Did you know there's a "baseball jungle?" In Arizona, no less? As Chris Haft writes, there was today:
- Resorting to old-school laws of the baseball jungle, San Francisco left-hander Barry Zito plunked Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder in the back in Thursday's first inning to settle an issue that had irked the Giants all offseason.
Last Sept. 6, Fielder upset the Giants with a choreographed home-plate celebration after homering to end a 12-inning, 2-1 Brewers victory at Milwaukee. As Fielder reached home plate, his teammates fell as if they were bowling pins.
With Corey Hart on first base and two outs, Zito drilled Fielder in the back with a first-pitch fastball. Fielder seemed to expect Zito's hostility and apparently said nothing as he headed for first base -- though he picked up the ball that struck him and underhanded it insouciantly in Zito's direction.
For spring training, this definitely qualifies as Exciting Baseball Action.
While I can't really condone such activities, I also think 1) the Giants had a legitimate beef, and 2) as long as nobody's really hurt, where's the harm?
Then again, if nobody's hurt then what's the point? I mean, ostensibly the point is deterrence: Show us up and you'll get plunked with a fastball. But do you think Fielder thinks that nutty bowling-pins thing was worth a Zito fastball in the back? I do.