseball is the only sport that punishes you for doing well and having fun. Isn't that what they tell you the game is all about when you're in little league? "Keep your eye on the ball and most importantly, have fun out there." It's the complete opposite in the majors. Everyone is expected to go through a 162 game marathon of a season like robots. That's no fun. For crying out loud, David Bote felt the need to apologize for being happy after hitting a WALK OFF GRAND SLAM! 

The NFL has eased up on their celebration rules and the NBA has always featured showboating and trash talk. Baseball should allow more emotion in the game without fear of getting thrown at. If they want to get more ratings they should probably consider avoiding "baseball justice" which usually results in star players getting injured or suspended. Especially when you're just mad because a guy is owning you in the series. If this was a justified line of thinking, the Orioles should have hit Mookie Betts back in 2016 when he hit 9 homeruns with 21 RBI against them. 

The best way to stop a hot streak isn't by hitting the batter. It's by being better than him.

 

Oh by the way, the Marlins plan of ending the homerun streak has been foiled: 

 

 

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