Better pull that batting helmet over your ears, Melky
Wednesday, July 18
ATLANTA — Melky Cabrera had his fun during the Giants’ 9-4, 11-inning victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
But he probably shouldn’t get too comfortable in the batter’s box Thursday.
Cabrera, who spent what’s characterized as a less-than-happy season with Atlanta in 2010, aroused the Braves and their fans with various gesticulations he made in Wednesday’s game.
He teased Turner Field patrons in left field by throwing imaginary baseballs to them. After making a catch in left field in the sixth inning, he made what observers considered to be a taunting motion toward Braves baserunner Jason Heyward, who opted not to try to advance on the play. Finally, he celebrated a little too much for the Braves’ taste after Gregor Blanco drilled his three-run homer in the 11th inning.
The Braves noticed. Everything. Their icon, third baseman Chipper Jones, spoke dismissively of Cabrera to reporters.
“That’s Melky, and that’s why he’s not here anymore,” Jones said. “He got a little happy when I think Blanco hit the home run. That won’t be forgotten.”
The Braves won’t need long memories. They’ll probably try to settle the score with Cabrera early in Thursday’s game. Atlanta’s starting pitcher is scheduled to be Tim Hudson, who’s extremely well-versed in the laws of baseball’s jungle and isn’t hesitant to uphold protocol.
Simply put, expect Hudson to drill Cabrera with a pitch during the latter’s first plate appearance Thursday.
Whether hostilities will escalate remains to be seen. But Hudson, who’ll pitch the top of the first inning, is likely to set a tone of tension. Should the Giants choose to retaliate, Madison Bumgarner, their starter on Thursday, won’t back down from the challenge.
Teams mostly succeed in controlling their emotions during situations like this. But if things get out of hand, a genuine free-for-all could ensue. Be ready for anything.
– Chris Haft