“Vic has to go unless he wants his teammates to call him chicken.” – Charlie Manuel
12 days of sporting chaos. From retro night at the Phillies game (a blogger’s dream) to Dry Island to NFL free agency to Nnamdi, Pence, and a Phillies winning streak… it’s been a busy two weeks. So you can imagine my excitement as Ms. CB and I nestled on the couch in Ocean City to relax and watch your Fightin’ Phils beat up on the Giants. Literally, it turned out.
As a Blue Moon Honey Wheat teetered on the edge of disaster at the friendly end of my slunken right arm, I watched Ramon Ramirez needlessly plunk Shane Victorino. It was at that point I knew I was going to have to Zapruder this shit.
We've put the Phillies and Giants broadcasts side-by-side so you can see everything. The videos are – obviously – smaller in size when doing it this way, but splicing in the Giants’ footage allows us to see a few things we wouldn’t have otherwise… like Victorino bum rushing an unidentified Giant and Carlos Beltran strolling in as the last player to enter the fold.
Displaying a complete misunderstanding of the unwritten rules of baseball, Ramon Ramirez decides to take his frustration out on the small of Shane Victorino’s back. Victo, who is absolutely the last guy on the Phillies to take this sort of thing in stride, performs a quick two-step toward Ramirez, who is already on his way down the mound. Quickly gathering himself with a Zack Morris-esque we’re cool here wipe of the mouth, Victo pulls up just as Eli Whiteside and his grey hair get in front of him. This should have been the end of it.
Captain Grey Hair leaves Victorino and bounces around the infield like a prize fighter before a heavyweight bout. I’m not sure if it is to prove his worth or because Just For Men doesn’t work, but Whiteside wants to throw down. He was apparently the only guy in the theatre who stood up and cheered when Waingro needlessly killed the guard in Heat. Things just got ratcheted up a bit.
Thankfully, Whiteside (are we going to pretend his name isn’t ironic?) found a willing partner in 72-year-old Placido Polanco, who enters this fight with a bad back, suspect elbow, and an already swollen head.
As Polly comes over from first base, with about 70% enthusiasm and 30% shit, I'm closest, Whiteside drops a shoulder and removes him from the line of scrimmage- a move eerily reminiscent of the one performed by mailroom guy in Road Trip. Ya wanna go?
Shit just got real. Dugouts empty.
Unfortunately, at this point, both broadcasts cut to the same wide shot, making it very difficult to see which players were part of the first wave. At about the 13 second mark, we can see that Rollins, Ibanez, Mayberry, and Pence (love you), were all in the mix.
We’re in a holding pattern. Players gather around Polanco, Grey Top, and some of the other early arrivals. Cameras can’t see anything good, but we see a myriad middle-aged men holding Victo back: home plate umpire Mike Mulchinski, a Giants coach, and Greg Gross are all doing their best to keep this from escalating. Replays later show that Victo is probably going to get suspended for pushing Mulchinski aside.
At :35, Gross spots Victo with said Giants coach and looks at them the way jealous boyfriends look at their girlfriends in crowded bars. This was his dance.
For the next nine seconds, we see Gross and the Giants coach wrestle for the right to clutch Victo. Meanwhile, over in the fray, Cliff Lee looks like he wants to kill somebody:
Nice hair, Eli
Victo escapes the embrace of Gross, rushes into the pile, and barrel rolls an unidentified Giant- we’ll see this more clearly in an ensuing replay.
The fire is now stoked and, consequently, we’re treated to this amazing screen grab:
Left: Predictably, Brian Wilson is all bark and no bite.
Left-center: Ryan Howard. That is all: Ryan Howard.
Upper-right: There is real good chance that Cliff Lee is sawing somebody’s head off.
Right-center: Chooch is snapping. He’s living out a lifelong fantasy to play the role of Chino, the youngest member of the Sharks in West Side Story. This is all getting surreal.
Lower-right: Dave Righetti has Gross by the arm. Apparently, there’s protocol that coaches only tangle with coaches.
Just moments later, Guillermo Mota reaches into the pile and removes Victo’s helmet. I suppose this is the baseball equivalent of reaching into a scrum in hockey and giving a guy a facial.
Charlie rescues Victo from the mess, effectively ending the live portion of our coverage. Victo is still in all his UFC glory:
At 1:12, you will see that Cole Hamels wanted no part of this.
Oswalt, Howard, and Pence leave the scrum. Howard and Pence just finished hand-to-hand combat, Oswalt is carrying Cody Ross’ head to mount on his wall. He flashes his trademark smile:
"I'm going to mount this clown right above my bed"
More standing around.
2:25 and onward: Replays
2:35: Pence is gangsta. He indeed got between Aubrey Huff and the Polanco-Whitehair embrace. All you see is arms and legs, like a deer defending his honor.
2:45: Billmeyer scampers in. He was built for this.
2:52: Carlos Beltran is absolutely the last player in. He’s beat out by both benches, the entire Phillies bullpen – who sits behind him – and Bill Slowsky. I think the Phillies made the right trade.
2:59: Perfect angle for Victo’s barrel roll.
We learned many things today: Victorino is crazy. Lee, Pence, Ibanez, Howard, and Rollins won’t back down from anyone. Hamels and Brian Wilson don’t like violence. And Charlie will always, always fight for his guys. But mostly we learned that the Giants are sore losers.
Here is video of Victorino, Manuel, and Bruce Bochy talking about the skirmish.
Yeah, this rivalry just reached a new level.