The official rule book of baseball is 224 pages long. However, it's the game's unofficial rules that seem to be of most interest. And the most intriguing unofficial rule? It's this one:
For what reason(s) should a pitcher intentionally hit a batter?
In response to his rather bizarre antics from last night's contest, I think there were many expecting to see Tim Hudson plunk Melky Cabrera during this afternoon's Giants/Braves game at Turner Field.
Why? In Tuesday night's game, Cabrera made some very inappropriate and offensive gestures to the fans sitting in the left field stands. In last night's game, Cabrera had an unusually slow trot around the bases after his 6th inning home run. In the bottom of that same inning, as Jason Heyward reached second base, Cabrera taunted Jason, as if to "dare" him to attempt to make it to third. And at the end of the game, after Gregor Blanco's 11th inning home run, Cabrera's celebration was one that any baseball fan or player would consider excessive. In today's game, after hitting a triple in the 8th inning, Cabrera made a chopping motion as he stood on base. Individually, any of the actions would be brushed aside. But the sum total of all raised quite a few eyebrows, both inside and outside the Braves dugout.
Here is my question. Where is all this vitriol coming from? Is Melky mad at the Braves because they chose not to keep him after the 2010 season? Let's face it, throughout his career, Melky Cabrera has consistently under-achieved. He had never even come close to living up to his potential. That's why the Yankees let him go. That's why the Braves kept him for only one season. That's why the Royals kept him for only one season. Cabrera was upfront in saying that last off season he rededicated himself to the game. He dropped 20 pounds and got himself into better playing shape. His long-overdue effort has resulted in what is becoming his best season ever, including being named the All-Star Game's MVP.
Maybe Melky is trying to show the Braves brass that letting him go was a big mistake. Yet, his on field actions prove otherwise. Melky says he's just playing the game hard. If that's the case, why is his current teammate (and former Brave) Gregor Blanco making excuses for him? Chipper Jones summed it up best. “That’s Melky, and that’s why he’s not here anymore. He got a little happy when Blanco hit the home run. It won’t be forgotten.”
And that my friends, leads me back to my original question. At some point during Thursday's game, should Tim Hudson have put Melky Cabrera in his place? Should Huddy have given him a reminder, just under the chin, about how the game is suppose to be played? And honestly, would anyone in the Giants locker room have cared?
I'll admit it. I was waiting for it.
After today's 3-2 Braves victory Huddy said, "We won the game, that’s all that matters. However they want to strut around when they lose, that’s fine. That’s their own thing.”
The Braves and Giants will meet again August. Be sure to tune in.