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Zito plunks Prince: Revenge is a dish best served six-months cold

Mar 4, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

The Giants and the Brewers played in the Cactus League today and, against all odds, something (kinda) meaningful happened:

In the first inning of today’s Cactus League game against the Milwaukee
Brewers, Zito hit Prince Fielder in the back with his first pitch in
apparent retaliation for Fielder’s staged “bowling pin” celebration
after his homer ended a Sept. 6 game in Milwaukee.

You remember that one, don’t you:

prince fielder hr celebration.jpgI’m fiercely opposed to guys throwing at one another out of b.s. like honor and adherence to the so-called unwritten rules, but that was really, really bush league by the Brewers and I probably would have plunked someone over it too.

And besides, Barry Zito’s fastball is in no danger of hurting anyone over the age of 6, so it’s all good.

UPDATEPrince Fielder’s comments after the game:

Anthony Witrado of the Journal-Sentinel asked Fielder if the celebration was worth the ball in the back.

“Hell yeah,” Fielder said. “That’s something I did with me and my teammates. It has nothing to do with them.”

“You’re damn right it was worth it.”

I hated the celebration, but I like that he’s at least owning it, ya know?

  1. Ryan - Mar 4, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    Totally agreed, Zito / Giants were 100% in the right here. That display last year by the Brewers was disgusting.

  2. Fishy - Mar 4, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    I will agree with you that retaliation was deserved. But how can you not like the celebration?!?!?!?
    It was a walk-off homerun. They were going to celebrate anyway.
    When was the last time you saw something that original and creative in baseball?

  3. ROB - Mar 4, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    So hypothetically, zito plunks fielder in the head and his career is over, how did fielders playful escapade “hurt” anyone? In the nfl players are able to celebrate after scoring while baseball its almost non existent. I agree that what fielder did was over zealous but not to the tone of being purpously struck with a baseball anywhere. Its almost like zito said to the world watch me I can do something childish also….just saying

  4. Okobojicat - Mar 4, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    I think the display was over the top, rude, ridiculous, and fricken awesome. I loved it. It was a walkoff. Most of the Giants were in dugout/clubhouse by the time he got home.
    On that note, I absolutely believe that Zito should have hit Fielder. I believe that the first game between the Giants and Brewers after the walkoff, the first batter for the Brewers should’ve been plunked and whenever Fielder got up, he should’ve been as well. And then everyone could let it go.
    And really, the only way to show up the Brewers would be for the Giants to do a walkoff of their own. And if the Giants can somehow think of a walkoff celebration to top that one, then go for it.
    I think it was Bush league, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great at the same time. Sometimes, just having fun is what we should do.

  5. carlos - Mar 4, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    tuck in your shirt!

  6. JasonD - Mar 4, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    Come on Craig, the Brewers celebration was “bush” league? They won a game on a walk off HR. They should celebrate as they see fit. They were having fun. The Giants sound like a bunch of babies complaning about this. It was harmless. Maybe MLB wants to be the NFL (No Fun League). How are they disrespecting the Giants by doing what they did? They were just celebrating an extra inning walk off win.

  7. Alex Poterack - Mar 4, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    I’m a big Brewers fan, so I’m totally biased, but I REALLY don’t get all the sturm and drang over the shockwave celebration. Jumping up and down and high-fiving is okay; what’s wrong with taking it a little further and doing something awesome?
    I will say, though, I suppose it wasn’t their best walkoff celebration of last year; earlier they had a walkoff win against the Cardinals, and because the Cardinals complained about the untucking of jerseys, the Brewers celebrated…by running straight into the dugout after the win. No on the field celebration; I suppose that’s the old school way of doing it.

  8. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 4, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    I’m fine with spontaneous celebrations. Premeditated stuff like that strikes me as really bad sportsmanship.

  9. gumbercules - Mar 4, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Craig don’t be so provincial. That Breweres celebration was a) unique b) not showboating by one guy in particular – it was a team effort and c) completely and unequivocally awesome.

  10. jwb - Mar 4, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    So it’s ok to retaliate using a potentially lethal object?
    Surely you wouldn’t have a problem if, after the next time Zito hits a Brewer, every member of the team grabs a bat before he charges the mound?

  11. Josh - Mar 4, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Yeah, have to agree that the celebration was awesome and I must say, since when is my enjoyment of the game supposed to be dictated by a bunch of killjoys who are going to tell ME, the fan, what’s allowed or not allowed in baseball?? Screw you, a-holes! Why don’t you go back to swearing at children, or pushing old ladies in front of cars, or praying for rain? Seriously, this whole hysteria by a bunch of “old school” yet somehow panty-waisted jerks over an expression of happiness by a team full of, apparently, fun-loving dudes, is a huge turnoff and makes me question just what exactly such mirthless duds are getting out of the sport in the first place. But bottom line: yeah, don’t presume to tell me how I can and cannot enjoy my baseball.

