It seems like only yesterday when Dodger pitcher Guillermo Mota was plunking Mike Piazza, then scampering away into his own dugout like George Costanza fleeing a fire to escape the slugger’s wrath. That was 2003, but Mota — in his second stint with the Dodgers — was the sacrificial lamb once again in last night’s 17-4 win over the Brewers in L.A.
The Brewers had hit Manny Ramirez earlier in the game, presumably for being Manny and admiring a slump-busting home run he hit as part of the Dodgers’ biggest home scoring outburst since 1979. So, with Ramon Troncoso warming in the bullpen with a 13-run lead and two outs in the ninth, Mota beaned Prince Fielder. Mota was tossed immediately and a befuddled Fielder had words for him as he left the field. Troncoso came in for the last out, but the situation was far from over.
After the game, Prince decided he wanted to go have a friendly chat with Mota and the rest of the Dodgers, so he tried to storm their clubhouse. Like, actually go in there and try and throw down, I guess. Fortunately, a combination of security guards and Brewer teammates were able to keep him out. Prince was soon safely in his regular spot in front of the postgame spread. Mota, once again displaying mighty courage, was nowhere to be found afterward and left Russell Martin to speak for him.
This is the sort of thing that happens all the time in baseball, but two aspects were troublesome: One, obviously, is Fielder’s attempt to actually go in the opposing clubhouse and get in a confrontation. Baseball has always had their “codes” and all that, but it’s supposed to stay on the field. Fielder’s choice to escalate the situation showed pretty poor judgment. But I don’t think Joe Torre is off the hook here. Hittting Fielder wasn’t the problem. But the Dodgers should’ve at least preserved the conceit that the whole thing wasn’t pre-planned. It’s hard to say “it just got away from him” when you have a pitcher warming up in the bullpen with one out remaining in a complete blowout. Clearly this was not only permitted by Torre, but presumably was encouraged, which may earn him a suspension.
*UPDATE* CBS 2 in L.A. has video of Prince’s attempted post-game visit.
(I don’t think Mota wants to run into Piazza at a Dodger reunion any time soon)
Meanwhile, things may have finally hit rock bottom for the Mets this year. Francisco Rodriguez blew a two-run lead in the ninth, then Albert Pujols hit a granny in the 10th to lead the Cards to a 12-7 win at CitiField. It was Pujols’ fifth grand slam this season, and he has hit six homers in his last 11 at-bats with the bases loaded. Even more frustrating for Mets fans, pitcher Sean Green hit the previous batter, Mark DeRosa, with the bases loaded to allow Pujols to come to the plate. This with two out in a tie game. To add injury to injury, as the Mets have been doing all season, Luis Castillo sprained his ankle on the dugout steps.
(”Hey Albert, up here. Up top, bro. Do you see me here? No, dude, not the guy in the white shirt.”)
Horrifying news coming out of the Pittsburgh area last night, as a man opened fire at an LA Fitness gym in the southwest suburb of Collier, killing at least three people and wounding at least 10 others. At this time, it’s assumed that the gunman then killed himself. The PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW has the scary details:
Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said the gunman may have fired 50 shots at the 20-22 women inside the room at the time before turning one of his guns on himself and taking his own life. There were perhaps another 50 people in various other parts of the facility at the time.
Moffatt said the gunman left a note inside his gym bag that indicated he expected to die in the carnage.
From all accounts, this seems like the sort of attack that is nearly impossible to stop. The 49-year-old gunman, who has not been identified as I write this, was a member of the club who was able to gain access simply by swiping in. It could, however, not be as entirely random as it looks now, as he specifically went into a room where an aerobics class called “Latin Impact” was taking place. He only shot women who were in that room, then apparently killed himself.
Despite the chaotic scene, a number of people lent whatever help they could:
Richard Walker went to the gym to play basketball with a group of friends. Two of them left carrying shooting victims, both women, over their shoulders, Walker said.
They got 50 yards from the gym’s side entrance, and took cover between cars as soon as they reached the edge of the parking lot, he said two hours after the shooting, his Oklahoma All-State T-shirt covered in dried blood down its right side.
“They were like losing blood and almost freaking out,” said Walker, 23, of Carnegie, who recently moved from Tulsa. “I just knew you put pressure on the wound.”
Thoughts go out to all the victims. Let’s hope all of the wounded are just that, and don’t take any turn for the worse.
On that note, the show goes on:
• NBA schedules are out, and the Celtics host the Cavs in the marquee matchup of opening night.
• Because nobody asked, Clinton Portis wants you to know that he’s not gay:
“I don’t think there’s a woman in the United States of America that would say I’m gay. So, you know, I don’t hang around men.”
• Based on this video posted by NESW SPORTS, I don’t think LeBron James would even be a top 5 pick in my Monday night pickup game. At least he doesn’t have to worry about getting dunked on again:
• Joe Posnanski is the newest senior writer at Sports Illustrated. He’ll still write for the K.C. STAR on occasion, but the exodus from traditional print outlets continues.
• The PHOENIX NEW TIMES has dug up records suggesting that the city of Glendale and the NHL have essentially been preparing to hand the Phoenix Coyotes over to Jerry Reinsdorf for months, well before the team began looking for a new owner. Such a deal is bad for the owners, who could make much more money selling the team to a group that would move the team to Canada.
• Once the most talked-about guy in baseball, Roy Halladay is now just another guy losing to the Yankees.
• Drew Carey is excited about tonight’s FC Barcelona-Seattle Sounders match at Qwest Field. But the real gem is at the end of the story: Seattle midfielder Freddie Ljungberg says he missed a penalty kick in the MLS All-Star Game because of a migraine triggered by eating food with red wine in it. Oh, soccer players.
(When you need a guy to miss a penalty kick, accept no substitute)
• Predictably, it looks like the NFL is going to be the first major league to draft a policy addressing the use of Twitter by its players, according to the WASHINGTON POST.
• Stolen golf carts. Guys peeing on trailers. No, it has nothing to do with Donald Trump. It’s just your average week at the (no longer) Buick Open.
• I think Jennifer Love Hewitt would probably be the #1 pick in my Monday night pickup hoops game if she showed up wearing this: