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The Angels and the Tigers: men behaving badly

Aug 1, 2011, 9:58 AM EDT

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Detroit Tigers Getty Images

I had all kinds of fun yesterday watching that gonzo Angels-Tigers game.  But really, no one distinguished themselves once it got all ugly. For those who missed it:

  • Magglio Ordonez may or may not have shown up Jered Weaver by posing for a home run after he hit it.  I actually buy Ordonez’s argument that he was merely watching to see if it went foul — that was my thought as I watched it live — but Weaver obviously felt differently.
  • Carlos Guillen then really did pose (and preen and strut and generally act like an ass) after his home run off Weaver.
  • Weaver then did the absolutely inexcusable in throwing the next pitch at Alex Avila‘s head.  Really, no excuse whatsoever. You could end a guy’s career with that kind of crap. Or worse.  If I was in charge I’d suspend Weaver 20 games for that.
  • Erik Aybar bunted in an effort to break up Verlander’s no-hitter.  This is a fun one. On the one hand, yes, it’s an alleged violation of the unwritten rules to do this.  And maybe I agree if it’s a 9-0 game, but this was a close game and Aybar came around to score, so no worries.  Except, isn’t it possible that the play can both be defensible against charges of an unwritten rule violation but also be kind of a dick move?  I bet the Angels wanted to mess with Verlander and get a guy on base and were content to do both at the same time. So while I don’t care if he bunted, let’s not pretend that it was a purely tactical move.
  • Oh, and Aybar’s “reached on an error” should have been a single. Only a hometown official scorer gives Verlander a throwing error in that situation. Didn’t matter given that the no-hitter was broken up on a clean single, but it’s still worth noting.
  • And of course Aybar threw an elbow at Verlander as he crossed home plate.

Add in all of the in-game and post-game beefing from these guys — I counted at least three F-bombs yelled from players during the game —  and we have a game in which everyone came off badly.

The worst thing of all, though?  These two teams don’t play each other again until next year.  Sigh.

  1. Kevin S. - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    I fail to see any reason to assume it was anything but a tactical move. The way Verlander was pitching, that was the best way to get on base. Anything else is a distant second.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:18 AM

      Hey, Thumbs-Down Police, you do know that you play to win the game, right? Herm Edwards would be bustin’ a cap in your collective asses if he was here right now.

      • Glenn - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:57 AM

        I think the thumbs down are for you stating that it was only a tactical move, not that it wasn’t a perfectly legitimate thing to do – especially after Craig suggests that there was more to it than just tactics.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:59 AM

        I meant tactics in the sense of getting on base and trying to win the game, which was my understanding of how Craig meant it. I thought it was a completely legitimate play.

      • razedeyebrow - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:44 PM

        I thumbed you down for the whining and sniveling.

    • Steve A - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:23 AM

      Weaver wasn’t the only Angel running his mouth, though. Bourjos turned back and yelled something at Avila after he scored.

      Yes, Aybar was trying to get on base, but he definitely was trying to mess with Verlander and the Tigers, also.

    • nyyankeefanforever - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:46 AM

      Screw “unwritten rules.” I think it’s a player’s duty to his team’s fan base, if not his team — no matter what the score — to try and break up a no-hitter. verlander’s an incredible talent. But the only thing “bush league” about that play was Verlander’s calling it such afterwards. Not a very gracious or classy response for a winning pitcher.

      • ryansteve3 - Aug 1, 2011 at 6:46 PM

        put it in context – the opposing pitcher over-reacted in the third inning and turned into a hysterical little girl – he was classless in what he said and did to Ordonez after his third inning home run and for the rest of the game. Guillen’s hot-dogging was over the top but more understandable in that he’s protecting his teammate. And regardless of if that throw at Avila’s head would have hit him had Avila not ducked, no pitcher has the type of pinpoint control to ever do that intentionally. Weaver was out pitched and acted like an ass. Both teams lost poise, both will have to learn from this if they are going to have a shot at the playoffs.
        Listen to Verlander’s entire comment – and understand he was responding to the behavior of the Angles team.

  2. mmowery2323 - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    Here’s a video with reaction from Verlander, Guillen and Ordonez to the afternoon’s shennanigans:

    • samu0034 - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:13 AM

      Man, I think Verlander comes of as an incredibly classy guy in that interview. Just sort of admits that maybe he found a couple of things a little annoying, but hey, thems the breaks.

