The Code. The unwritten rules by which all baseball players live by, held intuitively inside every clubhouse from Little League to the Majors. Rules like…
- Don’t steal when you have a big lead.
- Don’t mention a no-hitter in progress.
- Don’t injure an opponent during a fight, especially one you started for no apparent reason.
Actually, the third one is one that many probably have always assumed, but never said. After all, in baseball fights, nobody, it seems, has gotten hurt since Juan Marichal took a bat to John Roseboro in 1965 (okay, that isn’t true, but sometimes it feels like it). Until last night.
On a 3-2 count, in a one-run game, Zack Greinke hit Carlos Quentin of the Padres. Quentin charged the mound, they collided, the usual basebrawl ensued, and when the smoke settled, Greinke had broken a collarbone and Matt Kemp, Jerry Hairston and Quentin had been ejected.
It’s unlikely that there is anyone- not even Padres fans- who will dispute that the incident was because of Carlos Quentin. While he and Greinke have a history, nobody would think that Greinke had hit him on purpose- things like that do not occur on 3-2 counts in one-run games. Quentin’s charge and the resulting fight, and the resulting injury, had no reason to occur. At all.
And, if that isn’t enough, after the game, Matt Kemp met up with Quentin in the parking lot and exchanged words.
And as that incident in the park lot proves, this isn’t the end. Merely the beginning. The next time these two teams meet- especially if Quentin is playing (it’s entirely possible he’ll be suspended during next week’s series in LA)- there will be retaliation. I know it. You know it. The social media department of the Dodgers knows it (and pulled out a Ron Burgundy reference to boot). And so does Major League Baseball, which must have the sinking feeling that next Monday’s game between the Dodgers and Padres, which was supposed to be a yearly tribute to Jackie Robinson, could get very ugly.
As Vin Scully would say: “Fertilizer.”