Baseball can no longer accept that fighting is a part of the game

"Kirk Gibson said they were making a statement going in on him ... but going in on his face is a whole other statement," Howell said of the manager of the Diamondbacks.

If you can accept that Greinke felt he had to retaliate or lose the respect of the clubhouse — a sadly understandable notion — then the ruckus should have been over in the next inning when Greinke hit Miguel Montero in the back.

But — get this — the Diamondbacks were mad because Greinke required four pitches to hit him when one is considered acceptable.

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"That's being upset with the umpire," said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly about the Diamondbacks' anger. "If you're mad at the umpire, go throw at the umpire."

This whole thing is ridiculous. The questioning appropriately ended Tuesday with the biggest figure in the brawl — who can forget the sight of an angry Mark McGwire grabbing Gibson and Matt Williams? — running off the field after batting practice refusing to explain his actions.

"I believe Donnie's pretty much covered all that," said McGwire. "We don't have to talk about that."

Oh yes, we do. There needs to be a discussion about why baseball is the only sport that allows players to leave the bench to brawl.

The NBA issues immediate suspensions. Even hockey imposes strict penalties.

If a hitter and a pitcher have a problem, then the two men should fight and everyone else who dares interrupt should be suspended for a week. That would stop the brawling like, right now.

"This is not something we should sit here and say we're proud of," said Mattingly. "I'm sure the rules are eventually going to change, I'm sure [baseball officials] don't want to see this."

Yet Mattingly also warned that there is more bad blood here yet to be spilled.

"Obviously, anything like that is going to leave a lot of tastes in people's mouths," said Mattingly. "If you really want to be technical about it, in baseball terms, it really shouldn't be over."

Please. In common-sense terms, it never should have started.

Twitter: @billplaschke