Much Like The Pitch That Caused It, The Farnsworth Suspension Was The Right Idea But Poorly Executed
Considering what had transpired prior to Kyle Farnsworth's pitch, the response was awfully predictable. The previous day, Dave Aardsma accidentally (we think) plunked A-Rod in a fairly tight game. The next night Manny went yard twice and then stepped to the batter's box later in a game that was pretty much out of hand and faced a complete nutcase in Kyle Farnsworth. The Yanks couldn't get him out and someone needed to send a message. Manny knew it was coming, Farnsworth knew what to do and the next pitch was 97mph right at Manny's dome. Now, I have absolutely no problem with throwing at Manny in that situation and hitting him in the back/ribs or even going up and in on him near the letters. Manny is so locked in right now that if you don't make him move his feet he will deposit even your best offering into the gap or into the night. And had he simply hit Manny in the side, that would've been the end of it (Manny even agreed). But when Farnsworth's pitch went behind Manny's head, that was unacceptable and I agreed with the sentiment that the MLB needed to step in. And in typical MLB style, they stepped in and went way too far.
The reason Farnsworth needed to be punished is because his actions were reckless. If you don't have control enough over your fastball to throw it in on someone, you shouldn't throw it. Especially when your velocity is lethal (literally). And given the situation and the history of the teams, any inside pitch would be considered a "message" so you need to be extra careful not to throw anything dangerous. Farnsworth's pitch couldn't have been more dangerous. You should be able to respond to your player getting hit and you should be able to hit a player who is lighting you up, but if you fuck it up you should run the risk of getting suspended. If that pitch hits Manny in the head in that situation, you have World War III. The blogosphere and talk show circuits would explode. The MLB simply can't allow some second rate asshole to act so recklessly without trying to discourage future acts through a suspension. Unfortunately, 3 games is too much. All they needed was to send a message. You're out one game and docked $10,000 (or whatever). 3 games seems too long a time for the Yanks to be without a middle reliever considering their middle relief already blows. Though an inappropriate response does kinda seem fitting considering Farnsworth is being penalized for his inappropriate response.
The bottom line is this: you should be able to protect your guys. You shouldn't be allowed to kill players on the other team. Fair?