Posted by Stephen Guilbert at 3:00 PM
The injury to Giancarlo Stanton Thursday night was and will continue to be, in a word, terrible. It comes at the worst possible time for a team fighting to stay relevant in 2014 after losing their ace to Tommy John surgery early in the year and while facing a team ahead of them in the wildcard standings. The pitch that hit Stanton in the face by starter Mike Fiers Thursday night was horrific and one of the worst baseball injuries you will see.
I wish Mike the best and I hope he fully recovers and continues to crush the ball both this season and many more to come. He is some of baseball's best entertainment, one of its best players and undoubtedly its most feared hitter. No one should have to suffer the trauma he is suffering right now.
Get well soon, Giancarlo.
Now, a note to the rest of the Marlins, manager Mike Redmond and the FSN announcers covering last night's game:
It has been years since you danced and celebrated on the grass at Shea stadium in the stadium's final game after eliminating the Mets from contention. Not only did you show no respect for your competition but also none for the entire fan base of the team you beat. That is the last memory I, and most fans, have of a beloved stadium and thrilling season that ended in crushing defeat. The disrespect you demonstrated then initiated, and continues to fuel, a hatred I have for your team, your players, and the accepted culture in which you play the game of baseball.
Before we get to your actions Thursday night after your MVP was struck by a pitch, let me remind you of a few events. I am sure you will recall some of these:
2009: An MVP was struck in the head with a pitch. The pitcher had no ill intent. The MVP's team did not retaliate.
2013: An ace pitcher covering first base suffered a gruesome and season-ending injury. The base runner had no ill intent. The pitcher's team did not retaliate. They did not bark obscenities from the dugout.
2011: An MVP catcher was run over at the plate and lost for the rest of the year with a knee injury. The oncoming runner had no ill intent. The MVP catcher's team did not retaliate. They did not bark obscenities from the dugout. They did not race onto the field to fight an opposing player.
2011: A middle-order hitter and second baseman was taken out by a vicious but legal takeout slide and was lost for the rest of the season. The sliding runner had no ill intent. The second baseman's team did not retaliate. They did not bark obscenities from the dugout. They did not race onto the field to fight an opposing player. They did not come after the umpires.
2013: An all-too-familiar HBP victimized a Gold Glove right fielder whose jaw was broken in two places. The lefty hurler tossing the pitch had no ill intent. The outfielder's team did not retaliate. They did not bark obscenities from the dugout. They did not race onto the field to fight an opposing player. They did not come after the umpires. Their benches and bullpen did not clear.
They did not let the emotions get the best of them.
They used their head.
They had class.
They showed sportsmanship.
They understood the difference between intent and accident.
You paid professional--notice that word--athletes behaved like pre-pubescent schoolboys with no moral awareness and the temper of young, combustible children.
Reed Johnson, you came into the game and swung at an 0-2 pitch up in the strike zone. It was inside but certainly not in enough to hit you. You know this because when you swung at the pitch, your hands moved over the plate and came in contact with the ball. The bat went through the zone. Per, oh, baseball rules that are clearly written in this area, you are out. Even casual fans know this.
Casey McGehee, you took it upon yourself to threaten and fight with umpires--men who actually know the rules of baseball, unlike, seemingly you, your entire team, manager, and announcer. After the game, you stated that, "you see our best player laying there, knowing he's going to the hospital and carted off the field, and that's ruled a swing. And the next pitch hits the next guy, almost the same pitch, and that's ruled a swing too". Yes, Casey. Very good. See, when you swing at a ball and you miss, it is a strike. When you swing at a ball and you miss, it is a strike even if it hits you. Because, you see, when you swing at a baseball and you miss...it is a strike.
Why do I have to explain this to you? Why did this failure to understand the single most basic call in the history of baseball cause you to jump out of the dugout to pick a fight with an umpire? What happened to the batter is irrelevant--the same way that when a pitcher tears a tendon on a pitch he throws to a batter that gets clobbered for a home run, it is still a home run. Because regardless of what happened to the pitcher, the ball went over the wall.
And, Casey, in case you were wondering, when the ball goes over the wall in the outfield between the foul poles, it is a home run. You swing at a lot of balls you miss and you seem to not know that we call that a strike. You barely hit home runs so I want to cover all of our bases here.
Your manager is no better, so I think I know where you get it from.
"I've never seen anything like that. I've never seen a guy get hit in the mouth and called for a swing. He's out there bleeding at home plate, and for the first-base ump to say he swung at that pitch...he's coughing up blood. What a joke".
No, Mike, you and your team are a joke. You are a classless bunch of fools who clearly do not understand the game--both the rules as they are written and the unwritten code that states you do not attack an opposing player and team for obvious accidents when they inevitably happen in sports.
Mike Fiers had no intention of hitting either batter. Heck, the second one was not even his fault. His reaction after hitting Stanton was a rare exhibition of emotion from Fiers and something you don't always see after a pitcher hits a batter and knows he hurt him. At times, they emotionlessly just snap the ball back and walk around the mound. They show no care for the batter. They exhibit no remorse in hurting another human being. Conversely, guys like Matt Cain and Mike Fiers are guys who actually give a damn. It was obvious the moment it happened. Fiers felt terrible. He echoed those emotions and concerns to your entire team and Giancarlo after the game.
But you still thought it was okay to go fight him.
You don't do that. The same way you wouldn't beat up the guy who rear-ended you because a traffic signal failed. The same way you wouldn't punch your buddy when he accidentally spills coffee on you.
Garrett Jones, you are the only player I currently have more contempt for in the game of baseball than Carlos Quentin. Like Quentin, you failed to understand that pitches sometimes get away from pitchers and you went to fight a guy. Quentin did so and broke a pitcher's collarbone. He is, and always will be, one of the most hated players in baseball for that and other actions like it. But at least he charged the mound out of anger and there was at least some suspicion or thought that it was intentionally thrown. You knew Fiers did not mean to hit your teammate. You saw him put his glove and hand over his head and crouch to the ground. You saw the emotion on a typically emotionless, stone-cold, bearded face. You saw the regret. You saw the sickened look most people get when they hurt someone and didn't mean to.
You had five minutes to see your star player get carted off the field and you watched as his replacement swung at a pitch, brought his hands over the plate, and got knicked by a pitch that was barely inside. And instead of rallying around your injured star and fight back in the game, you decided it was appropriate, heroic, or somehow necessary to shout at a visibly shaken pitcher, jump out of the dugout, and charge the mound with intention of hurting him. You see, Fiers did not mean to hurt Stanton. You meant to hurt Fiers. For that, you are quite literally the worst example a young player could have. I hope no young baseball players look up to you. I hope none respect you or what you did. I don't.
Marlins, know this: Umpire Jeff Kellogg and his crew made the correct call 100% of the way in that inning and to think otherwise exhibits a vast misunderstanding of the rules of baseball. The written ones.
As for the unwritten ones, I can never expect you to follow them because for years you have not.
But don't expect me to stop thinking you are the most classless group of athletes in Major League Baseball. Because you are.