The Giants and the Brewers played in the Cactus League today and, against all odds, something (kinda) meaningful happened:
In the first inning of today’s Cactus League game against the Milwaukee
Brewers, Zito hit Prince Fielder in the back with his first pitch in
apparent retaliation for Fielder’s staged “bowling pin” celebration
after his homer ended a Sept. 6 game in Milwaukee.
You remember that one, don’t you:
I’m fiercely opposed to guys throwing at one another out of b.s. like honor and adherence to the so-called unwritten rules, but that was really, really bush league by the Brewers and I probably would have plunked someone over it too.
And besides, Barry Zito’s fastball is in no danger of hurting anyone over the age of 6, so it’s all good.
UPDATE: Prince Fielder’s comments after the game:
Anthony Witrado of the Journal-Sentinel asked Fielder if the celebration was worth the ball in the back.
“Hell yeah,” Fielder said. “That’s something I did with me and my teammates. It has nothing to do with them.”
“You’re damn right it was worth it.”
I hated the celebration, but I like that he’s at least owning it, ya know?
Because of course he did.
It wasn’t just his first at bat, but it was his first pitch. It came off of John Kilichowski, an 11th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of Vanderbilt. The ball went out to left center, off the bat of the lefty Tebow.
Next time, meat, throw him a breaking ball.
The other night, Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit needed help getting off the field after the second benches-clearing incident with the Yankees. It was later revealed that Benoit tore a calf muscle during the fracas, ending his season.
Yesterday he pointed the finger at just about everyone else for the incidents like the one that led to his injury. Hitters specifically. From The Star:
“I believe as pitchers we’re entitled to use the whole plate and pitch in if that’s the way we’re going to succeed,” Benoit said. “I believe that right now baseball is taking things so far that in some situations most hitters believe that they can’t be brushed out. Some teams take it personally.”
That “take it personally” line is interesting coming from Benoit as, in this instance, it seemed pretty clear that the whole plunking exchange which led to his injury started because Josh Donaldson took an inside pitch that did not seem to be a purpose pitch at all, too personally.
Did Benoit take a veiled swipe at his teammate here? If so, that’s pretty notable. If not it’s notable in another way, right? As it suggests that Benoit believes it’s OK for his teammates to take issue with inside pitches but anyone else who does is part of the problem?
Which is it, Joaquin?