A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Sunday, April 14, 2013

CQ


So by now you've probably all seen the news and the replays of the melee that ensued on Thursday night.  Carlos Quentin was hit by a pitch and charged the mound, and Zack Greinke ends up with a busted collar bone.  He's been suspended for eight games, which he's appealing, and being fined the paltry sum of $3,000 (not sure what that's supposed to do, buy Greinke a new uniform and repair the damage to the field?).  Jerry Hairston Jr. of the Dodgers was also suspended for one game, which he will appeal as well.

From what I heard on the radio yesterday, Greinke had surgery on Saturday to insert a rod into his collar bone and will be out for 6-8 weeks.

I've drafted this post a few times (I actually started it on Friday), but between trying to choose my words tactfully and not wanting to sound too biased towards my beloved Padres, I ended up scrapping it all last night and wrote it this morning.

Here's my official reaction (i.e. opinion, which I realize is completely biased):

1) Quentin should've just taken his base.  Coming around to score or getting a hit later is the best revenge.  Shoot him a nasty glare if you'd like.

2) I'm willing to bet that Greinke wasn't trying to hit CQ (although who knows what he was thinking, the guy seems to be a head case).  The only thing that makes me wonder is that Matt Kemp (who had some chin music earlier in the game) was the maddest guy on the field from the get go, and it seemed like he could've been looking for some possible retribution (this was actually brought to my attention by Vin Scully as I was watching the replay, so this was a possible solution that he offered, not me).

3) Carlos Quentin has said that "There is a history there, which is the reason I reacted like I did."  He didn't lose it from one HBP, but he's been thrown at and hit multiple times by Greinke, who was a division rival during his White Sox days when Greinke was on the Royals.  Former teammate Paul Konerko had this to say: "I think he was hit by three pitches, but if you watch the games I've watched, he's probably had more than five pitches that have gone over his head.  So, you know, at some point, it's going to be the last straw, and that's what happened."

4) Greinke did nothing to diffuse the situation.  Carlos was hit and took a few steps towards the mound.  Greinke then yelled an expletive at him, upon which Quentin charged the mound and things got messy.  I may be the few that agree with Quentin when he says that the situation would've been avoided had he not taunted him after plunking him, but Greinke antagonized him.

Ok, there's my bias.  Here's a timeline that I borrowed from one of the many good articles on Grantland.com...

July 18, 2008: With two on in the bottom of the first, Greinke hit Quentin to load the bases, and the Chicago White Sox went on to score five runs that inning. Quentin then led off the second inning and homered to left field.

April 8, 2009: In their first meeting the next year, Quentin struck out in the bottom of the first, in an at-bat that included a high-and-tight pitch. Greinke then hit Quentin between the shoulders in the fourth inning. Quentin took a step toward the mound before plate umpire Bill Hohn jumped in front of him. 

April 9, 2013: In the first game of this series, Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario hit Quentin with a high and tight fastball, right in the right wrist. Quentin had to leave that game and missed the next one recovering from the bruise.

So there's my two cents: Quentin shouldn't have charged, but Greinke does have a history of throwing at him, and he seemed pretty unapologetic about doing so.  A telling stat is that CQ has been hit 116 times in his career (most attribute this to him crowding the plate, which he usually does), but has only advanced towards the mound twice, both times after being hit by Greinke.  This happened on a pitch when he wasn't crowding the plate and two days after he was hit by a pitch in the wrist by a different Dodger pitcher.

Hopefully this is the last bench clearing brawl that the Padres are involved in (Lord knows there have been some doozies).  It's just plain ugly and embarrassing to the game.  Hopefully there's also no more "parking lot meetings" between opposing players with an axe to grind.

I don't think Matt Kemp was trying to tell Quentin where to get a good deal on fancy leather backpacks.

And he probably wasn't there so they could practice their "Bill & Ted" skit for their weekly game night.

Ripping on CQ for charging the mound without discussing Greinke's history of throwing at him and his teammates is weak.  Bagging on Quentin for charging the mound (appropriate criticism) and then lauding Matt Kemp's actions because he's "sticking up for his teammate"?  Sounds a little two faced.  And biased, since Kemp and Greinke are big names in a big city with big money, and... can the majority of baseball fans name half the guys in SD's starting lineup?  The "meet me in the parking lot" routine seems even more bush league than charging the mound.

Carlos stuck up for himself, and he'll face the music.  I personally think that the punishment is a little light (I would've been fine with 10-12 games, and why even bother slapping a $3,000 fine on a guy making millions?), but there's no precedent for a player charging the mound and injuring the pitcher.  The real reaction will be how he is treated the rest of his career, not just by the Dodgers, but by the rest of the league.  That's life.

If Greinke doesn't antagonize a guy much larger than him (or if he didn't have a history of throwing at the White Sox), I think the situation is avoided.  The situation is blown up on a much grander scale because it's Zack Greinke and LA just spent a fortune signing him, and now after three starts, he's out for a while.

You never want to see an injury during something like that, on either side.  Hoping for a speedy recovery for Zack, not just so the Dodgers don't blame his injury on the reason that they don't make the playoffs, but also for the sake of his career.

