After being hit with a 3-2 pitch in a close game on last Thursday night, San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin charged after Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke, breaking the pitcher’s collarbone. The injury is expected to keep Greinke out at least a couple of months.
It’s puzzling to think that Quentin could think that he was thrown at intentionally. No team had a substantial lead. It was not early in the count. If Greinke wanted to hit him, why would he wait until the count was full?
It comes down to ego.
No one wanted to be shown up in that moment. The natural reaction to being hit with a projectile moving at over 90 mph is to be a little upset, so Quentin immediately stared Greinke down. Greinke then yelled something at him, Quentin sprinted towards the mound, and the Dodgers lost their $147 million starter for quite some time.
This is not the first ego related injury. One took place during the 1951 World Series between the New York Yankees and the New York Giants.
Hall of Fame Yankees catcher Bill Dickey called Mickey Mantle the greatest prospect he had ever seen.
There was nothing Mantle couldn’t do. He hit from both side of the plate for power and average. He stole bases and was among the game’s best defensive center fielders.
When he was coming up through the Yankees system, with all that hype, one player didn’t like it. He felt like at the age of 36, he was being pushed out the door. His name was Joe DiMaggio.
In Game 2 of the 1951 World Series, Willie Mays led off the fifth inning with a shot to center field. Both DiMaggio and Mantle, who was playing right field at the time, both went after the ball. With both men closing in on each other, DiMaggio called Mantle off. “The Mick” stopped immediately and his foot got caught in an underground sprinkler. The young phenom fell to the ground, spraining his knee, and was done for the series.
There are many who believe that DiMaggio did this intentionally because he knew there was a good chance Mantle would hurt himself. This was the first of many injuries that plagued Mantle’s career.
The Greinke injury is stupid. There’s no other way to put it. But let’s not act like this is something new.
MLB players are the best in the world and they know it. And they refuse to be outdone or embarrassed by anyone, be it an opponent or a teammate.
Last Thursday’s incident was ugly and unnecessary, as was that play in ’51. However, as long as players have large egos (which they will), these sort of incidents will continue.