Adjust Font Size: A A       Guest settings   Register

Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki

Discussion in the NPB News forum
Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
This happened last night during the game between Orix and Lotte. Greg LaRocca was hit for the 20th time this season, breaking the franchise record of 19 set by Ichiro back in 1995. Naoyuki Shimizu was on the mound for Lotte and drilled LaRocca on the arm. LaRocca really doesn't stand over the plate, so you have to wonder why he's hit so much. Any Orix fans want to analyze this? I know Mike Kinkade, who played for Hanshin a few years back, loved leaning into pitches in order to get on base. This habit eventually led to him getting a fastball to the head.

So anyway, LaRocca was not happy with the HBP. Tuffy then goes up and gets a high inside fastball. He exchanges words with Satozaki, eventually pushing Satozaki to the ground and throwing a couple left-handed jabs at his head before the benches clear and the two are separated.

Tuffy and a couple coaches eventually get tossed, which leads to Tuffy's record breaking 11th career ejection. I can understand sticking up for your teammate on this one, especially when it's the injury prone guy who's getting on base to help your RBI total. I do, however, believe that Orix gaikokujin need to be very careful. I've seen a few plays from Chad Allen this season that definitely warrant a few high inside fastballs. Could you imagine what would happen to a player in the majors if they did something like that?
Comments
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jul 18, 2007 12:39 PM | HAN Fan ]

I don't see why Tuffy Rhodes should have reacted the way he did. He wasn't even hit, and if LaRocca didn't make an issue of it, it was none of his business. As I mentioned in another thread a long time ago, this is the sort of thing you should ignore.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: BigManZam | Posted: Jul 18, 2007 2:33 PM | CLM Fan ]

LaRocca was clearly angry when he got hit. What I find funny is that all these suketto fights happen when guys don't get hit.

Are there any current Pedro Martinez type headhunters in NPB right now? I know that Higashio was notorious for headhunting back in the golden age of the Seibu Lions. There's a clip floating around of him beaning Ochiai in the head, then Ochiai proceeds to hit a liner right back at his face in the very next at bat.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Jul 19, 2007 10:52 AM ]

- He wasn't even hit, and if LaRocca didn't make an issue of it, it was none of his business.

You must have played golf, singles tennis, or no team sport at all to make a comment like that. Sure it's his business when a teammate is hit and he (the next batter) is nearly hit, particularly at the professional level. Pro pitchers typically have very good command of their pitches, thus when this happens, the victimized player's teammates should react to it. Also, you don't know what may have been said on the field.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Jul 19, 2007 12:20 PM | SFT Fan ]

- [...] the victimized player's teammates should react to it. Also, you don't know what may have been said on the field.

What, again, is punching the catcher going to solve? Also, what is it with the attitude that punching or charging the mound acceptable?
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jul 19, 2007 12:52 PM | HAN Fan ]

- Pro pitchers typically have very good command of their pitches, thus when this happens, the victimized player's teammates should react to it.

Not all the time. Pro pitchers often lose control of their pitches for many reasons. Why do you think there are so many walks. It was none of his business and anyone who plays team sports knows that you do not try and start fights but stop them. That is the only way to play a team sport properly.

- Also, you don't know what may have been said on the field.

Totally irrelevant. It does not justify his behavior.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Michael | Posted: Jul 19, 2007 11:10 AM | CLM Fan ]

This [YouTube] is the 10 minute portion of the broadcast with the actual events.

It starts with LaRocca trying to clip Shimizu covering first before Rhodes' at bat. The pitch to Rhodes was at his belt and he easily avoided it, it didn't seem like Shimizu was trying to hit him with that pitch. The broadcast was coving Orix's dugout when the fight breaks out, so it does not show if Satozaki said something that sparked the fight.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest: Phil A | Posted: Mar 12, 2011 4:07 AM ]

[Old thread warning]

Larocca is a black belt in Tai Kwan Do and a High School Wrestling champion, so I wouldn't mess with him!
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Jul 19, 2007 12:18 PM ]

Maybe Rhodes was standing up for LaRocca because LaRocca hasn't done it himself.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jul 19, 2007 5:06 PM | HAN Fan ]

What are you talking about? If LaRocca chose to do nothing then it is not up to Rhodes to do something? Team sports do not revolve around vengeance for slights imagined or otherwise. As it appeared in the clip, LaRocca had already taken his revenge, so there was even less justification for Rhodes. The whole affair stinks of stupidity and mean spiritedness.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: grejii | Posted: Jul 20, 2007 3:36 PM ]

Unfortunate fact of the game is that pitchers throw at batters. It is a regular thing, either to just move the batter back from the plate to set up pitches while the batter is off-balanced, or maybe straight over to top to hit the guy. More than one big league pitcher has said in private, why make four or more pitches, pitching around a batter, when you can stick one in his gullet, he goes to first and you've only used one pitch.