    • Old Gator - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      My but we’re growing an interesting crop of arrested emotional development cases this season.

  3. sdelmonte - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    There is still a chance they could play again this year, since Detroit is clearly in the playoff hunt, and the Angels are not far behind Texas. But it would take both teams playing well the rest of the way, and then both teams getting by the Yanks and the Bosox. But it’s not impossible.

    I will give Aybar a pass for bunting his way on, since he did score and make the game that much closer.

  4. randall351 - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    From all the reaction I heard on Sports Radio this morning, it seems like the people who have a problem with someone bunting in that situation are the minority. Everything I heard this morning, and what both managers said after the game was that there was absolutely nothing wrong with bunting in that situation. The only “bush league” thing about that particular play was Verlander’s comments about it after the game.
    Now there was quite a bit of other bush league stuff going on throughout the game.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Weaver is the most at fault here. He yelled at Ordonez for watching to see if the ball was fair or foul…then told him to hurry up as he rounded the bases. Then he throws at a guy’s head??? I agree…he should get 20 games. Guillen gets 4 for exacerbating it with his nonsense. Ordonez gets nothing.

    Aybar gets thrown out of the league for breaking the unwritten rule of trying to win the game when the opponent has a no-hitter going.

    • tbliggins - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      Agree on Weaver. It’s not like this was Andy Dirks that he was yelling at to run faster on the HR. Maggs is a veteran with a solid reputation so while Guillen took it way too far, he was sticking up for his teammate who wasn’t treated with the respect he deserved.

      Also, Craig really think that Aybar beats that bunt with a good throw? There wasn’t anything special about the bunt other than Verlander didn’t expect it.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:46 AM

        Weaver acted like a big baby, then he almost killed Avila. If he had hit him in the head, this would be one of those times when criminal charges may have actually been warranted.

        I said the same thing about the bunt on a previous thread. If Aybar needed the hit to keep alive a hitting streak, there’s no way anybody would have complained.

    • pauleee - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      He didn’t throw at his head. He threw OVER his head. Avila didn’t even have to move (although that would have been impossible to do). If Weaver wanted to hit him, he would have.

      And cut the hyperbole. “Almost killed him”? “Criminal charges… warranted”? Of course, had one of your boys done it, it’d have been hardnosed Phightin’ style baseball. Amirite?

      • Kevin S. - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:58 AM

        Don’t think so. I don’t care if the world turns upside-down, I’m gonna defend Fiorentino here. I think he’d have called out Hamels or Lee or whoever if they’d done the same thing.

      • flavius217 - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:07 PM

        Dude, come on. The ball was “over his head” because Avila ducked.

      • hep3 - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        I agree that Weaver never got close to Avila.

        However, I have never understood why pitchers aren’t smarter about retaliation. Why not wait until the next time he faces Guillen and take care of it then? Even if Weaver has to wait a year, or two, or five or even until an old timer’s game, then the books could be balanced. Guillen is the one who is the object of Weaver’s anger, not Avila.

        I can’t believe we would see all this preening by batters if Mr. Gibson or Mr. Drysdale were still pitching. As much as I dislike Roger Clemens, I can’t remember anyone posing at the plate on homerun with the Rocket on the bump.

      • randall351 - Aug 1, 2011 at 4:23 PM

        Billy Butler got his head thrown at on Friday following a grand slam by Melky Cabrera off the Cleveland Indians. I don’t even remember the starting pitchers name, but he was immediately tossed following the pitch.
        You wouldn’t know it if you weren’t watching though seeing as it didn’t even warrant a mention in the scoring breakdown on here, but that just goes to show you that they only follow what’s going on for the larger market teams.
        Everyone has a biased of some sort.

      • sneschalmers - Aug 2, 2011 at 8:15 AM

        @hep3 I agree. I pitched through college and I remember this one kid I played against who decided to use choice racial slurs when referring to me on his bench, but well within my earshot. When he got up to bat, I tried to get him out, but I ended up walking him.

        When he was on first, I used my ‘A’ pick off move, at least in terms of my footwork. Quick feet on a pick off move will always ensure that the runner dives back to first. But instead of trying to throw the ball over to first to pick him off, I took maybe half a second longer to gather myself and put a little fire behind my throw and hit the kid in the ribs. And I did this twice.