  12. Joey B - Mar 4, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    “How are they disrespecting the Giants by doing what they did?”
    Same with Joba, same with Manny staring at every single HR he hits. You’re showing up the opposing pitcher. Like Craig said, it’s planned v spontaneous. I’d much rather see the whole team go nuts than some contrived celebration. Then what? Does every team start preparing skits?

  13. Jesse - Mar 4, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    Can we please stop with the nonsense about a baseball being a deadly weapon? Yes, baseballs have killed people and I guess that technically makes it a deadly weapon, so I guess we should ban them from schools and airplanes.
    Baseballs kill at about the same rate as a hot dog at the ballpark. With all this feigned outrage you would think we were talking about steroids.

  14. JasonD - Mar 4, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    How is it bad sportsmanship? They were not pointing at the Giants and yelling at them when they did it. They celebrated a win as a team in a cool new way and everyone gets bent out of shape over it.

  15. Anon - Mar 4, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    Craig said:
    “I’m fine with spontaneous celebrations. Premeditated stuff like that strikes me as really bad sportsmanship.”
    How about a premeditated beanball? One that could really, actually hurt someone? Shouldn’t the same rules apply – spontaneous, thrown-in-anger beanballs are OK, but 6-months-in-the-works beanballs are out?
    I liked the celebration. Baseball needs more of it. If the Giants didn’t like it, they should have gotten Fielder out.

  16. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 4, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    I hate beanballs even worse, and have written at length about it. Just because I don’t like the celebration doesn’t mean I condone beanballs and beanball wars. My comment about throwing at Fielder here was somewhat facetious. And of course, a Barry Zito “fast” ball at the back fat of one of the biggest men to ever play the game is a different beast than someone like Roger Clemens going for the head.
    As for everyone who doesn’t have a problem with what the Brewers did, I’d ask how you feel about TO’s touchdown celebrations, which are also showboating celebrations. No, I don’t lose sleep over them — like I didn’t lose sleep over the Brewers’ thing — but it’s not the sort of thing I much care for. If you’re fine with those I suppose you’re fine with what the Brewers did, as is your right.
    But in my view, baseball is a long season. When you play 162 games, no one single game is so important that such a celebration is called for. Especially a September game between two teams that failed to reach the playoffs.

  17. Anon - Mar 4, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    Craig said:
    “But in my view, baseball is a long season. When you play 162 games, no one single game is so important that such a celebration is called for. Especially a September game between two teams that failed to reach the playoffs.”
    The celebration was great exactly because of the length of the season and the relative meaninglessness of the game. Think about the people at that game. Would they remember being at a meaningless September game between 2 bad teams? Or will they remember being at the game where the Brewers pretended to be bowling balls? If they remember the latter, they’re much more likely to buy another ticket.
    I love baseball. I can watch and enjoy any game. But most games for most teams end up being relatively meaningless. If a bad team can spice it up with a fun celebration where no one gets hurt, more power to them.

  18. okobojicat - Mar 5, 2010 at 12:21 AM

    Why is everyone making “Bush League” and “Fun” mutually exclusive? Why can’t something be both?
    The act by the brewers was bush league. It was also hilarious. Fielder knew he was going to get pluncked. It was worth it to him.

  19. Jay - Mar 5, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    Nobody’s mentioned how funny it is that Zito gave a sh1t about it, or anything, frankly.

  20. Hoylt - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    Barry: Are you bowling? Are you bowling? ARE YOU BOWLING? There’s no bowling! THERE’S NO BOWLING IN BASEBALL!
    Prince: Huh?
    Barry: Mike Scioscia was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pigsh!t. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Las Vegas to see me play the game. And did I bowl?
    Prince: Huh?
    Barry: Yeah! NO. And do you know why?
    Prince: No?
    Barry: Because there’s no bowling in baseball. THERE’S NO BOWLING IN BASEBALL! No bowling!

  21. Jonny5 - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    Amen!!! Seriously Sometimes it’s nice to see something besides the gay, hop around in a huddled circle thing baseball players do so often..

  22. Rays fan - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    jwb, ROB–The point with Zito is he did not try to earhole Fielder; he hit him in the lower back. He also didn’t give him his hardest fastball either, for whatever that’s worth from a pitcher whose fastball isn’t that fast. In other words, he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, he was making a point that he and his team were annoyed by the display. Fielder for his part, simply moved on to first base.
    okobojicat–well said.
    Hoylt–best post, hilarious!

  23. fishy - Mar 5, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    the touchdown celebrations are about the only thing I ever did like about TO-
    I also used to love it when the Hogs would celebrate during Redskins games and I’ve liked the NFL less and less since they started cracking down on celebrations-
    Craig, I’m guessing you probably tried the Ickey Shuffle at least once…

  24. gumbercules - Mar 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    That would be the Fun Bunch, not the Hogs.

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