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Harper vs Strickland?

May 30, 2017

So I watched the replay of the brawl yesterday. Let me caveat this entire thing by saying I know neither of the guys involved. I’ve met Buster but it was never more than a handshake hello. Never heard a bad word about the guy and in some places, people see him as one of the faces of baseball. Most certainly in SF.

If you’re an athlete, fireman, police officer or soldier you’ll understand to some degree what I am about to say. When you earn that spot in the Lockerroom, clubhouse, office or barracks it’s a pretty sacred thing.

That’s your ‘home’ away from home and that ‘team’ is your 2nd family. You are one of the few that earned the right to be there, and that’s not a trivial thing.

Much like the real world, in your ‘house’ everything is on the table. For the most part, you are allowed and have to accept, being made fun of, making fun of, and ragging on everyone.

It’s like your family. You can say ANYTHING about your sister, but if someone outside your family does? They get a beating.

Many times you hear folks talk about retirement and what they miss and most of the time you hear ‘I miss being around my teammates’. 99% of what you say and hear is not publishable, but it is both hilarious and fun.

When you consider the cultural diversity inherent in the makeup of a team, squad, unit etc. it’s almost a necessity.

Why? First off as an athlete there’s the pressure to compete at a level people can’t fathom, every single game, and win. Some guys it eats up, some guys it does not. The city you play in can present challenges, like Boston, NY, Philly and some others.

It’s why the atmosphere is so ‘immature’ and high school like. It’s a way to relieve stress and a way to make EVERYONE feel they’re a part of something.

I won’t compare anything athletically to the others. A fire house, police station, or barracks on base. The difference is when athletes make mistakes we let our teammates, and our fans down. When the others make mistakes people die. No comparison in real world outcomes.

But that’s not to say all involved don’t have an extreme passion, and a skillset, to win.

Why am I going through all this? I want folks to understand how vital ‘belonging’ in that clubhouse is.

There were a few things I went into the game with and wanted to leave the game with. My teammate’s respect and loyalty were the two most important. Never in my career did I intentionally try to jeopardize either. I’ve talked ad nauseam about the ‘towel’ in 1993 and my reaction when told what it appeared to look like.

In my 22 years in sports, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Mitch was probably the teammate I liked the least, and I’m sure that was reciprocal. However, and this is the only part that really matters, there is not one situation ever when I wouldn’t have defended my teammate, any teammate, in a bench clearing brawl. my

Any issues we had were taken care of BEFORE 7:05 every night because when the bell rang it was about the name on the front of the jersey until the very last out.

Which leads me to the other day. In my life, starting around age 5 until I retired, I’ve never ever seen what I saw the other day. I’ve been in more than my share of bench clearers, but I never remember seeing a catcher stand still, and not protect his pitcher. It’s actually the catchers only job in that instance.

Now let me add this. Scott might have very well told them before the game he was going to do it. If he did that’s a chicken shit move. You don’t drill folks because you sucked. You drill guys to retaliate for your teammates and protect them during the game.

If he DID tell them, I would expect at least one person in the clubhouse to stand up and say “screw that. You want to fight on the playground take that shit outside.” It is and always will be about winning the game. You’ll get your chance if you were truly wronged. Pimping a home run has consequences. Being pissed you served it up can too.

Drilling someone for crushing you is both selfish and dangerous and not just for you.

Hell if someone drills a Giant player, that player should do whatever they do, and then confront the idiot that made it all possible.

I remember Darren Daulton telling a young pitcher “Listen if you can’t pitch inside don’t. Because if you fuck up and I get hit, after I beat the pitcher’s ass I’m coming in here to beat yours.”

I expected to hear that after the game Strickland had confronted Posey or something like that.

But the clubhouse, a good clubhouse, a winning clubhouse abides by the golden rule.

“What you see here, what you say here, what you do here, let it stay here when you leave here”.

So yes I was stunned when I watched the replay and saw Buster Posey standing with his hands on his hips. You don’t check medical history, or use any excuse other than “sorry I didn’t punch him hard enough’.

You live with these guys, you work and win, and lose, with these guys. Ask anyone, you want to be able to stand in that clubhouse, look around at the other guys and KNOW for a fact you have their backs and they have yours. There is no excuse, ever, for that not to be the case.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2017 11:06 pm

    hey curt, scott strickland retried in 2010 or so. the strickland who beaned bryce is named hunter.

  2. May 31, 2017 7:03 am

    Totally agree Curt. Posey was a punk – regardless of his medical history and personal feelings for Strickland, the dude should have at least gotten in the fray. For crying out loud, he’s the only dude wearing armor!

  3. May 31, 2017 10:49 am

    Good stuff, Curt.

  4. May 31, 2017 2:35 pm

    “Scott might have very well told them before the game he was going to do it. If he did that’s a chicken shit move.”

    Who’s “Scott”?

  5. July 1, 2017 6:38 am

    Curt,

    You are “old school” and I completely understand what you say about the law of the clubhouse.

    But that law was established at a time when ballplayers made comparative peanuts.

    There are many things about today’s game that have changed. A lot of these changes have come about because of one factor: money.

    Most baseball brawls resemble rugby scrums where players grab and scratch and roll around the field in what is anything but a real fight. To risk physical injury – and possibly lost income via injury – in such a stupid spectacle is just not rational.

    If I had been Buster, I would have tackled Bryce Harper and said, “Bryce, this just isn’t worth it. Calm down. Take first base. And if you steal second on this dumb sunovabitch, you’ll get no complaint from me.”

  6. August 7, 2017 10:28 am

    Curt, caveat is a noun, not a verb (sorry,, can’t resist.) Great Daulton quote, though. RIP

  7. August 15, 2017 11:09 pm

    Hey Curt,

    I am a former MiLB player w/ the Angels and Red Sox and spent 4 years in player development with the Yankees. I am reaching out to see if you might want to be a part of an event for my foundation. Back on 2011 I started The Gimme 4 Foundation when a very good friend of mine was diagnosed with Duodenal Cancer. Since then we have raised over $300k for cancer patient assistance. December 8-9 we will host the 6th Annual Gimme 4 Celebrity Golf Weekend at Lake Wales Country Club in Lake Wales, FL and it would be an honor to have you come and join us. Not only as an extremely decorated big leaguer but as a cancer survivor. We love having survivors in the room. If you think you could make it to the event, give me a shout. My cell is (239)229-7286. I can tell you that you definitely won’t regret it, as it is an emotion packed weekend!! I really hope you can attend. God bless and GIMME 4!!

    Justin Turner, Founder
    The Gimme 4 Foundation
    (239)229-7286
    gimme4inc@yahoo.com

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