Walking the Walk
Trash talk is a part of sports. Sometimes it’s warranted, sometimes it’s childish, but it always grabs attention. When it’s followed up by lousy performance, however, it’s nothing more than laughable.
That’s what Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds has become: laughable. Oh, and while I’m tossing out labels, let me slap one on you, Johnny Cueto: pathetic.
After all the mouthing off Phillips did before Monday’s game, he strode up to the plate in the bottom of the first, and started the exchange with Yadier Molina that led to the bench-clearing brawl by tapping Yadi’s shin guards with his bat. Think I’m biased by saying Phillips started it? After all, sportswriters in Cincinnati claim Phillips does this all the time. But looking at the replay–which is all over the ESPN and Fox Sports Midwest shows and websites–Phillips went for a tap, Molina kicked it away, and Phillips tapped him again. After Monday’s comments, that’s instigation…plain and simple. Phillips and Molina exchanged words and chest bumps, benches emptied, more words were exchanged, and a melee ensued. Curiously, the only ejections were Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker.
One of the in-fight stories was the exchange between former teammates-turned-rivals Scott Rolen and Chris Carpenter. It’s hard to tell if one charged the other, or if they ended up in each other’s faces because of all the pushing and shoving around them. It appeared, in the beginning, that both were trying to play peacemaker. But as the brawl intensified, the group smashed up against the backstop like a mosh pit finally making its way to the stage at a heavy metal concert. Reds starter Johnny Cueto can then be seen kicking at both Carpenter and Jason LaRue. Carpenter ended up with cuts on his back and torso, and LaRue has stitches in his lip and a mild concussion.
That’s right, Cueto was kicking people in the back and face. Unbelievable.
Cueto needs to be fined and suspended immediately. Not only is this behavior unacceptable, it must be made as an example. If LaRue had been caught square in the eye, his career is over and maybe his vision is lost forever. And I don’t care if Cueto was scared and panicked because he was up against the backstop; a dozen other guys were in the same spot and none of them got their spikes up like that. It’s inexcusable.
I’m really excited for today’s game, and the possibility of a Cardinal sweep. With Adam Wainwright on the mound, I like their chances. The Reds have no problem running their mouths and acting out like the b*tches they think the Cardinals are, but when it comes to walking the walk they have yet to deliver. Phillips has one hit total so far in this series, while Molina came up after the fight and lauched a home run into the left field seats. The Cards have won the first two games of this heated series to take over first place in the NL Central. Time to finish them off with a win (and maybe a fastball into Phillips’ ribs).
Photo: Tom Uhlman/AP