Retaliation

Follow-Through Mania: When Swings Get Loopy, Things Get Touchy

Dickerson swingsSo Manny Machado isn’t the only guy around with a lethal backswing. At least there appears to have been no reason for Corey Dickerson to have unleashed his with intention.

During the follow-through of an eighth-inning swing Thursday, Dickerson’s bat collided with Braves catcher Gerald Laird’s mask with enough force to knock the catcher—in concert with a foul ball that had ricocheted off his head just two pitches earlier—from the game. (Watch it here.)

Maybe it’s Machado’s fault, and that folks around baseball are particularly keyed up about this subject, but on the very next pitch, Braves right-hander David Carpenter drilled Dickerson on the hip with a 95-mph fastball. Rockies manager Walt Weiss was upset enough by this to get thrown out for storming the field in anger toward the pitcher.  (Watch it here, from a Rockies broadcast crew with no small amount of bias.)

The bad feelings actually started Wednesday, when Braves right-hander Julio Teheran hit Josh Rutledge with a pitch that bounced off his shoulder and knocked the helmet from his head. After Carpenter hit Dickerson, Weiss was heard (and caught on video) shouting from his side of the field, “We owe you two.”

It is reasonable to be inspired to anger at the sight of a teammate laying face first on the ground, as Laird had been just moments earlier, but Carpenter needed to be more cognizant of the situation. There appears to be little chance that Dickerson intended to hit Laird; as Weiss said after the game in an MLB.com report, “If you think a guy can foul a ball off and at the same time hit the catcher on a backswing on purpose, you’ve got no clue.”

Plate ump Jordan Baker wasted no time ejecting Carpenter after Dickerson’s HBP, which should have been enough to mollify Weiss, at least for the time being. The Rockies had been victimized by a pitcher using an extremely loose interpretation of the unwritten rules, and that pitcher had been punished by the actual rules. Weiss, though, wanted more.

Colorado got back one of Weiss’ two in the following frame, when, with the Braves losing 10-3 and down to their final out, reliever Nick Masset hit Laird’s replacement, Evan Gattis. Masset was ejected, just moments before his replacement, Matt Belisle, closed things out.

The teams don’t see each other again this season, which would have almost certainly been occasion for further response. Now we’ll just have to see what kind of memory Weiss has when it comes to this sort of thing.

Update (6/17): Masset’s been docked three games.

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