Only in America can one venture out to Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park to see a great American brawl.
Two for the price of one. What a bargain!
Instigated by callous comments from Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, Yadier Molina and the St. Louis Cardinals came to the ballpark in no mood to talk trash.
Let’s revisit Phillips' quote in Tuesday's Dayton Daily News, taking direct aim at the entire Cardinals team:
I’d play against these guys with one leg. We have to beat these guys. I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them, they’re little bitches, all of ‘em.
I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals.
Then, leading off the bottom of the first inning, Phillips stepped up to the plate. Before he could dig into the box, his inner child got the best of him and he tapped Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina twice on his shin guards.
Very bad idea.
After his idiotic gesture, how exactly did Brandon Phillips think the Cardinals would react?
For the record, all hell broke loose.
Most fights in baseball today don’t last for more than a minute, but last night’s heavyweight title fight carried on for nearly three minutes before finally being broken up behind home plate. When one fight subsided, another took its place and the three minutes seemed more like 10.
The strained past between Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and Reds manager Dusty Baker may have hindered any attempts to defuse the predicament on the field.
After Phillips' choice words, a fight was inevitable. Had Phillips' gesture not been the catalyst, something else would have led to a volcanic explosion in the later innings because baseball's unwritten rules had been broken.
If you ever played baseball, you probably learned some of these rules. And if you were paying attention, you followed them with a great deal of respect.
One violation is never overlooked. Multiple violations kick-start the Chaos Theory. And in a rivalry, with the division lead at stake, what constitutes a violation is open to interpretation.
Did Brandon Phillips get the memo?
Sure he did.
He just failed to fully grasp the consequences of his poor choice of words. Spouting off about an individual is one thing, but trashing a whole organization—calling them “bitches”—could force him to draft a will much earlier than expected.
Because Phillips’ found it too tempting to open his mouth, everyone paid the price.
With that said, last night’s no-holds-barred scrum may have been justified after all. Old school players from all around backed the validity of Tuesday’s melee at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. Not one former player suggested that the teams should have backed away from a brawl.
In the midst of the “boys being boys” misunderstanding, Cincinnati pitcher Johnny Cueto took home the “Bush League Botch” award for kick-jabbing his metal spikes into St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter. The Cardinals were forced to call up another catcher from AAA to replace Jason LaRue, another victim of Cueto’s cleats.
One thing is 100 percent iron-clad: Yadier Molina has a bite that completely dwarfs Brandon Phillips’ bark. Sending the message to “shove it where the sun don’t shine," Molina hit a monstrous jack-shot into the left field seats.
Rounding the bases, he should have at least returned the sportsmanship by extending his hand to Brandon Phillips for a high five as he completed his homerun trot.
Three things from last night’s festivities that would have capped the night off beautifully:
1) Celebrity Death Match referee Judge Mills Lane
2) Promotion by Don King
3) The kitchen sink
Take me out to the ballgame.