Welcome to Saturday Scorecard, where our goal today is to provide refuge from endless reports about cream puffs and food on a stick. We like the Wisconsin State Fair, too, but gee whiz....
On to the notes...
Royal ruling: It's sometimes tough to figure out how Major League Baseball comes to decisions on discipline. It's a subjective process. Bob Watson weighs all the evidence and renders his verdict. In most cases, he does a pretty solid job.
But, I can't believe Prince Fielder didn't get suspended for his actions earlier this week at Dodger Stadium.
Now, before you get all huffy and start typing a Talkback to tell me I'm an idiot, hear me out.
Fielder received an undisclosed fine for his actions, but I can't believe he didn't get suspended, because I really can't believe that Dodgers pitcher Guillermo Mota and manager Joe Torre weren't suspended.
The bizarre thing about this case, I think, is that Watson realized that he couldn't suspend Mota and Torre -- even though they deserved it -- without penalizing Fielder, too.
For those who were camping, out of the country or otherwise out of touch, here is the Cliff's Notes version of what happened: The Dodgers were pounding the Brewers Tuesday night, on the way to a lopsided 17-4 victory, when Brewers reliever Chris Smith nicked Los Angeles slugger Manny Ramirez with an inside pitch. Ramirez wasn't hurt. He took first base without incident.
The incident came later.
With two out in the top of the ninth inning and the game tantalizingly close to ending, Mota -- who played with the Brewers last season -- drilled Fielder in the right thigh with a fastball.
Fielder went down. He looked stunned. Mota was ejected by the home plate umpire, who obviously thought the plunking was intentional, and headed toward the home dugout. Torre ventured onto the field for an explanation, but he didn't protest. Strangely, he had another reliever ready in the bullpen. Then again, maybe that wasn't so strange, since Dodgers catcher Russell Martin later admitted -- or at least strongly hinted -- that the plunking was purposeful.
When the game ended, Fielder stood on the field for awhile, tore up the tunnel, ran through the visitor's clubhouse and a concourse area and got to the front door of the Dodgers clubhouse before security workers and his teammates stopped him from doing something unprecedented and stupid.
Order was restored. Highlights of Fielder's excursion received heavy airplay on the highlight shows, but the next game went on without incident. Watson announced his decision on Thursday not to suspend anyone. Basically, he figured it was a case of "no harm, no foul."
The Brewers and Dodgers won't face each other again this year (unless the Brewers somehow rise up and qualify for the postseason). Fielder wasn't hurt. Mota had the sense to hit him below the waist, which is more acceptable and far less dangerous than a pitch delivered at shoulder height.
The Dodgers were sending a message with Mota's pitch. The Brewers, however, weren't the recipient. That was Ramirez, who called out his pitching staff for not "protecting" Dodgers hitters in the playoffs last year and also went into a lengthy (for him, anyway) slump after being hit by a pitch on the hand just a few weeks ago.
The Dodgers wanted to show their big slugger that they "have his back." They did it by drilling Fielder in the final meaningless moments of a game that had long since been decided.
Given the standard of discipline in the major leagues and Martin's admissions, Mota should have been suspended for a game or two and Torre should have received a penalty, too.
I think that's exactly what would have happened -- had Fielder not taken his mad dash toward Dodgerville.
Fielder didn't really do anything wrong until he sprinted toward the enemy enclave. A lot of "old school" analysts think he should have charged Mota on the field, but that would have resulted in a mini-vacation, too.
Let's get to the bottom line -- Fielder is the champion of the Home Run Derby. He's an emerging star. Watson didn't want to "make an example" of him. But, there was simply no way to justify suspending Mota and Torre when Fielder's post-game transgression was more egregious.
Fielder ran through an area filled with fans, presumably including some kids (though many had exited because of the score) and reportedly screamed an obscenity while teammates restrained him and guided him back to the clubhouse.
The outburst, part of which was captured by TV cameras, is not the kind of family-friendly conduct Major League Baseball condones. In an interview with veteran Journal Sentinel baseball writer Tom Haudricourt Friday afternoon in Houston, Fielder admitted that he acted inappropriately.
"I don't feel I over-reacted (to being thrown at), but I feel like my actions probably weren't the best," Fielder said in a story published Saturday.
"I know there are better ways of handling it. I've learned from it. If I had it to do over again, I would have acted differently. But it happened and it's over with and I'm ready to play baseball."
Fielder has played a lot of baseball already and has a lot more left to play. If he learned something from this episode and responds better next time, that's great.
In the meantime, though, I can't help thinking that maybe a suspension wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world for Prince.
The season is heading into the dog days and he is the only Milwaukee player to participate in every game. Manager Ken Macha doesn't have a solid backup or a strong enough offense to give Fielder a day off. A suspension would have forced him to do so, which may have left the big fella with fresher legs and a quicker bat upon his return.
Papi speaks: Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz held a press conference Saturday to deny using steroids. The players union contested a report that 104 players flunked survey testing in 2003, saying the number was 83 and that there were several disputed results.
Major League Baseball issued a statement on the mess:
"Major League Baseball does not possess the list of names and is unable to assess the accuracy of leaks relating to individual names. The continued leaks related to the 2003 survey test results are in direct violation of court orders.
"However, it should be pointed out that the names on the list, which was prepared by the federal government and not by anyone associated with our Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, are subject to uncertainties with regard to the test results. There are more names on the government list (104) than the maximum number of positives that were recorded under the 2003 program (96). And, as the Mitchell Report made clear, some of the 96 positives were contested by the union.
"Given the uncertainties inherent in the list, we urge the press and the public to use caution in reaching conclusions based on leaks of names, particularly from sources whose identities are not revealed."
In other words, don't expect a speedy end to this story.
Larry King Lounge: Get the pork rinds ready; only a few hours until the Packers Family Night scrimmage. Somebody be sure and tell B.J. Raji that camp is open ... Quick impressions from a day at Packers camp: Greg Jennings looks like a man on a mission; Brian Brohm looks confused, which is to say he's in midseason form; nobody seems too confident in either side of the kicking game ... Look for the Bucks to attempt that sign-and-trade that will send Ramon Sessions to the Clippers ... There are new people with high hopes in charge, but neither the Wave nor the Milwaukee Mile are out of the woods yet and time is running short. The same can be said for the former Greater Milwaukee Open ... What happened to Mark DiFelice?... Brewers catcher Jason Kendall entered Friday with the lowest slugging percentage in the major leagues among players with 3.1 plate appearances per game. That made his home run at Minute Maid Park even more jaw-dropping. By the way, J.J. Hardy entered the weekend series with the 10th-lowest slugging percentage in the majors ... Stop us if you've heard this one before: former Packers defensive lineman Gilbert Brown has agreed to coach an indoor team in La Crosse. Good luck, Gravedigger ... Word has it that the Marquette Golden Eagles have had some intense pickup games at the Al McGuire Center this summer and one of the standouts has been point guard Tony Miller, who played at MU from 1991-'95 ... Congratulations to former WSSP radio host Cliff Saunders, who has accepted a job at 101 ESPN in St. Louis ... Condolences to long-time friend Hal McCoy, the Hall of Fame baseball writer from the Dayton Daily News. The paper announced this week that it will no longer cover the Reds -- home or away -- next season, which effectively ends McCoy's brilliant career. There is no finer gentleman in baseball than McCoy. While much of the bad news springing from the newspaper business in recent years has landed like a gut punch, this was a solid kick a few inches lower.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.