photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
This game featured a(nother) excellent start from Armando (had some time to rest up, I guess), TWO two-run homers for Miguel Cabrera The Most Majestic of Pumas, and a triple (!) from Ramon Santiago (!!). There was also a brawl. The Tigers lost the game on a walk-off after having been up 5-2 at one point, so we’re mostly going to talk about the hilarious fighting.
A fight summary, as near as I could make out from the Cleveland broadcast:
Sheffield got hit by a pitch. He stared on his way down to first. He stared and stared and stared. He also carried his bat aaaaallll the way from homeplate to first, where he eventually handed it off to the batboy. Apparently it’s more threatening to carry your bat with you. Carmona kind of eyed him as he went, but he was also wiping his nose a lot so it didn’t seem like a big deal.
It was pretty obvious that Sheff thought the pitch was intentional, and it seemed almost certain that the pitch was NOT intentional, but you cats know how Sheffield gets. He takes things personally. Very, very personally. He also has been extremely frustrated by this season, and one may assume that this frustration is only increasing as the season goes on.
The ridiculous/amusing thing here is that it did not look like there was going to be any kind of altercation following the HBP, because, aside from the staring and the bit with the posturing with the bat, Sheff took his base without complaint. It was only when Carmona threw a ball over to first to check on Sheff that the trouble began, because at that point Sheff gestured sweepingly towards the batter and vehemently invited Carmona to quit bollocksing around and throw home.
Carmona said something that looked an awful lot like, “Oh, you want a piece of me?” Steps were taken by both towards one another.
Sheff charged in, taking the low route and… well, let’s not put too fine a point on it, he head-butted Carmona in the stomach. If it was not already incredibly obvious that Sheffield was fully in the thrall of the Spazzosaurus and his feeding-on-spazz-energy feedback loop, it was made clear at the moment when Sheff’s cranium made contact with Carmona’s jersey.
Although this position may have been momentarily advantageous for Sheffield, it quickly began to work against him, as Carmona got him in a headlock and started punching him on the top of his head, all Nolan Ryan style (although he didn’t seem to be throwing punches nearly as hard as Nolan Ryan’s; these were sort of like extra vigorous noogies). The Cleveland broadcasters would later say that Sheffield’s nose was bleeding, but it was hard for me to tell whether or not that was actually the case on my small pixelly window of MLB.tv glory.
You can see Carmona and Sheffield locked in a Spazzosaurian dance in the middle there. The hatless blonde dude on the right is Brandon Inge, who leapt into action to tackle Victor Martinez to the ground… not, apparently, to beat up on him, but just to keep him temporarily down and out of the way.
Scrum scrum scrum! In the top screenshot you can see Rafael Perez with his jersey all verklempt. One of the coaches fixed it up for him like a mom, it was very sweet. In the bottom screenshot you can see Dusty Ryan (52) on the right trying to jump on top of the pile. He didn’t really get up there.
After he escaped from Inge, Victor Martinez had to be restrained by Miguel Cabrera. Miggy and Magglio actually were very dedicated to Stopping the Violence here, and basically spent the entire brawl running around holding people back dramatically and probably shouting things like, “Why can’t we all just get along?!” The Spazzosaurus, so giddy with the abundance of feasting materials before him, must have overlooked them in the buffet or something.
Carmona was at one point being restrained almost entirely by Tigers players – here he’s being held back by a highly concerned-looking Magglio and what I am pretty sure is Kenny Rogers. His own team did pull him back eventually…
…including this touching moment with Sal Fasano, who tried to calm Carmona down the only way catchers know: with lots of, well, touching. Carmona pressed his fist into Fasano’s stomach, not hard, just as a kind of ‘arrrgh I am so riled up man I cannot even express’ gesture, and Fasano held onto his wrist as if to say, ‘I know dude, I know, I’m here for you.’ With lots more swearing on the part of Carmona.
Sheffield was eventually forcibly restrained by coaches, led away, and later herded away from the dugout exits by Gene Lamont, who did not seem to be having as good a time as Gibby had back in ’05.
Sheffield, Polanco, Carmona and Martinez were all ejected. The Racist Logos went on to win in stupid ARRRGH BULLPEN fashion. Some pretty amazing postgame quotes from Sheff:
“There’s a point I get to where it’s hard to come back from,” Sheffield said. “And when I get to that point, they’re going to have to deal with me — today, tomorrow and the next day, until I get you.”
“He called me out,” Sheffield said. “If you call me out, I answer the call.”