Tuffy is a regular target because he takes the big power stride into the ball looking for Los Angeles. Having said that, if for example in this case, the Orix pitcher hasn't come back at the opposing batters to show "you can't throw at my guys, cause I'll get yours," then the gates are open.

Tuffy popped the catcher because, regardless of whether or not the sign comes from the bench, it is the catcher that calls for the one to loosen up your ear wax. Also, it is the catcher's job to intercept any batter headed for the mound with thoughts of malice.

I've tipped a couple with Tuffy at Legends and I'm not sure I would have wanted to be in Satozaki's spikes then.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jul 21, 2007 11:29 AM | HAN Fan ]

This is all very interesting, but once again irrelevant. What matters is that Rhodes was wrong. He over-reacted and in a stupid way. There can be no justification for what he did, just as there can be no justification for a pitcher hitting a batter deliberately (Jason Johnson stands out as a recent example). No amount of explanation will change this simple truth.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: grejii | Posted: Jul 21, 2007 5:59 PM ]

- This is all very interesting, but once again irrelevant. What matters is that Rhodes was wrong. He over-reacted and in a stupid way.

It is relevant. Pitchers should not throw at batters, fact, but, they do, also fact. Catchers call for brush backs all the time. Rhodes was probably wrong, but he made his statement. You throw at me and someone besides me can get hurt! Sportsmanship is great for little league and school leagues, but these people are pros and their livelihood depends on being able to play and win. This puts a different view on events and plays from the way they see it, and from how we as fans perceive it from the stands.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jul 21, 2007 8:56 PM | HAN Fan ]

So Rhodes made his statement? A statement which made him look like a vicious idiot. You fail to understand that sportsmanship does not stop at amateur levels but continues throughout a career. Certainly you compete hard, but you channel your aggression into usable courses. What did Rhodes accomplish for his team by his actions? Nothing. Did it help his team win? No. Keep this in mind before you try and explain the indefensible.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Jul 19, 2007 12:15 PM ]

What was wrong with this play? It was heads up base running. Nobody was paying attention so he took the base and Soyogi definitely wasn't paying attention as he was standing there not paying attention as well in the baseline. That is what you get for not paying attention. That was good baseball.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Jul 22, 2007 5:15 AM ]

I totally agree, grejii.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: okikibi | Posted: Jul 22, 2007 1:06 PM ]

To say that this is not team baseball is wrong. Read "The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed" by J.C. Bradbury. It explains incidents like this. Satozaki and Tuffy had a verbal exchange before Tuffy got rough. Rhodes can speak the language, so something must have been said to send him over the edge. We will never know unless Rhodes tells all.

In the end, it is the manager that makes these types of calls. With both teams having managers from the States that have had a history of this in the past, this incident is no surprise. Also, as the book states, you have to look at the role of the DH being used in these cases. With the pitcher not being able to hit, the revenge has to come from somewhere else.

Some may say that this does not justify violence. I say teams and players must protect themselves somehow. Pitches thrown with a purpose have the ability to end a player's career. If there is no retribution or threat of retribution, players will be lost to injuries more often. It is how the game has been played and will continued to be played. I don't like to see these types of incidents, but if they happen it doesn't bother me. It is part of the game.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jul 22, 2007 6:56 PM | HAN Fan ]

This is the main delusion - that somehow a violent response is justified. In sports such as boxing, K1, and Pride, yes, it is because this is the essence of such sports. In sports such as baseball it is never justified because the essence of the sport is not about violence. Rules are formulated to exclude violence. Whilst they may be imperfect they recognize that this is not a part of the game. In other threads I have cited the example of cricket, a sport in which it is possible to be hit by a ball. Here there is no violent response to intimidatory bowling (read pitching) and players just get on with the game. All attempts to justify violence in baseball fail to understand the essential nature of the sport. A player who is violent demonstrates an immature response, as does an individual who defends such action.

I am sorry but that is just the way it is. If a pitch is dangerous get out of the way or wear protection. Retaliation is never the way to go, and it just ends up degrading the individual who retaliates because it makes him look wrong.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jul 22, 2007 9:43 PM | YBS Fan ]

Once again we've hit a stale mate on a heated issue and are going in circles with neither side able to articulate anything to convince the other. The issue of whether or not violence in any context can be justified will not be resolved here. The way I see it this is more of a cultural issue than a moral issue (not that moral issues are any easier to resolve).

