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Beckett's suspension: too harsh or not enough?

Suspended six

I'm having a hard time getting my mind around the fact that Josh Beckett was suspended for six games following the near-beaning thing on Sunday. Yes, Beckett acted immaturely in barking at Abreu after the fact, but it's not like anyone was actually plunked. No punches were thrown and given how awkward it likely is to halt a pitch after winding up, it's questionable as to whether the location of the pitch was even intentional. Moreover, given that Beckett wasn't even ejected following the incident, the imposition of the suspension seems somewhat extreme.

But not extreme enough for some. In a column headlined "Boston's Beckett deserves more than a suspension," OC Register writer Mark Saxson says:

Context is everything. Beckett couldn't have picked a worse time to puff up his chest and spew that kind of macho nonsense . . . Two days before that pitch "slipped," Beckett had joined his Boston Red Sox teammates lining up along the first-base line in a show of fundamental human decency as the Angels marked the shocking death of 22-year-old pitcher Nick Adenhart. Across the field from Beckett, tears were rolling down Mike Scioscia's face.

Saxson spends most of the rest of the column lamenting the fact that, due to the DH, the Angels can't exact any revenge directly at Beckett the next time they face one another. That's always an interesting conversation, but I'm more taken with the idea that Saxson -- or at least his editors at the Register -- believes that the death of Nick Adenhart has a legitimate place to play in disciplinary decisions.

If the situation was reversed, would Saxson be arguing that, say, Jered Weaver should not be disciplined at all due to his heavy heart? Maybe such a thing would actually be true, but it isn't any basis on which to premise disciplinary decisions. I don't intend to diminish the loss of Adenhart, but at any given time there are players and teams experiencing any amount of off-the-field distractions, and if we truly want to allow that sort of thing become a part of discipline czar Bob Watson's analysis, the system of imposing suspensions and fines would become cumbersome indeed.

More generally, the Angels cannot allow this season to be about Nick Adenhart to the exclusion of all other things. Grief can be an all-consuming thing, but it can also quickly become a crutch and then a handicap. Again, with all due respect to the memory of Nick Adenhart and the emotions of his teammates, the Angels have a job to do, and that's to figure out who among them can help out their beleaguered rotation, right the ship, and figure out how to catch up to the Mariners.

You may think such a sentiment is insensitive. I tend to think it's the sort of thing Nick Adenhart would want his teammates to do.