Hopefully the only time CQ comes in at a player like this, he's running towards home plate, and the opposing player is wearing lots of gear.  And has some good bone density.

EDIT:  The title of this post was originally "Ready For The Blacklist", in which I alluded that by writing this, I'd be on the "blogger blacklist" due to the amount of Dodger fans in the blogosphere.  For those who take offense, I offer an apology more heartfelt than Zack Greinke's or Carlos Quentin's. Props to Spiegel of "Nomo's Sushi Platter" for writing a scathing post about the incident, and writing a super nice email after I commented on it - not an apology email (it wouldn't be warranted), but a "hey, thanks for your opinion, guess our rivalry has upped itself a few notches" type of email.  Much classier than anything that happened on Thursday night.

Again, am I going to die on a hill defending Mr. Quentin?  No.  Am I going to look at the story from a few different angles and point out some other factors?  Yes.  Would any of the players who I truly admire do what Carlos did?  I can't see Gwynn, McGriff, Hoffman, Erstad, Denorfia, Cianfrocco, Kotsay, Joyner, or Murphy doing that, which is one reason why they're great.  Khalil Greene gets his anger out by punching out inanimate objects, but that's a topic for another post.

8 comments:

  1. Don't agree with much, obviously.

    Quentin's act was the height of selfishness. I can't excuse him for anything.

    I'd say that even if I wasn't a Dodger fan.

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    1. I'd say Carlos is just as selfish as ANYONE who has ever decided to charge the mound. He decided that a personal beef was more important than the outcome of the game. He is not more selfish just because Greinke got injured and he just signed an overpriced contract.

      Like I said, he shouldn't have done it.

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  2. I appreciate the link and this post. It is interesting to hear the other side's opinion on this incident. When I speak with my friends and co-workers in LA, we only speak with anger towards Quentin and the Padres. No one I know is a Padre fan so, you are my San Diego account of this story.

    As a side note, I carefully thought out my email to you. I didn't feel it would be right to ignite this issue by blasting off on a fellow blogger and making this more personal. I also wouldn't want to treat you like you were a Giants fan. Hahaha!

    Think about how this would have played out years ago before the blog and twitter world. I may have never known what a die-hard Padre fan's perspective would have been. Technology!

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  3. As a neutral observer and commenter, I feel like I may add a new view of this.

    I was never a fan of Zack Greinke. He's always struck me as kind of a brat, spoiled, unstable. Never at any point have I expected him to throw at anyone.

    Quentin, on the other hand, I liked during his time with Arizona. When he came to Chicago and broke his hand bunching his own bet in a temper tantrum during an MVP-caliber season, character issues were became blatant.

    So Greinke popped him a few times in AL Central play. This happens. Quentin dives into the strikezone, something I do myself. In return, you get hit.

    But you know what? Getting hit gets you on base. And when you're hitting about .230, you should really take what you can get. Not charge a skinnier version of yourself (by nearly 40 pounds) and slam him to the ground.

    What was there to prove? This was nothing more than a "look at me" move on Quentin's part.

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I agree with a lot of that. I meant to reference a great piece I found about CQ, most of which is an interview from 2011. After reading it, I'd say that, yeah, he can definitely get hot, but he doesn't strike me as a "look at me" kinda guy. Here's the link:

      http://www.csnchicago.com/blog/white-sox-talk/who-real-carlos-quentin

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  4. I'm a big fan of Greinke. Even though things didn't end well with him and the Royals, watching him pitch can be a beautiful, beautiful thing when he is on.

    Quentin is a baby. If he wasn't gonna charge the mound, but did because of a throwaway f-bomb???? That's so weak. Zero self-control.

    I blame Greinke for standing his ground. There is a time to "wuss out", throw your glove at someone, run toward the dugout, and let your catcher and coaches handle things for you. That time is when a 260-lb crazy man is bearing down on you. Zack never went to college, so I don't know if he has ever studied physics. But the conservation of momentum meant that nothing good was going to happen to him in that scenario.

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  5. I agree with that there is never a time to charge the mound, and he shouldn't have. I'm glad you posted this because I've read most of what you put up there already. I was getting a little annoyed with everybody dumping on Quentin. There were a lot of one sided posts put up.

    There is a history between these 2, Greinke didn't help himself by shouting whatever he did at Quentin. If he would have stood there with his glove out, waiting for another ball (like most pitchers do) I don't think he would have charged. Does Quentin get hit a lot? Most definitely, that's what he does. I don't know that Greinke did what he did on purpose. If someone is leaning over the plate, like Quentin does, you throw inside. That's part of the game. Quentin staring down the mound, nothing new. But he has been hit 116 times and only went after the pitcher twice, both time Greinke. This was fueled by past history regardless of what happened.

    While I don't condone what Quentin did, he certainly isn't the first person to charge the mound. And you have to admit, trying to hit Quentin when he's charging with your shoulder, is just stupid. In reality, I'm surprised Quentin didn't get hurt, he's always hurt.

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  6. Why do I feel Topps got all the their Padres pictures in one game because I fell like there are quite a few with that retro uni.

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