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Toss into Stands Costs Rodney Three Games

Remember when Fernando Rodney threw the baseball into the stands after finishing off his tortured save Friday night in Tampa? (You can see a video clip here.)

Maybe it wasn't that big a deal to those of us in Tiger Town because we were searching for oxygen or had just finished throwing something ourselves after Rodney gave up two hits, two walks, and two runs while almost blowing a huge win. Jim Leyland didn't seem too concerned about it, either.

Here's how's Marc Lancaster described the incident:

It wasn’t a toss, either—the ball whizzed into the press box, which is in the second deck behind home plate, and ricocheted hard off a table top. Nobody was hurt—a little less crowded in here tonight with all the football going on—but Rodney is damn lucky his spotty control didn’t lead to the plunking of some kid in the seats.

I thought Lancaster's reaction was overblown, though I admit I didn't see the play when it occurred. But apparently, his feelings were in line with how Major League Baseball viewed the situation.

Rodney has been suspended for three games for that toss. He'll also be fined an undisclosed amount. The suspension would take effect immediately, beginning with tonight's game in Kansas City. However, the Tigers say they intend to appeal.

But there is a precedent in MLB's decision, according to Jason Beck. Diamondbacks pitcher Chad Qualls was also suspended for three games and fined $3,000 when he threw a ball into the stands two years ago, when he pitched for the Astros. Qualls's appeal was denied.

I'm surprised at the penalty, though I certainly understand the potential danger in what Rodney did. That baseball could've struck anyone who wasn't looking or otherwise defenseless. It wasn't the same as tossing a ball to a fan hoping to get a souvenir. Rodney just whirled around and chucked that ball without much regard for where it was going. (Rodney says he "threw it to the right spot," whatever that means. I guess that means the press box.) It was an emotional reaction.

Thanks to those who posted this news in the comments of our last two posts. (This week's poll was well-timed, eh?) There's already been some reaction, but post your thoughts here. Was the suspension warranted in your mind or is MLB overreacting?