BOSTON —Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster was suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally hitting controversial slugger Alex Rodriguez with a pitch last weekend. The suspension comes without pay, but does include a gift basket and personal thank you note from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
“Mr. Dempster’s action Sunday was incredibly reckless and could have seriously injured Mr. Rodriguez,” read a press release from the Office of the Commissioner. “I feel the appropriate response to this behavior is to suspend Dempster five games without pay and to provide him with a collection of fine wine and cheeses which I trust he will thoroughly enjoy. Hopefully others will take note of the severity of this suspension and consider their actions when Mr. Rodriguez returns to the line-up.”
Rodriguez, who is currently appealing a record 211-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy, could not be reached for comment, but Selig’s press release emphasized that Dempster’s punishment and thoughtful gift arose from special circumstances surrounding his actions, and should not be construed by other pitchers as an invitation to start throwing at just any players they may face in the batter’s box. “Unless, of course, said batter is dragging the name of Major League Baseball through the mud. In which case, they should use their own judgment.”
A memo was reportedly sent out to every team due to face Rodriguez’s Yankees during the remainder of the season emphasizing that Major League Baseball officially discourages the practice of “head hunting.” The memo also included a convenieint mail-in form where pitchers could indicate what sort of gift basket they would most enjoy, just in case.