What Would Jackie Robinson Have Done to Get Even?

Dodgers and fans irate at Padres' Carlos Quentin over costly brawl

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke is examined by team trainer Sue Falsone with manager Don Mattingly, left, and coach Davey Lopes looking on moments after the Thursday night brawl that left Greinke with a broken left collarbone -- the result of trying to take on the Padres' Carlos Quentin who rushed he mound after being hit by a pitch. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

    “I hope Quentin is wearing a cup Monday night.”

    That’s what lifelong Dodger fan Timothy Hughes posted on Facebook, referring to San Diego Padre Carlos Quentin, whose Thursday night mound charge resulted in starter Zack Greinke’s broken collarbone -- an injury that likely sidelines him until June.

    The Padres come to Dodger Stadium to start a series Monday night, and Dodger fans want Quentin hurt where it hurts a man most, if not blood itself.

    That means that in fans’ eyes, the Dodgers-Padres series this year has suddenly become a blood feud, overshadowing the Jackie Robinson tribute night originally planned for Monday icollaboration with the release Friday of the film “42.”

    Even the Dodgers, on the team’s official Twitter site, didn’t wait long Friday morning to warn the

    Padres, “See you on Monday in Los Angeles.”

    “If there wasn't (a blood feud) before,'' Greinke told reporters as he licked his wounds after Thursday night’s brawl, “there probably is now.”

    So it will be Jackie Robinson Night, and the fans will be armed with commemorative dolls that the film’s promotion bosses will be giving away of Robinson and Brooklyn Dodgers teammates Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella.

    But on further consideration, a blood feud is exactly what the intensely competitive Jackie Robinson might have wanted.

    Of course, Dodger fans might be disappointed to know that it likely won’t be Quentin shedding any blood or having his jewels crushed.

    On Monday, he’ll certainly be serving some suspension handed down by Major League Baseball.

    But the Dodgers now may be so angry, it won’t matter which Padre they plunk or dunk.

    Just look at Matt Kemp, the current team leader in anger and testosterone-ignited furies – two categories that should now be included in the ever-expanded baseball statistics.

    Certainly any teammate is bound to be furious at what happened to Greinke, but in Kemp’s case how much of that display stems from his frustration over what has become a disappointing early season for him as he tries to make a comeback from last August's shoulder injury that required surgery?

    And then there is Greinke, who is being roundly defended as an innocent in all this, except remember it was the 195-pound Greinke who – before Quentin charged the mound – threw down his glove angrily, daring the 240-pound Quentin to do something about it.

    As Thomas Boswell wrote in Friday’s Washington Post:

    “The difference between culpability and common sense can be enormous in sports. You can do nothing wrong yet lose your judgment in a split-second and pay a huge price for your unnecessary bravery.

    “Listen up, Zack Greinke. As your broken collarbone heals, and the Dodgers contemplate the fortune they agreed to pay you to pitch, not to fight giants, the moral will become clear.”

    Boswell wrote about the time in 1956 that 170-pound pitcher Ruben Gomez hit the Braves’ 210-pound Joe Adcock. When Adcock charged the mount, Gomez fled for safety, finally taking refuge in his Giants’ dugout.

    “Think twice before engaging a man who hits home runs for a living and outweighs you by 40 pounds.” Boswell advised Greinke. “At such times, morality and causality are not important. Your intent is irrelevant. History is moot. Only physics matters.”

    But poor Zack Greinke is not alone in the blame game. There is fault to be shared.

    Catcher A.J. Ellis, where were you as Quentin was glaring and stepping toward the mound instead of first base after being hit?

    How many times have we seen catchers in similar circumstances – Russell Martin did this often and still does – move quickly in front of the batter and sacrifice their bodies to protect their pitchers?

    A.J. Ellis, though, doesn’t strike me as someone ready to sacrifice himself when he doesn’t need to, and maybe that's one of the things the newly acquired veteran Ramon Hernandez can show him.

    Think back on the passed ball Wednesday night when Ellis muffed a 1-2 pitch curveball that struck out Chris Denorfia but got away from the Dodger catcher on what should have been the third out.

    Suddenly, the Dodgers found themselves with a one-run lead, the potential tying and winning runs on base, and close to blowing the game.

    The Dodgers, all of them, will have to get tougher and smarter. And they can count themselves already lucky in one way.

    Only nine games into the season, the Dodgers find themselves 6-3 and looking good in the standings -- and they have to be thankful that two of their three series this young campaign have been against the Pirates and the Padres, two of the league's worst teams, Carlos Quentin notwithstanding.

    So there is more than a blood feud to look forward to in the Padres coming to town.