Keeping the Focus Where it Belongs Tonight at Dodger Stadium

billingsley_insandiego_2013-04-10When the Dodgers take the field against the Padres tonight in Los Angeles, I think we can all expect an electric atmosphere, coming just days after the brawl that changed the season for both teams. Dodger fans, you can rightfully imagine, will be thirsting for revenge, both real or imagined. As Jon Weisman eloquently pointed out recently, cheering for blood at Dodger Stadium with the recent history there is unseemly at best; vile at worst.

But Zack Greinke won’t be in the game, and neither will Carlos Quentin. It’ll be Chad Billingsley on the hill when (most likely) Everth Cabrera steps into the box to open the game, and I think you can see where this is going…

Those two tweets, pulled at random out of dozens or hundreds like it, may refer to Billingsley specifically going at Quentin, but Quentin’s absence from the game won’t change the prevailing opinion of thousands of Dodger fans. Despite the fact that Billingsley had nothing to do with anything and neither did Cabrera, if that first pitch isn’t inside, the boos are going to rain down. Billingsley is going to be accused of “not sticking up for his teammates,” or “being a wimp” — we all know much stronger vernacular is going to be used in reality — and once again, the focus will be taken away from where it belongs: winning a baseball game against an inferior opponent. Fans are actually looking to buy Dodgers tickets just to witness the fireworks.

It’s almost unfortunate that it’s Billingsley on the mound and not anyone else, because he’s always been a target for this sort of thing. Yet people don’t even know why they think that about him, and few recall that it’s all because Bill Plaschke wrote yet another in a long career of idiotic, indefensible articles back in 2008, suggesting that a then 24-year-old Billingsley was lacking something in the manhood department for failing to throw at Phillies hitters after Brett Myers had done the same to Dodger batters.

What was lost, then and now, is that it was Game 2 of the NLCS with the Dodgers having already dropped Game 1, and Billingsley was just a bit more worried on, you know, getting the Dodgers to the World Series. He was pitching poorly enough as it was — he was yanked in the third inning with eight runs to his ledger — and yet the main concern was whether he’d “send a message”. Going on five years later, that’s somehow grown into a reputation, one that he’s unfairly worn.

Billingsley isn’t going to throw at Cabrera tonight, as he’s already made very clear in the press, or anyone else for that matter. That’s not because he’s less of a man. He won’t do it because he has half a brain in his head, and there’s almost no way this game gets going without the umpires pre-warning both benches. That means that if the umps even sniff the beginning of trouble, ejections are coming immediately. You want Billingsley to send a message? Then what you’re really saying is you want 8.2 innings out of the bullpen, and for Ted Lilly or Stephen Fife to make a start because Billingsley’s been suspended. That’s not good baseball; that’s foolish saber-rattling.

If you want a wrestling match, go watch the WWE. If you have the undying need to see someone you don’t know “prove his manhood,” well, you may have deeper problems than I can help you with. For me, the best revenge is the offense breaking out and the Dodgers crushing this team 17-0.

740 comments
Batted Bob
Batted Bob

Love Jackie Robinson facts on the Angles broadcast. Fact: He lettered in 4 sports at UCLA

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

Joe Blanton allowing a homerun just now made me feel a little better.

I Digesti
I Digesti

I was all set to get tickets to this game (along with the rest of my mini plan order), but I've been harassed enough by security and the police at the stadium that I'm not going to a game for at least a week.  Its really unfortunate that it happens.

Hope all your people in Boston are ok Mike.

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

I got offered a ticket for tonight and had to turn it down. School is such a bummer sometimes. 

@EephusBlue , I read your post on ptc, and I totally agree. I especially liked the part about how a small part of you loves a good fight, but the grown up in you has to put it aside and focus on the bigger picture. I think it's also important to note that with a couple exceptions, almost everyone on the Padres was out there trying to break up the fight, and none of them really defended Quentin's actions to the media. Going after one of them is not only dangerous, but it's completely unfair given that none of them did anything wrong. 

ThtsaPaddlin
ThtsaPaddlin

I lied.  Game is sold out and so are resellers. Dont feel like dealing with scalpers.

systemguy
systemguy

Just for to the stadium..feels like home

ThtsaPaddlin
ThtsaPaddlin

Wife just got furloughed.  Looks like we're headed up to the stadium. Seems like the right thing to do today.

Lobo
Lobo

@Catfishin I saw him play back when the Inland Empire 66ers were the Dodgers single A affiliate.  Kyle Russell, Pedro Baez, and Ethan Martin were all on that team too

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

@I Alivandi do you have neck tattoos or something? I've never really had issues with security, except one time when a guard was just being an asshole because he could. I'm white, so maybe it's one of those  things that's just a little easier for me? 

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

@ThtsaPaddlin my wife has been informed she is "essential" and thus will have to go to work unpaid if furloughs hit her department 

MotoMikey
MotoMikey

@Disgruntled Goat @ThtsaPaddlin  Always amazed by people who will do that, government employee?

  . . . .A company I once worked for (believe it or not a little while after this incident) bounced my paycheck, boss called me worried and surprised that I did not show up to work the next morning.

KMT59
KMT59

@I Alivandi @KMT59 @the_real_paul My wife has quite a few Iranian friends here in SD. The reason I said she and not we is because She never let's me out of the house to meet her friends ^_^

I Digesti
I Digesti

@DeucesWild @I Alivandi Yeah - it sucks.  I've actually paid attention to think its not just a bad day.  I get far more scrutiny and they get really snippy with me.  I once filed a complaint and had a nice woman from the front office come down and apologize.

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

@I Alivandi That just isn't right, I'm sorry for the crap you shouldn't have had to deal with

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

@Disgruntled Goat @EephusBlue @ThtsaPaddlin Goat we need certain parts of the government like the straight up heroes who are firemen. And others who provide vital logistical serves and things like that. They should be paid first and lawmakers last.