Ahh…the joys of spring training. Nice, crisp Florida/Arizona air with spring temperatures and every team truly believes it has what it takes to make the playoffs this year. Despite all the positive thoughts and big dreams, still, blood boils from the end of the previous season.
Rewind to September 6 of last season when a 12th inning, walk-off blast from Prince Fielder gave the Milwaukee Brewers the win over the San Francisco Giants. After untucking his shirt while running the bases, Fielder jumped hard on home plate and in choreographed fashion, his teammates fell to the ground as if being knocked down by a bowling ball.
Well, the loss put the Giants back two games in the Wild Card race and they weren’t too keen on the whole thing and some Giants were heard saying that payback might come in the first series between the two teams in 2010.
Well, they couldn’t even wait that long.
In the first inning of Thursday’s spring training game between the two teams, Giants pitcher Barry Zito threw directly at Fielder, plunking him in the back. Understanding why it had to happen Fielder calmly put his pat down, and picked up the ball, which had rolled toward the first base path after hitting him, and threw it underhand back to Zito while trotting to first base.
In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Fielder said he had no regrets for the celebration last season. “They gotta do what they gotta do,” Fielder said. “But it’s not going to take (the celebration) away. It’s chronicled … That’s something I did with me and my teammates. It has nothing to do with them. You’re damn right it was worth it.”
In true pitcher-fashion, Zito denied that the pitch was retaliation, saying instead that it was a fastball gone astray. Really, Barry? Really?
Oh well, this is baseball tradition and man-code paying itself out.