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Late Thoughts on Greinke-Quentin Dust-Up 

It’s been more than a week since the brawl sparked when a Zack Greinke pitch hit Padres slugger Carlos Quentin. To that point in the season the on-field melee was the most exciting single event to occur in a Friars game. Now that some time has passed and I’ve had a chance to chew on it, digesting what others have had to say or write about it, I’m ready to talk about the event and the aftermath.

I needed a week to collect my thoughts before writing this. If you look up the definition of a pearl you’ll find that any “shelled mollusk can, by natural processes, produce some kind of pearl when an irritating microscopic object becomes trapped within the mollusk’s mantle folds.” A pearl is an appropriate analogy for my take on the incident and in particular what many others have said about it. I’ve read and heard so many irritating tidbits that I took the time to properly process it all before responding. The following are my responses to some of the opinions expressed by others.

Greinke Would Not Have Thrown at Quentin in That Situation

Really, why is that? Aren’t we talking about one of the premier pitchers in baseball here? I assume we are since the Dodgers wanted him badly enough to extoll $147MM to Greinke over the next six seasons to secure his services despite pitching not being a team deficiency. Do you really think Greinke would be intimidated having the plodding Quentin on first base with no outs in the sixth inning?

Obviously no pitcher wants runners on base at any time. But if Greinke was dead set on hitting Quentin with a pitch, either in retaliation for Marquis nearly plunking Matt Kemp earlier in the game or simply because he doesn’t like the Padres OF for some reason, doesn’t it make more sense to do it with no one else on base?

Now Greinke did have two other opportunities to throw at Quentin with no other Friars on the base paths. In the first Quentin came to the plate with two outs and none on. Then in the fourth inning he led off the frame, obviously with the bases empty, as he would in the sixth inning. I don’t know why Greinke, assuming he had it in his head to do so, refrained from hitting Quentin earlier in the game.

Maybe it was because in all probability it was going to be his last chance at Quentin that evening. It was the sixth inning and Greinke had thrown 88 pitches through five so chances are no matter what else might have happened this was the last time the Dodgers hurler would see Quentin. If, and again I emphasize that word “if”, Greinke was committed to plunking Quentin there was no BETTER time to do it than when he did it.

You Stay Classy San Diego

The Dodgers official Twitter account had the temerity to tweet a “gif” or a “meme”, whatever you want to call it, of Will Ferrell in his role in “Anchorman” with the caption, “You Stay Classy San Diego,” following the events of that evening. I find it strange that the organization that saw two of their own fans attack and nearly kill a Giants fan at Opening Day a couple of years ago would have the gall to insult a city and a fan base over a brawl in which both of the primary participants (players, not fans by the way) played a role in setting it off. Blaming the city of San Diego and/or Friar fans in any way for the brawl makes less sense than blaming all Dodgers fans for what happened to Bryan Stow, a father and a paramedic, at the hands of a couple of punks who happened to be Dodger fans.

Stow is now permanently disabled and will never live the quality of life he led before this happened. Greinke suffered a broken collar bone and should return 100% in a couple of months. My intention isn’t necessarily to compare the incidents; it’s more to point out that the Dodgers organization has no business insulting San Diego fans for what one Padres player did on the field given what some of their own have done off the field. To say that tweet was in poor taste might be a compliment.

AJ Ellis’ Reaction Is Proof Greinke Didn’t Intentionally Throw at Quentin

The fact Ellis was slow to react and failed to try to restrain Quentin as he charged the mound has been pointed to as proof Greinke wasn’t trying to hit Quentin. After all, if Greinke had consulted with Ellis beforehand the Dodgers catcher would have been prepared for the possibility that Quentin would seek retribution. Since he obviously appeared not to have considered that Carlos would rush the mound Greinke couldn’t have meant to do it, right? Wrong.

Actually Ellis’ failure to do anything only means he didn’t know Greinke was going to do it (again, presuming it was intentional). It’s quite possible Greinke made the decision entirely on his own and didn’t seek the advice of Ellis. I am unaware of any rule that states the pitcher is required to warn the catcher in advance of targeting an opponent although it would have been a smart thing to do.

I actually find it more telling of Greinke’s possible intent that he missed the catcher’s target by so much. Ellis set up for a pitch low and away and Greinke hit the RH hitting Quentin in the shoulder meaning he missed his target by several feet. Now all pitchers can miss by a lot but Greinke is known for having terrific control. And given the evident history between the two and Greinke’s usually reliable control was missing his target so badly with Quentin at bat a mere coincidence or is it suggestive that the plunking was intentional?

Garfinkel’s Comments to STH

Thanks to some idiot anonymously taping and subsequently leaking the video to the media a meeting of season ticket holders and Tom Garfinkel, the Padres CEO is facing some heat for comments he made pertaining to the beaning and about Greinke individually. Did Garfinkel say things he shouldn’t have in his role as CEO of a major league team? Absolutely, but I’d rather see someone who cares about the team he works for and shows the same type of emotion we as fans do as opposed to some robotic corporate lackey. Maybe that passion will translate into some management decisions that will ultimately help this team win.  

What irks me as a Padres fan is that someone felt compelled to leak this to the media. What possible motivation could this person have? Is there a fan or fans out there that take some sort of pleasure in embarrassing the Padres organization? Isn’t it bad enough that we’ve been known as everyone else’s farm team due to the propensity of trading solid veteran contributors for prospects through the years? If it wasn’t for Miami, there may not be a bigger butt for baseball fans’ jokes than San Diego. Way to make the Padres look worse and Friar fans to feel worse.

Quentin Should Be Suspended for as Long as Greinke is Out

I’ve heard this argument and in some cases I might even agree with it, but not this one. Let’s assume for a minute that Greinke misses six weeks; that’s 37 games on the Dodgers schedule. Considering Greinke, as a starting pitcher would only play and contribute one of every five games it means he likely would have appeared in seven, eight games tops. Yet Mattingly wanted Quentin to be suspended for 37 games? How is that equitable? It isn’t but eight games, probably about the same number of starts Greinke will miss is fair and I can live with that.

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About the author: Glen Miller

Life-long baseball and Padres fan who attended his first Friar games way back in 1983. I've been a contributor on Friarhood for more than two years and enjoy talking baseball with the knowledgeable fans that frequent the site. Prior to my beginning here I owned and operated my own San Diego sports site while writing for several other sites focusing specifically on hockey. When not watching, reading or writing about sports I might be sleeping or perhaps spending time with my family since I have few other hobbies. I did recently try my hand at golf and am a pretty good pool player to boot.

  • Chris Kelly

    Fantastic piece, Glen!

  • Great work, Glen. I’m still shocked that the only suspension the Dodgers received was one game for Hairston. I realize that love affair between Matt Kemp and MLB, but looking the other way as a guy goes to the opposing locker room after the game? Wow!

    The fact that Greinke broke his collarbone shouldn’t come into play when giving out suspensions. If Quentin hyper-extended his knee would it have been the same backlash? I think not.

    This never happens if Greinke does yell FWORD YOU! to Quentin.

    Food for thought:

    *Quentin is due $9.5MM in 2013, 13.9% of Padres payroll

    *Greinke is due $19MM in 2013, 8.8% of the Dodgers payroll

    Lastly, Don Mattingly is an idiot. A paper bag could win 90 games with that team.