In general, I think it’s stupid when pitchers throw at opposing hitters to “send a message” about something that happened earlier in the game or in a previous game. If a guy shows you up by admiring his home run, you should be more embarrassed by the fact that you served up the pitch than you should be by the way the guy watches it leave the park. (I think it’s worse when umpires and announcers make a big deal about it. If no one says anything, then it’s just a bit of private communication between ballplayers. Why make a big deal, cause a brawl, and force MLB to issue fines and suspensions?)
But this in exception.
Ted Lily is pitching for the Dodgers tonight in a meaningless game against the Diamondbacks, the division champs who are playing for playoff seeding. And tonight, I hope Lily sends a message to Ryan Roberts.
Last night, Roberts hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a disastrous (for the Dodgers) bottom-of-the-tenth. With two outs, pitcher Blake Hawksworth forgot to cover the bag on a routine ground ball that should have ended the game. That led to the homer, which was painful but was hardly the worst thing that’s happened in a season that’s been over for weeks now.
Here’s the problem: Roberts didn’t just trot around the bases, and he didn’t even joyously skip around them. He did Gibby’s trot.
I don’t care if Gibson is his manager, or that the man himself approved. That trot is holy, and that moment belongs to the Dodgers. With an owner who’s doing everything he can to flush decades of tradition down the toilet, we cannot abide some uppity, overly-tattooed middle infielder claiming such a sacred moment for his own after winning a mostly meaningless game on a lucky swing against an overworked rookie only closing games because everyone else is injured.
I should also note: In contrast to some of our other NL West competition, I don’t particularly hate the DBacks. Their fans are too fair-weather to be obnoxious, they beat up on the Giants this year, and this year they’re actually a group of scrappy, likeable players managed by a baseball hero. So I don’t begrudge Ryan the right to celebrate, and I wouldn’t care if he’d simply “shown up” the Dodgers… they certainly deserved a bit of shaming after that. But this was over the line. This aggression will not stand.
Stand up for your team, Ted Lily. Teach Ryan Roberts a lesson he won’t forget.