        There are smarter ways to go about getting revenge than what Weaver did, but many times pitchers get caught up in the heat of the moment. They’re already pissed at themselves for giving up a home run, so their threshold for getting pissed off at the batter is much lower, hence this stupid little display by Weaver.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:42 AM

      He yelled at Ordonez for watching to see if the ball was fair or foul…then told him to hurry up as he rounded the bases. Then he throws at a guy’s head???

      Chris, you’re missing a bit of the timeline here. Ordonez hit his HR in the 3rd inning and watching the video here*, Weaver doesn’t appear to say anything to him (I only say that because Ordonez never looks at Weaver). Then in the 7th, Guillen hits a HR and watches it so Weaver mouths off to him. Then the Avila play happens.

      But yes, throwing at anyone’s head is bushleague. Hit them in the leg/back, but aiming for the head when you could kill someone should never be an accepted practice.

      *Ordonez HR:

      Guillen HR:

      • Alex K - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:13 PM

        On Sportscenter (or MLB Network, don’t remember) they showed Weaver talking smack to Maggs a couple innings after the HR when he got him to pop out. I’m pretty sure that is why Guillen hot dogged it on his HR.

        Weaver should have to miss some starts for throwing at a guys head. Whoever it was that threw at Billy Butler’s head this weekend (Carrasco?) should also miss some starts, as well.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 1, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        Ah, my apologies then. I abhor Sportscenter so I try to avoid it at all costs.

    • philiplewis1 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      You would think that this bunch of “Juveniles” would eventually grow up. It’s like looking at a bunch of middle schoolers. Just play the game, don’t worry about how fast anyone rounds the bases, whether someone bunts or not, don’t throw at someone (you’re hurting yourself more than them), in other words don’t be so quick to take offense. That’s how mature people act.

      And by the way, I’m not sure throwing at anyone has ever accomplished anything other than making them mad and getting them to play harder. Major league hitters aren’t backing off just because you throw one close. Hitting someone intentionally only hurts your own team and accomplishes nothing.

  6. shaggylocks - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    “The worst thing of all, though? These two teams don’t play each other again until next year.”

    Let’s amend that to “These two teams don’t play each other again in the regular season until next year.” There’s always a small chance we’ll see them again in the ALCS (assuming the wild card comes of of the AL East). I’d love to see this stuff play out on a big stage with high stakes.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:34 AM

      So the Angels are going to beat out the Rangers for the division. Then they are going to beat the Yankees. Meanwhile, the Tigers are going to beat the Red Sox too? I know after last year’s Giants-Rangers World Series that anything can happen. But that’s all a pipe dream.

      However, Craig could have added a “probably” between “teams” and “don’t”.

    • clydeserra - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      the angels won’t make the playoffs. That would mean Tiffany was right in her prediction and Craig can’t have that.

  7. dbick - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    MLB network dugout camera showed Verlander yelling at Aybar from the dugout and motioning that he was going to hit him in the ribs next time they played.

  8. mattintoledo - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    I think Avila’s being a class act was lost in all this. Weaver buzzed his tower and Avila never even looked at him. At least not that I saw while the camera was on him after the (not so) near miss.

    • greynraney - Aug 1, 2011 at 2:10 PM

      He didn’t react because he knew it was coming, and his own teammate put him in that position.

  9. hbdbrowns33 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    this is my favorite article you’ve written Craig my laid back I like it.

  10. mdpickles - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Weaver throwing at Avila sends the correct message. If Guillen’s teammates (or any other MLB team) does not have the leadership to prevent that type of “bushleague” behavior, then its up to the Angels to let them know. Doesn’t Guillen understand acting like that can get one of your teammates hurt?

    • clydeserra - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      I like how this comment is context free

      • greynraney - Aug 1, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        That comment makes too much sense for you to understand. If you show up an opposing pitcher then you put your teammates in danger, end of argument.

  11. dailyrev - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Time for a little perspective from the AARP corner: when I was 20-something I behaved more frequently like a current NBA player — MLB behavior would have been a step up for me in many instances. The only act worth remarking on in all this is Weaver’s. He had his talk with the ump while the guy circled the bases, made his point (though that’s where his mgr. should have come out and gotten involved, not after the horse was out of the barn — he could have come out, had his say with the ump and let his pitcher know, “this game is still winnable, drop the vendetta for now”). His subsequent behavior was not only dangerously infantile, it revealed that he was intimidated by Verlander. Aggression is almost always fueled by cowardice.