On the one hand, people who grew up watching MLB don't find Rhodes' behavior out of line. They may not generally condone violence, but this is just part of the game. Cause and effect are very clear. Besides that, Hollywood had drilled it into generations that an eye for an eye (by rouge cop or mercenary) is always justifiable, regardless of collateral damage. No one from such a culture would dare question the right for the batter to physically express his feelings about a brush back pitch after being hit himself or a team mate.

On the other hand you have people who have grown up in safe environments, not exposed to rouge cop violence on prime time TV on a daily basis. Others may have been bullied when younger and would like to see the end of senseless violence altogether.

Please, no more value judgments. As crystal clear as this issue is to those on one side of this issue, it's just as clear to those on the other side. No amount of arguing is going to change deep rooted cultural differences.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest: Ex Player | Posted: Aug 3, 2007 9:00 AM ]

Christopher, I appreciate your pacifism, but in the world of professional sports it is completely off base.

Obviously you have never stood in against a pitcher throwing mid nineties with a slider that starts at your head let alone seen the clip of Bo Jackson plowing Rick Dempsey into the on deck circle. While it isn't as consistently or directly as violent as say football or as you put it K1, fear plays a huge part in all sports. A player's season or career could end on any pitch, be it a blow to the hand or head, a hard slide at second or home, running into a wall, etc.

As to it helping his team, if Tuffy or any other Buffalo player feels more comfortable stepping into the box because he showed he won't stand for being thrown at, then it helps the team. Psychology plays a huge part in baseball.

In everyday life, I appreciate your sportsmanship and pacifism, but in sport where fear and intimidation often are the difference between winning and loosing (yes including yakyu) those same principles cannot be applied. To think otherwise, is naive.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Aug 3, 2007 10:40 AM | HAN Fan ]

Unfortunately this is an important issue which impacts on a wider field than just professional sport. Like it or not how a professional sportsman conducts himself impacts all other sporting activities - others copy the highest level.

A lot has been made of the career ending dangers of dangerous balls and I acknowledge that this is a serious risk, but no one is obliged to take them. You have the option of choosing a different career. If the risks concern you work to eliminate them within the rules or wear more protection. Sport always has dangers and this is part of the excitement and challenge, but there are ways of going about things - retaliation is not one of them. Furthermore, sport is about overcoming challenges and triumphing despite the intimidation or barriers.

Now a final question - professional baseball players have been retaliating for many, many years but these balls are still being thrown. Why advocate something that doesn't work? Why not look at working to eliminate the problem properly?

The belief that somehow sport has different rules to the rest of society is misplaced and needs to be treated in that light.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest: Ex Player | Posted: Aug 4, 2007 10:52 AM ]

Reviewing that specific incident, it was more about whatever Satozaki said than the pitch. Same issue - respect.

If you don't believe respect and intimidation are important in sport (see Nolan Ryan, Dick Butkus, Bonds, Oh, or any other great athletes' career) I agree with the previous poster and don't believe we'll see eye to eye. It is fun to debate though.

Respect and intimidation are psychological and sports are psychological. To your question, "Why advocate something that didn't work?" How do you know if Tuffy's actions did or didn't work? It is immeasurable and isn't about stopping pitchers from throwing at hitters. That will never happen. Question: Why would a pitcher throw at and hit a batter thereby intentionally putting him on base? Answer: To intimidate the other hitters. It goes both ways.

As long as a pitcher has a ball in his hand he has the opportunity to throw it at a batter, he needs to realize that may come with a physical reaction or worse, he may spark a sleeping dog if you will. That is the essence of sport and competition.

"Choose another career?" Come on. That's the beauty. Same reason Tiger doesn't talk to some of his playing partners. To make them uncomfortable. Playing for pay checks is different than playing with your buddies.

Why do catcher's try and frame pitches they know are balls? If a runner from second can decipher signs, should he not relay them to the batter? The whole "sport is a microcosm of society" just doesn't work.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Aug 4, 2007 2:17 PM | HAN Fan ]

Perhaps a mention of the follow up to the incident will help. This happened in the second All Star game.

Nishioka of the Marines was the first batter for the Pacific League, followed by LaRocca and Rhodes. Uehara, the Central League pitcher, walks Nishioka and then deliberately hits LaRocca with a soft pitch. As Rhodes comes up to the plate Abe says, "Please don't hit me, I'm not Satozaka." It was an elaborate joke with Rhodes as its butt. This does not indicate that Rhodes has earned any respect out of the incident.

