Yesterday's MLB menu was highlighted by a duel of two CY Young front-runners—the spirit of Bob Gibson and a no-hit effort deep into the eighth.
Alex Avila culminated the event when in the seventh inning of an Angel/Tiger matchup, a mid-90's Jered Weaver (14-5, 1.94 ERA) fastball whirled inches from his brow. What followed was the hot-tempered Weaver being ejected and a Tigers bewildering 3-2 win.
How on earth did things get there?
A third inning two run home run by Magglio Ordonez began the affair.
After smashing a breaking ball 400 hundred feet to left field, the veteran right fielder paused in the batter’s box in Barry Bonds fashion before charismatically tottering around the bases.
Weaver didn’t agree with the showboating.
“There’s a level of respect in this game,” Weaver said. “I’ve never shown anybody up or ever done anything like that. When you’re standing up at the plate and do what he did, I don’t agree with that.”
Lost in the fracas was a quiet no-hit effort mounting by Justin Verlander (14-5, 2.34 ERA). Just four outs shy of joining Nolan Ryan, Bob Fellar and Sandy Koufax as the only pitcher to throw three no-hitters since 1900, the power pitching ace lost his chance, giving up a bunt hit to Erick Aybar.
Unfortunately, a walk and a base hit by Maicer Izturis scored two runs in the inning, but most unfortunate was the forearm shiver Aybar landed on Verlander at home. Both benches nearly cleared and the swelling personification of youth continued to evolve.
By that point Weaver had been tossed and rationality kicked to the curb. After sitting down 12 straight Tigers post-Ordonez with a dominating mix of fastballs, changeups and sliders, the 26-year-old fiery competitor completely lost his way in a whim of angry indiscretion.
A full count solo shot to right by Tigers second baseman Carlos Guillen is where things got silly. Standing in the batter’s box for the entire shot to right, Guillen tossed his bat and stared down Weaver. The two engaged with heated words and quickly the game took on a life of its own.
Home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt warned both benches and attempted to maturely dim the grade school bib-wearing shin dig. Sadly to no avail, as the Aybar incident proved, the athletes' spoiled and provocative need for Hollywood attention comes first and always foremost.
Weaver's answer of retribution was simple:
“After what Guillen did, I thought that just kind of crossed the line. I’m not just going to go out there and take that. There’s a line that needs to be drawn. If they want to play the game that way, that’s the way it’s going to be.”
But for Tigers' three-time All-Star, Guillen saw things differently.
“That’s the first time I’ve done that,” Guillen said. “But the way he reacted to Magglio...we’re a team. I apologize to his teammates. That’s not the way I play. But it’s part of the game.”
The point made is that we all see things in a different light, but most necessary is the understanding of polar opposites so that we might grow and reverberate with wisdom.
For 15-year veteran Torii Hunter, the situation was a poor display of professionalism.
Suspensions will be sought out by league officials affecting two teams fighting for playoff survival. And despite Weaver or Guillen feeling justified in their actions will be a perfect slap on the wrist to two young stars.
For Avila, life was the spared element in the lucky stave of a Bob Gibson curse.