“I’m trying to throw him to the ground,” Sheffield said of Carmona. “That way, I can see what’s coming at me. But when I’m throwing him to the ground, I’m getting punched in the back of the head.”
He eventually discovered who was punching him. After he was ejected, he went into the clubhouse and watched replays to find out.
“I saw the tape,” he said. “I know who they are. And I guarantee you, they’ll have to deal with me.”
Those replays also showed Sheffield landing a punch on Carmona once they collided.
“I got the one hand I needed to get in,” Sheffield said, “and I guarantee you he felt it.”
“If he wants to do something, charge right there [after the hit-by-pitch],” [Victor] Martinez said. “He didn’t say anything. Just shut your mouth and keep playing the game.”
Sheffield took particular issue with Martinez, especially once he started yelling.
“This guy, I don’t know how many years he has, but his act is tired,” Sheffield said, “all this macho [act], throwing the equipment off. … One thing I don’t like is when somebody’s talking and making a big scene and backing up. If you’re going to talk to me, be a man.”
Gary Sheffield is a crazy man filled with crazy. And anger. And more crazy. He will certainly be issued a suspension, and I would assume the same for Carmona at least.
Now, here are my remaining big questions about this and other important Tigers matters.
What did Polanco do to get ejected?
I’m not really sure. I thought I saw him grappling a bit with Martinez at one point, but it kind of looked like he was restraining the guy, not trying to spike him in the spleen. Sheff, Carmona, and Martinez were all fairly obvious tossings… I guess there’s always one random in every brawl.
Where was Kyle Farnsworth?
This brawl was nowhere near as good as The Last Great Tigers Fight, and this is in a significant way attributable to the distinct lack of Kyle Farnsworth going crazy and beating the baseball out of some opposing player. We finally get the guy back on the team, we FINALLY have a brawl, and he’s a non-factor? No pile-drives? No unstoppable evasion of desperate coaches? No holding a dude down and punching his face until he looks like a hockey player? I am SORELY disappointed in you, Kyle.
Why are the Cleveland announcers so annoying?
Nowhere near as annoying as the Wrong Sox announcers, of course, but they were 128% convinced that Gary Sheffield was the root of all troubles in the world, that Fausto Carmona had done nothing wrong and was the most innocent victim in this entire thing, and other such homerisms. Sheff WAS the instigator, clearly, but come ON, Carmona was barking back at him and that’s what set him off in the end.
If he’d ignored Sheff then Sheff probably would have huffed and puffed and blown himself out, and after the game he would’ve made some overly generalized and vaguely racist comment about Latino players (again) and we all could’ve put this behind us without anyone getting so much as a jockstrap out of place.
Plus they kept saying, “That’s it! Thankyouverymuch!” whenever a Tigers pitcher was pulled, and it got obnoxious.
How sad is Armando right now?
Probably pretty sad. Poor guy bounced back from a couple of bad games and had himself another quality start, only to watch it overshadowed first by a bunch of men in spandex pants jumping on each other, and then overshadowed again by a bunch of men in spandex pants completely failing to hold a three-run lead. He pitched 7.2 innings and didn’t walk anyone and struck out five and got nothing for his troubles.
Will there be photos of rookie hazing?
THERE DAMN WELL BETTER BE. Granderson was in charge of outfits this season, and the following rookies were tormented with the following costumes:
Freddy Dolsi — French maid
Armando Galarraga — Cha Cha girl
Chris Lambert — Bridezilla
Clay Rapada — Female cop
Dusty Ryan — Caveman with a club
Dane Sardinha — Hercules
Jeff Larrish — She-devil
Matt Joyce — Neverland fairy
Curtis Granderson/ESPN.com blog
I would say that Sardinha and Dusty got off easy, but that really depends on whether or not their costumes include pants. Regardless: there had better be photos from someone, somewhere, and they had better be made available to the public. I’ve already seen/been traumatized by this year’s rookie hazing of the Red Sox and Padres kittens. The Tigers can’t fall down on the job.
The Race to .500!
is officially dead. With today’s loss there are NO SPARE LOSSES REMAINING and the Tigers are guaranteed to finish the season UNDER .500. Awesome. And by ‘awesome’ I mean ‘terrible’.
Saturday’s game is at 7:05 pm EDT, Justin Verlander vs. Jeremy Sowers. It will probably not be as entertaining as tonight’s game… unless Sheff is out there again and decides to exact the revenge he threatened in those quotes up above. You may want to watch for that. Go Tigers!