Certainly batters feel that they are justified in retaliating (given however that Rhodes was a drastic over-reaction), but this is not a valid reaction as it doesn't stop them being hit.

Taking further examples, Zuletta (when he was with Hawks) and Woods (Dragons) both reacted violently to being hit on inside pitches. The results - Zuletta was hit again by a pitch thrown by the very same team and pitchers continue to throw inside pitches to Woods. Their reactions did nothing except earn them punishments. This is the case with the Rhodes incident.

If you are advocating that pitchers who hit batters should receive stiffer penalties then I would be with you 100%, but I cannot agree that batters should retaliate for two reasons. Firstly, it doesn't work and all it does is reveal a weakness of the batter that can be exploited; and secondly, on moral grounds it cannot be considered acceptable. The essence of sport to my mind is to channel your aggression and ability to beat the opponent within the rules of your chosen sport.

Furthermore, not all hit batsmen are intentional - some are accidents. No pitcher can achieve complete control, and some are worse than others. Are you advocating that an accident is a good reason to hit someone?

Of course some pitchers hit batters to intimidate, but the way to deal with them is to refuse to be intimidated and do your best to hit the ball out of the park. It is also more satisfying because, as a sportsman, you have beaten your opponent and shown that he cannot intimidate you.

I used to play a lot of cricket and received a fair share of intimidatory bowling. The best way to deal with the situation is to hit the next ball back over the bowler's head (which is something most bowlers of my acquaintance hate). If you react with violence you do show you have been intimidated and you lose - not the pitcher.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: BigManZam | Posted: Aug 5, 2007 3:26 AM | CLM Fan ]

I'd like to point out that the single season record holder for most HBP was set by Jeremy Powell in his first year. I believe he hit 22 batters.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest: Texasman | Posted: Aug 5, 2007 1:07 PM ]

Christopher. Man, you are so missing the point. Check out the stats and find out how many times Rhodes and Woods have been hit by pitches this season. Go ahead and take a look. Throwing inside is one thing, but hitting batters is another. Anyway, it is all part of the game.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Aug 5, 2007 6:16 PM | HAN Fan ]

Rhodes wasn't hit by a pitch. What caused his reaction was a waist high inside ball which he avoided. And what was said to him by Satozaki seems to have been a dismissal of Rhodes' claim that the ball was dangerous.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest: Jay | Posted: Nov 3, 2007 11:12 PM ]

[Old thread warning!]

Grejii, you said,
Also, it is the catcher's job to intercept any batter headed for the mound with thoughts of malice.
It's the batter's job to dodge, not the catcher's job to intercept. If we're looking at a miss pitch, it's not possible for a catcher to go all the way to an undesirable target in that split second to move up forward to intercept the pitch.

Being HBP is part of the game, whether it's intentional or not. It's all in the pitcher's/catcher's integrity. No use hitting so well when you can't even stand HBP and display bad sportsmanship on the field.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: Guest: JR | Posted: Nov 4, 2007 4:14 PM ]

- It's the batter's job to dodge, not the catcher's job to intercept.

Jay, perhaps you misread the original posting. What the writer meant is that the catcher should stop the batter from running to the mound, not stop the pitch from hitting the batter. Indeed, the latter would be quite difficult!
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Punches Tomoya Satozaki
[ Author: supajap | Posted: Nov 25, 2007 6:04 AM ]

[Old thread warning.]

I noticed that few of you said this isn't the way team sports were meant to be played. (Sigh.) Sure it is! You are part of the team for crying out loud!

I'm Japanese who grew up playing ice hockey, baseball, and soccer, and trust me, when pitches are thrown at your teammates you react! Especially when you almost get hit as well the very next at bat!

Yes, it may not solve anything at the time, but you well for sure send the message out to the rest of the league, that you and your teammates do not appreciate that! And come on, they are pros, they know when they are being aimed at.

Remember that when you are a pro, your body is everything. You cannot afford to get injured for a stupid reasons like "hitting too many HRs" or "average being too high" or especially "gaijin," if any of these reasons are responsible for your career. That is just unacceptable, your living depends on it!

Wait, I know some of you are going to respond with "if it's so important why risk an injury by fighting?" Because your setting out a message, "Don't f*** around again!"

It is part of the sport, it always have been. And you do see that it's somewhat accepted by the governing body of the league, because if it's not, then they would have banned fighting or expelled all of them out of the league!

Plus fans love it! And that is the best part! Don't tell me you cried when you saw it.
About

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)
Founder

Search for Pro Yakyu news and information
Copyright (c) 1995-2017 JapaneseBaseball.com.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Some rights reserved.