The Code was at work Saturday in Washington—and it worked perfectly.
There was Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips, pounding his chest in the eighth inning after dislodging the ball from Nationals catcher Wil Nieves on a play at the plate, the run he scored extending his team’s lead to 5-1.
There was Washington reliever Miguel Batista the following inning, placing a 93 mph fastball into Phillips’ ribs.
There was Phillips, failing even to flinch before jogging to first base without so much as acknowledging what had just happened. (Watch it here.)
Situation ignited, situation handled, situation resolved.
While telling reporters after the game that he plays with excitement, and that he didn’t see anything wrong with his actions, Phillips made sure to add that “if people think I did something wrong, I apologize to whoever thinks so. . . . They did their job and I did mine. Lesson learned.”
In the other clubhouse, Batista—who was ejected by umpire Joe West after hitting Phillips—held up his end of the bargain by denying all intent.
“No, just playing baseball,” he said in the Washington Post, when asked if he had meant to hit Phillips. “Everybody knows Phillips, you got to go way in and way out . . . and that one got away. I mean, he knows he did wrong. He got booed by the fans, so we’re here to win. We’re not here to be fine with everybody who do wrong against us. . . . If it looks suspicious, (West) has the right to throw me out, but he was the only one that thought it was intentional. ”
Batista would have benefitted from coordinating stories with his catcher.
“I think everybody in the ballpark kind of knew that that was going to happen,” Nieves told the Post. “So he got hit, and I thought he got hit where he was supposed to. Not in the head. Obviously, we don’t play like that. Miguel hit him in a good spot.”
“I’m pretty sure he knew he did it wrong,” he added. “Hopefully. And hopefully he won’t do it again.”