Hunter Strickland and Bryce Harper caused quite a stir on Memorial Day, as a hit by pitch led to a mound charge, a (poorly) thrown helmet, several fists flying, and a benches-clearing brawl that will cost Strickland and Harper six and three games respectively.
And to think: it all could have been avoided if Buster Posey did something more than, well, nothing.
The Giants catcher responded to the plunking by chilling behind home plate as Harper charged Strickland and both benches cleared. Posey sort of left Strickland — and his other Giants teammates — out to dry, no?
“It was weird but my first thought was maybe Strickland told (Posey), “When I hit him, (don’t do anything) – because it seemed like everybody knew he was going to hit him,” Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “So I thought that maybe Strickland told Posey, ‘If I hit him and he wants to come out there, let him come.’ That’s kind of what I got out of it. I hope that’s the case because he’s kind of the heart and soul of that team, one of the leaders on that team, and you don’t ever want your guy to kind of show you up like that. Even if you don’t agree with what your teammate does, you still have to have his back. He could’ve easily diffused that fight by just walking up the line with Harper.”
But he didn’t. Harper went nuts — justifiably so, many would argue — and all hell broke loose. The Giants, who are 22-32 entering play May 31, looked like they’ve looked for much of the season: lost.
“That was a weird thing,” said Sabathia. “I think they’ve lost that fight collectively as a whole team. You see (Madison) Bumgarner not go out there. He turned around and went into the clubhouse. You see (Jeff) Samardzjia and Mike Morse basically knock each other out. It was just a weird scene from the Giants, period. Next time, before they get into a fight, they need to have a meeting (and discuss what to do). They didn’t look right the other day.”
Including Posey. Maybe especially Posey.
Sabathia, who’s pitched in the bigs since 2001, believes baseball brawls should be all-hands-on-deck. If one of Sabathia’s teammates got plunked and a brawl ensued, Sabathia would be out there, no questions asked.
“No matter what,” said the 36-year-old. “No matter who you are, there’s no excuse. The baseball clubhouse is such a tight one. We’re all together. (We’re) a family. Like I said, I don’t care if I agree with him or not. I’m going out there. I don’t care if I’m on the DL. I don’t care how I got hurt in Bumgarner’s case. If my guy is going out there, I’m going out there — no matter what. I’m one of those guys that agrees that if we all go, everybody’s got to go. The guy that doesn’t or that stands behind the plate, I’m going to look at him a little weird after that.”
Sabathia wouldn’t be concerned about getting hurt, either.
“Not in the moment,” he said.” All I’m worried about is defending my teammate or getting out there to try to help somebody. I don’t really worry about that at all. I am always the one that’s barking most of the time, so I could be the cause of most of this stuff.”