The Brewers are in Chinua Achebe territory now — things are falling apart.
The Dodgers probably put the game out of reach in the sixth, when the Brewers pitching staff gave up seven runs. But at least it was still following the typical linear narrative of a baseball box score.
Now down by nine runs, reliever Chris Smith hit Manny Ramirez, who had hit a solo homer and a two-run double in his last at-bats. He hardly preened after his home run — especially by his standards — by simply throwing the bat down from the end of his follow-through swing. He was excited, his last homer and RBI was his bobblehead night pinch-hit grand slam, and that was three weeks ago.
It was not clearly a purpose pitch from Smith. But with the game out of reach, perhaps the Brewers were making a statement. Ramirez ran out of the batters box and loped around across the infield to first base. His first step was a rage-filled move toward Smith, but with every passing millisecond, you could read his thoughts. “It wasn’t close enough; it’s not worth it; I don’t want the hassle, the attention.”
Ramirez’s reward for letting cooler dreads prevail was Guillermo Mota hitting Prince Fielder. This was more vicious. Mota is a thug, and it almost looked like he was throwing at Prince’s crown jewels.
Fielder looked angry, hurt, confused. “Man, you were on my team last year.” Joe Torre came out to protest Mota’s immediate ejection, and Fielder appealed to him. You can read his lips “What’d he say?” You’re going to throw at me when we’re down 14 runs with two outs in the ninth?
Then Fielder tried to get to the Dodgers clubhouse, which is not an easy task, as documented here, and recorded on video here. And yes, Mota did a very similar thing to Mike Piazza.
After the game Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said Fielder should not have waited until after the game to address his grievances. As we’ve said before, you either go or you don’t, but don’t stand there whining. However, it shows that these are real emotions at work — that a player isn’t an automaton following instructions to charge after every incident.
The players will stay riled tonight. There’s no way to tell what will happen, but it’s clear that if there’s any incident, it will involve every person from both teams, royal rumble style.
On a side note, when you google the phrase “Things Fall Apart,” the only result in the top ten that isn’t related to the 1958 novel is… a story from today about the New York Mets. So at least we’re not the Mets.
Brewers manager Ken Macha verbally smacked the reporter who identified himself as the Los Angeles AP reporter in his post game press conference. Either the reporter was called to the scene to add a story about Fielder trying to get to the Dodgers club house and knows nothing about baseball, or was copping as serious Bushville attitude toward the Brewers. Prince Fielder? Macha said. He plays first base for us? He was an All-Star? He won the Home Run Derby, maybe you heard about it?
Then the moron asked Macha if Fielder would play tonight. Oh, like we should be scared of what the Dodgers will do, tough guy?
“He’s been in every game,” Macha said. “Why wouldn’t he play?”