Anyone that is remotely close to baseball is well aware of the comments BP made regarding the St. Louis team. His words fueled and primed a bench-clearing brawl at GABP last August as the Cards visited Cincy. That has led some to believe that Reds-Cards is now the nastiest rivalry in all of baseball. And we have seen that rear its head in the two series this season. More on that in a bit…
This past spring, Washington Nationals and the Cards were combatants in a spring training game in which some hijinks were involved. Former Nats outfileder (now Brewer) Nyjer Morgan ran into Albert Pujols (you will notice a theme somewhat developing here). Well, Chris Carpenter (shocker) “avenged” (according to the Nationals) the Morgan play by plunking former Red Laynce Nix (hmm…) the following inning. Livan Hernandez, in turn, hit Colby Rasmus…and Hernandez admitted to hitting the Cards center fielder intentionally while Carp claimed no ill-will was intended.
But the final straw cam in the 7th inning of a spring training game when former Nats hurler Miguel Bautista nailed Ian Desmond. Benches cleared (again, Carp had to explain this) and words were also exchanged. Maybe the most telling of words came from LaRoche (via Hardball Talk)…
“It’s very typical of playing these guys. I’ll leave it at that,” said Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche. “I’ve played against them a lot. And for whatever reason, you run into this same situation.”
Another player from a team different from the Reds stating a case against the Cards.
Remember when the Cardinals visited GABP earlier this season? Closer Francisco Cordero hit Pujols (theme still developing) and was immediately called out by backup catcher Gerald Laird. After the Reds had wrapped up the win, Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan sent a verbal barrage toward Coco as Cordero was staring into the Cards dugout, most likely at Laird. Cordero responded…
“Just a little fun,” Cordero said. “I think it was because I hit Pujols 0-2, Gerald Laird was all loud in the dugout. He was yelling at me and pointing at me and saying a whole bunch of stuff.
“Out of all the guys that are great hitters, great players, Gerald Laird doesn’t even play. He’s the one yelling at me because I hit Pujols 0-2. 0-2! I wasn’t trying to hit him. I’ve got to face (Matt) Holliday next, who can take the lead with one swing, and he’s yelling at me.
“All I know is he was loud, so I said something back to him.”
Now, enter Gordon, left fielder for the Kansas City Royals. You see, Gordon felt the venom of the Redbirds. TLR brought lefty hurler Brian Tallet in to face the lefty hitting Gordon. I’ll let Gordon explain everything from here (via MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel).
“The first one went behind me and wasn’t even close. I thought it was just an accident, trying to come inside and missed. The next one wasn’t even close, either, so I was kind of surprised they hit the leadoff guy in that kind of a game with the meat of your lineup coming up,” Gordon said.
The retaliation theory really didn’t make much sense considering that Tallet, in fact, was brought in expressly to face the left-handed-hitting Gordon in a tight game.
“If it was on purpose, I mean what is your retaliation? What are you retaliating — that Albert got hurt at first on a clean play? Or that there was a pitch inside that almost hit Albert that didn’t?” Gordon said. “I’d say, ‘Quit being a bunch of babies.'”
If there is a question regarding Tallet’s actions, it is worth noting that the score at the time was 4-3 Cards in the 7th. It really does seem unlikely that a plunking was necessary until…
In the 6th, Wilson Betemit hit a ball up the middle which was fielded by Cards second baseman Pete Kozma. As Kozma threw to Pujols (see, told you there’s a theme) at first, it sailed a bit up the line toward home. As Albert stretched in attempt to catch the slightly errant throw, Betemit ran into Pujols. There’s the setup for the plunking. Watch the video.
Now…your thoughts are?
Have we heard enough from other players on other teams to justify what Phillips said last August? The evidence is mounting.