It took three years, but Giants reliever Hunter Strickland finally got revenge against Nationals wunderkind Bryce Harper. Monday afternoon Strickland drilled Harper with a fastball in apparent retaliation for serving up two monster home runs to Harper during the 2014 NLDS. Monday was the first time the two had faced since then.
You know what happened next.. It was an actual brawl too, with punches. It wasn't a typical "lots of yelling and standing around" baseball brawl. Here's the video:
One thing you may have noticed in the video was a lack of Buster Posey.
In situations like this, the catcher usually gets between the hitter and the pitcher, or at the very least is one of the first to arrive to the brawl on the mound. That didn't happen with Posey. Here's where he was when Harper got to Strickland:
And here's Posey standing back, away from the crowd during the brawl:
Huh, that's weird. Like I said, the catcher is usually one of the most involved players because of his proximity to the brawl. He's either between the hitter and pitcher, or among the first to arrive on the scene. Not Posey on Monday though.
I have a few possible theories about why Posey decided to stay back and basically avoid the brawl all together:
- He knew Strickland deserved it for throwing at Harper intentionally.
- He was tired from a long day behind the plate and didn't feel like getting involved in a brawl with Harper.
- He knows he's going to get a fastball to the ribs in retaliation at some point and didn't want to make things worse.
- He's a peaceful man and knows the best way to protest brawls is with non-violence.
- He missed time with a concussion last month and didn't want to risk getting bonked on the head.
No. 5 sounds most plausible to me. For what it's worth, here's what Posey told reporters, including KNBR's Sam Hustis, about the brawl after the game:
"Well I mean after it happened, I kind of saw Harper's point," Posey told reporters following the Nationals 3-0 win. "Next thing you know, he's going out after him. Those are some big guys tumbling around on the ground.
"You see Mike Morse, is about as big as they come, and he was getting knocked around like a pinball. So…be a little dangerous to get in there sometimes."
So there you have it. Posey avoided the brawl out of self-preservation. Smart! Even though it didn't look so great on the field.