How can a hitter be certain that a pitch that just hit him wasn’t intentional? The pitcher’s reaction can play a reasonable role.
When Boston starter Steven Wright bounced an 87 mph floater off the side of Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello’s helmet on Sunday, he did nothing to hide his horror, immediately wincing, removing his cap and going into a shame-crouch on the side of the mound. He approached the plate, visibly distressed, as trainers tended to Colabello, and offered words of remorse to the hitter as he made his way to first base. (Watch it here.)
That was enough. Hell, it was more than many pitchers do—even pitchers who feel badly about similar situations. But Wright didn’t stop there.
When Colabello arrived at Fenway Park’s visitors clubhouse the following morning, he found a “large bottle of liquor” from Wright, per the Boston Globe.
“He didn’t have to,” Colabello said. “I’m sure that’s not cheap, too.”
It was a decent thing to do, however, and when it comes to poorly placed fastballs (and potential associated retaliation), decency can go a long way.