I really don’t know the rules
This isn’t my big Hit By Pitch essay, which I hope to write later this week and is basically an indictment of the entire umpiring profession. Last week, nobody reliever Brad Thompson was fined and suspended for throwing at David Wright. Soon after, star starter Matt Cain actually hit Wright in the head, sending the third baseman to the hospital with a concussion and jeopardizing his career. Cain was not punished.
There are two ways of looking at this. In one case, Cain was not punished because he didn’t mean to hit Wright, while Thompson, who didn’t hit Wright at all, did mean to. It seems morally questionable to me. “I didn’t mean to hurt him, it was an accident!” People get punished all the time for causing injuries they didn’t really mean to. To my mind, the question is less if Cain wanted to hit Wright than if he cared if he did. That’s the story of the great beanings throughout history. Carl Mays didn’t mean to hit Ray Chapman; he just didn’t care if he did.
The other way of looking at it is that Cain is a star and Thompson is a scrub with a 5.13 ERA who is about a week from being released.