Martin Maldonado of the Milwaukee Brewers has been suspended five games and fined $US2,500 for his role in Sunday’s brawl with the Pittsburgh Pirates according to Buster Olney of ESPN.
If the goal is to deter baseball players from brawling and throwing punches, this is slap on the wrist is probably not going to help.
Maldonado came off the Brewers’ bench and threw a punch that left Travis Snider with a nasty-looking black eye.
In addition to the suspension and lost pay, Maldonado was also fined $US2,500.
In total, the punch cost Maldonado just $US16,200 and 3.1% of the regular season.
In the NHL, where fighting is part of the game, a player is automatically suspended ten games (12.2% of season) if he is the first player off the bench during an altercation and five games if he is the second.
In the NBA, a player is automatically suspended one game if they come off the bench during an altercation even if just to break up a fight. It is safe to assume the penalty would be much longer if the player came off the bench and landed a punch.
In 2006, Carmelo Anthony, then with the Nuggets, was suspended 15 games (18.3% of the season) for punching another player during a brawl. Two other players were suspended for ten games each.
In baseball, it is difficult to outlaw players from coming off the bench during a brawl because the defence has so many more players on the field. But if a player comes off the bench or from another part of the field and throws a punch, the penalty needs to be much more than five games and $US2,500.
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