“First rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club.” These were the first words out of my husband’s mouth after we watched the interview with Eli Whiteside during the post game show on Friday when he was asked about the fight. What did you think about that epic battle? We were listening to the game on the radio in my car and had to make a stop. When we got back in and continued listening, they were talking about guys being ejected and excitement and I heard Eli’s name mentioned, and I thought WHAT??? I missed all the action! I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough) to watch the drama unfold on the TV when I got home as they must have replayed it about 30 times during a 30 minute telecast. It turned out that Ramon Ramirez hit Shane Victorino with a pitch, and Victorino, Ramirez, and Eli Whiteside were ejected from the game for their involvement in the battle that followed. I know fights happen in baseball as there is adrenaline and testosterone involved, but since I’ve been writing this blog, I tend to analyze these things more. So let’s break this all down according to the rules of Fight Club.
“Second rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club.” This was apparent in both the Eli Whiteside interview on Friday night and Bruce Bochy’s interview before the game on Saturday. Neither discussed any details (Whiteside did not discuss it at all and said that he wouldn’t). And apparently no one else wanted to discuss it as most of the players went right home after the game. I guess they can get in trouble if they say the wrong thing, so this is understandable. I loved how one reporter asked Whiteside if he had played football (which he did – quarterback), and if he knew what it meant to protect the quarterback. He just smiled back and said, “Yes.” If you watched the fight, when Victorino of the Phillies started to approach Ramirez after being hit with a pitch, Whiteside jumped between Victorino and Ramirez (not sure why he also started jumping up and down). Then Polanco of the Phillies who was on 1st base at the time started towards Whiteside and Whiteside attempted to tackle him. Just protecting his pitcher.
“Third rule of Fight Club: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.” Neither the Giants nor the Phillies obeyed this rule. Lots of people, both players and umpires, tried to stop the fight with little success.
“Fourth rule of Fight Club: Only two guys to a fight.” This rule was also blatantly disobeyed. And this is one of the things that I don’t understand. The beef was between Victorino and Ramirez – why in these situations does the entire bench from either team end up in the fray? I can see Whiteside trying to stop things because he was right there already, but why did the relief pitchers and guys who weren’t even playing in the game have to come out?? Come on, guys. Control yourselves. Two guys to a fight – follow the rules!
“Fifth rule of Fight Club: One fight at a time.” After the initial battle, several mini battles ensued. There has been mention that Pablo actually connected with someone. Pablo – what are you doing?? Apparently, you can get fined or suspended for on field aggression. I heard today that the results of the investigation into this by the baseball higher-ups will come on Monday. Pablo is probably our best offensive player right now, and if he gets suspended, I will have lost a lot of respect for the guy. Pablo, we need you to play so that we can win games! Think seriously before you act, people!
“Sixth rule of Fight Club: No shirts, no shoes.” This did not apply as well (though the no shirts rule does sound rather nice to me!!). And regarding the shoes, it is not fun to get kicked by someone wearing cleats (Bill Hall had to get several stitches recently when he got cleated by someone sliding into him). Thus the no shoes rule makes a lot of sense for a baseball fight.
“Seventh rule of Fight Club: Fights will go on as long as they have to.” I guess they followed this rule, if “as long as they have to” equals “ until everyone’s adrenaline levels are back to normal.” My husband suggested that sports are just a modern day replacement for war without the killing. All of the same emotions come out, and it’s all just human nature. Maybe that explains the fighting. In the heat of the battle, one’s aggressive nature cannot be controlled. I heard mention during the pregame on KNBR today that sometimes a fight can actually bring a team closer together. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that one – we need it. Maybe some good can come of this.
“Eighth rule of Fight Club: If this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight.” OK. Maybe this explains why the rookies came off the bench, but not those older guys.
So there you have it. I’ll end my rant with some closing thoughts. If Eli Whiteside gets fined or suspended, I will be very disappointed. From my perspective, he was just protecting Ramirez and did not attack anyone. Did Ramirez purposefully hit Victorino? The only person who will ever know that is Ramirez. I personally think he did. My husband said that he couldn’t believe that someone would intentionally do that and risk the consequences, but I’ve heard interviews with retired pitchers who say they have and that it happens all the time. Guys on a team stick up for one another. Their motto is you hurt my brother, I will hurt you back. Ramirez was obviously upset with the outcome of the game at that point, so he reacted.
There was also some discussion that Ramirez was upset because Rollins had stolen 2nd base even though the Phillies were ahead by 6 runs at that point. I don’t see anything wrong with stealing in this case. This is not little league baseball where you are trying not to hurt players’ feelings – this is the big leagues. You do anything you can to win a game. It was only the 6th inning at that point, and it was still possible (though not probable) that the Giants could have made up this difference. This reminds me of the game where Pablo Sandoval’s 22-game hitting streak ended recently. The other team intentionally walked him once, and fans were making a big stink over it because they ruined his streak. Sorry. You do what you need to win a game. There were guys on base, and they knew that Pablo could hit, so they walked him. That is baseball strategy (actually, we’ll probably go into more detail on this in a future blog!).
I’d like to thank my cousin, Joey, for his recent comment. Joey writes, “I thought the same thing as you about the pitcher position. I thought every time he faces a batter, he should strike him out. But you learn a lot of situational instances. For example, if there is only one runner and the runner is on second base (let us say he got there by hitting a double), the pitcher might want to walk a batter to make getting one out or two easier since now they can do a force out on first and/or second. Also, if there is a runner on first base and the hitting team has 0 or 1 outs for the inning, a pitcher will want to induce a ground ball so there is a possibility to get two outs rather than strike out the batter and only get one. I don’t know if I am right but it makes sense to try to get a play that gets two outs, double play, rather than just a strike out a batter. : )” I think you are exactly right. So there is your lesson for the day – the way a pitcher treats the batter depends on the situation. This is just one of the things that I’ve learned from watching baseball games more closely. There is so much more strategy being used than what you would think as a casual observer. Hopefully we can all understand some of this strategy better together.
If you have any comments about the brawl Friday night or anything else, please post them and I’ll include them in a future blog. If you would like to be notified when the blog is updated, please subscribe to it and you will get an Email notifying you of this (and it would make my day to have more subscribers!). Sorry there’s no spit count today. I’m probably not going to be able to do another one until Tuesday. And I’m going to talk directly to my boys again now. Please take a deep breath, come together, and win on Sunday. We really need to take at least one from the Phillies to show them we’ve still got what it takes. GO GIANTS!