    That’s it, the only other noteworthy behavior was, as already observed above, Avila’s. He showed that he’s a pro.

  12. kirkmack - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Weaver should be given 20 games because not only was he jawing most of the game, not only did he almost take off Avila’s head, but he did so on the VERY FIRST PITCH after getting his ear filled from the umpire. The umpire goes out there to calm him down, issue a warning, and the VERY NEXT PITCH he throws at the guy?

    Weaver took a pretty easy way out of it. Frustrated about your performance? Frustrated that you are being out-pitched? Warned not to retaliate? Whoomp- over Avila’s head. He KNEW he would get tossed if he did it, and he did it anyway. He didn’t want to be out there anymore. Grudges and unwritten rules aside, you don’t throw the VERY NEXT PITCH at a guy after being warned unless you are a hothead and are wanting to get out of there.

    And lastly- any player who does the above and proceeds to drop F bombs at the ump on the way off the field? Yeah, I really don’t see how he can not be suspended, and he needs to miss a few starts. Plain and simple.

  13. hcf95688 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    The Angels always seem to come off as asshats.

  14. steveohho - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    If its 10-0, 9th inning, no hitter, Aybar is justified in attempting bunt.

    So the team without a hit should just restrict themselves to swinging away? I guess they should avoid volleying the ball, only take full cuts and pull the ball? Sheez! Who wants to be on the receiving end of a no hitter?

  15. greynraney - Aug 1, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Weaver was going to throw at Avila whether he got warned from the umpire or not. This was ol’ school baseball at its best. If you show up an opposing pitcher you are putting your teammates in danger and should expect to be thrown at. Avila didn’t react because he knew it was coming, and Guillen put him in that position. To say that Weaver should be suspended is just plain bullsh*t! I loved his passion and that’s what the Angels need to win their division. Go Halos!

    • clydeserra - Aug 1, 2011 at 1:55 PM

      should weaver, the old school pitcher, throw at himself for yelling at Ordonez?

    • Alex K - Aug 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM

      To say that Weaver should be able to throw a baseball at another player’s head and not have to suffer any consequences other than an ejection from the game is bullshit. It’s stupid enough to throw at another player anyway, but throwing at their head is stupid and dangerous. If he “had” to throw at the next guy, then it should have been at his back, ass, or leg. I feel the same way about Carrasco from Cleveland throwing at Billy Butler’s head this weekend, as well.

  16. spudchukar - Aug 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    The Angels only trail the Rangers by 2 games, and have an outside shot at a wild-card berth, (the Yankees would have to falter badly, but they do have a brutal schedule), and Weaver who the offense challenged Angels need desperately now faces a likely significant suspension. Way to help out your teammates, Jeff.

  17. rhandome - Aug 1, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    I really don’t think Aybar “threw an elbow” at Verlander. If anything, Verlander got in Aybar’s way. Dude is very fast and the Tigers kind of botched the rundown.

  18. deathmonkey41 - Aug 1, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    If I were the Tigers, I would have thrown at Aybar…not because he tried to bunt- just because he carries himself as a pompus d-bag.

  19. metzgerf - Aug 1, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Can someone explain to me why some people think the Tigers made themselves look bad in this one?? This is what happened: Ordonez thought his homer was going to go foul, so he didn’t run (the dude is 37 years old – why would he want to run when the ball looks liks it’s going foul??). Weaver was upset with this, for some reason. Maybe Weaver shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions so quickly. So Weaver yells at Ordonez to “run faster.” That is the first inexcusable thing Weaver did. Jered Weaver has NO right to yell at a guy who has been in the league TWICE as long as Weaver has, let alone for something that Weaver is blowing out of proportion. So yes, Guillen had a right to stare Weaver down when he jacked a 2-run homer off of him. If I were Guillen, I would have shouted, “Is this fast enough??” as I was running the bases. At that point, Weaver needs to realize he’s a prick and give it up. But instead, he goes after a budding All-Star catcher with the next pitch. This rivalry is ON, and Verlander will tear it up every time. Verlander 1, Weaver 0.

  20. danberman4 - Aug 1, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    This unwritten rules crap has to stop. It’s the stupidest thing that comes up every year. A bunt hit is ok anytime. Deal with hit Verlander.

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