Friday night, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was hit in the hand by a pitch from Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri. It came on an 0-1 pitch in the ninth inning of a 9-4 Pirates win with no one on base. There was no previous "bad blood" between the Pirates and Diamondbacks. Basically, I'm trying to say that I have no Earthly idea why Frieri would hit Goldschmidt on purpose. Here it is:
After the game, Frieri and the Pirates insisted that the pitch was an accident and I don't think we have any reason to doubt them. It wasn't ridiculously far inside and just rode in. It happens.
The problem, of course, is that Goldschmidt is Arizona's star and we found out Saturday that the pitch fractured a bone in his left hand. So he's likely out for the season now. And knowing the old-school -- to a fault, mind you, but we'll get to that in a second -- mentality of manager Kirk Gibson, this was about the least predictable thing to happen Saturday:
Look, I feel for Goldschmidt. He's a great player and from all accounts a great guy. It sucks that his hand has been broken, but it was an accident. Andrew McCutchen is one of the nicest and most mild-mannered guys in baseball (this I know from personal experience) and his reaction above, I believe, sums up what the reaction should be from pretty much everyone here.
The "retaliation" for an accident by Randall Delgado (likely coming in an order from his coaching staff) is a disgrace. And don't tell me it was anything otherwise. The first pitch to McCutchen came in hard and missed him. The next pitch was a breaking ball outside -- as if to throw the umpire and McCutchen off the scent. The third pitch you saw above. Plain as freaking day.
A move like this is akin to smashing into someone's car on purpose because he accidentally rear-ended you. A cook at a restaurant overcooks your steak? Poison him. Someone accidentally runs into you in a crowded hallway, punch him in the back of the head and then run away. Right?
What a joke.
To the Pirates' credit, they didn't start a little slap-fight with grandstanding while puffing out their chests to show everyone how tough they were. They didn't bother to retaliate. They just won the game. And they're the top NL wild card (well, tied with the Giants for both spots) right now at 59-51. The Diamondbacks? They're 48-63 and just lost 8-3. But at least they feel tough for drilling a dude in the middle of the back with a baseball. Because that's how real men show how manly they are. Right?
What a joke.
[Oh, and save your "must be a Pirates fan" nonsense, as you'll recall I defended the Brewers over the Pirates in a tiff in April]
Finally, we're about to see the Diamondbacks say the pitch got away. It'll happen. That's fine. They have to avoid being fined and suspended an excessive amount, but that doesn't change what actually happened. It was obvious and if you actually believe the pitch wasn't intentional, I've got some ocean front property in Indiana to sell you.