By Michelle Dingley
The Phillies have left San Francisco, the dust has settled, and blood pressure has returned to normal. The Giants salvaged just one game of the four-game series, but at least they won’t square off against the Phillies again during the regular season. Now it’s time to face the consequences of the bench-clearing brawl from Friday’s game.
The principals in the fight were Ramon Ramirez and Eli Whiteside of the Giants, and Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco of the Phillies. Victorino was suspended for three games; all four were fined an undisclosed amount. Victorino will appeal the suspension.
Victorino’s suspension appears to be less for charging the mound, and more for reigniting the melee when it had almost calmed down. MLB’s senior vice president of standards and on-field operations, Joe Garagiola Jr., released a statement regarding the discipline. It noted that “Victorino’s aggressive actions prolonged the bench-clearing incident.” Victorino also pushed an umpire who was holding him back from the dog pile. He eventually squirted away and dove into the scrum, tackling Giants coach Hensley Meulens. Considering that just days ago, Yadier Molina received a five-game suspension for making contact with an umpire while arguing a call, Victorino’s punishment was lenient.
The Giants should also be happy with the disciplinary action they received. Money can be earned back, but we can’t afford to lose anyone else off our roster, especially for a reason like that. Ramirez has been solid out of the bullpen. Whiteside is half of our catching platoon. It would be a shame to lose either of them, but the big loss would have been Pablo Sandoval. Though not involved in the instigation of the fight, the Panda appeared to have thrown a punch in the scrum. The Giants are lucky that MLB showed clemency when handing down punishment.
After the big fight on Friday, Saturday’s game was pedestrian. Sunday’s game was a bit more interesting, although nothing happened to clear the benches. With the bases loaded and the score tied, Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt nearly hit a Giant batter in the head (I believe it was Orlando Cabrera). No warnings were issued since that was definitely not the time to intentionally plunk a guy. (Then again, what better time to hit a batter than when no one would suspect it was on purpose?) Later in the game, Chase Utley flung his bat at a pitch, and the bat ended up hitting Tim Lincecum on the knee. This was also unintentional. Utley went out to the mound to retrieve his bat and to apologize to the Giants’ ace. Say what you will about Cody Ross launching his bat toward the dugout – or into the stands – on a swinging strike three, but at least his bat hasn’t hit a player yet.
The Phillies are gone, and Friday night’s skirmish is just a memory. Now the Giants can turn their focus back to winning the West. Fans can let go of the ill will they feel toward the Phillies, at least until the postseason. The Giants faithful should direct their ire where it belongs – toward the Diamondbacks, who just won’t go away.