Well, there you have it. Barry Zito‘s first pitch to Prince Fielder got it done.
Fielder reacted entirely appropriately, flipping the ball to Zito and trotting to first, despite the clear intention behind the pitch, as response to Fielder’s antics last September. (The fact that Zito only throws 85 mph didn’t hurt; watch the video here). ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick cited Torii Hunter‘s statement after Fielder’s original display: “If I was a pitcher, I’d be [ticked] off. My mouth would be wide open. I’d be shocked. Baseball is not like the NFL, where you can celebrate in the end zone. You’ve got to keep your cool, play the game. You can’t do that.”
It seems that Fielder understands that, now. After the game, he went so far as to tell media members, “If that’s what they’ve gotta do, that’s what they’ve gotta do. Let them hit me once, and if that makes them feel better, that’s awesome. Now we can just play baseball.”
Which is exactly the point of the Code. Zito stood up for his guys and earned some love in his home clubhouse. Fielder knew that he was a likely target today. And now everybody can move on.
Are we really only one day into the spring schedule?