By Chris Murray
To me, the best revenge in sports or in anything in life is success or winning the next time you take the field or court. If you’re a team or an athlete and you feel aggrieved because you didn’t get the right ranking or your opponent talk too much trash when he slammed dunked on you or your opponent, who was already up by three touchdowns with one minute left, scores one more touchdown to run up the score, don’t get mad or complain.
The next time you take the field—defeat your opponent on the field, win the game, stop your opponent from slam dunking. Keep your opponent from catching the ball or scoring a touchdown. Folks become awfully quiet and have very little to say when they’re getting their butts kicked. When New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis shut down Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco in the 2009 AFC Wildcard playoff game, the silence from Mr. Ochocinco was deafening. Shhhhhhhhh!
Then you have the spring training “bean”ball incident involving San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito and Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. Zito plunked Fielder with a weak 78-mile an hour fastball apparently in retaliation for a staged celebration by Fielder after a walkoff win in a game last September
In that game, Fielder hit a game-winning homerun in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Brewers a 2-1 win over the Giants. With his jubilant teammates awaiting him at home plate, Fielder did a flying leap on to home plate. At the point, his teammates playfully fell to the ground in unison like bowling pins to complete the celebration.
Apparently that didn’t sit too well with the Giants who thought Fielder was being disrespectful and showing up their team. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Brewers manager Ken Macha even apologized to San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy at this year’s winter meetings saying he didn’t approve of the celebration.
And in that time-honored code of baseball that says if you show up a pitcher then you must expect a ball to come flying at your head or back. It’s something that we’ve seen in baseball for a million years or so. It’s apart of the tradition and heritage of the game.
To me, it is a whiney, wimpy, crybaby tradition that needs to go the way of the dinosaur. Don’t blame Fielder and his teammates for celebrating a win. Don’t get mad at Fielder if your relief pitcher serves up a gofer ball in an extra-inning game that you need to win to get into the postseason. Take the loss and the other team’s celebration like a man. Again, you want to stop Fielder from celebrating, how about striking him out or getting him to ground out. We’re not even having this discussion if the Giants pitcher keeps Fielder from getting a hit.
Throwing the ball at the batter’s back in retaliation for your pitcher’s failure to stop the other guy from going yard on you is just petty, childish and makes you look like an old punk.
Meanwhile, Fielder showed no indication that he had no remorse for what he did and nor should he. He told a Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel reporter that getting hit in the back was worth him doing that celebration: “Hell yeah, 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.”
To Fielder’s credit he didn’t charge the mound or point his finger at the pitcher. In fact, he casually tossed the ball back to Zito like it was no big thing.
Another sour grapes incident this year was with Dallas Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking who bitched and moaned about Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings running up the score with a late touchdown when the game was already out of reach.
My question to Brooking would have been where was all that passion and anger when Favre was picking your defense apart throughout the entire game? How about stopping Favre and the Vikings within the allotted 60-minute time-frame. Don’t wait until you get in the locker room and don’t wait until the game is out of hand to complain about other team’s lack of class for putting an emphatic butt whuppin’ on you.
The way to get even with somebody who conducts a planned celebration in the end zone or after a walk-off homerun is to simply beat them. Your opponent is not going to do much styling and profiling when you’re giving them a butt whuppin. Winning and stopping your opponent is the best way to establish field justice.