Whatever Richie Sexson was on, don’t try it at the next rave, oh band of grungeons.
“When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead…”
As fights go, it wasn’t much after the first few furious moments. But as base-brawls go, Mariners v. Rangers; Sexson v. Kevin Gabbard in the main ring, was one of the stranger events of the last decade, or so.
Sexson’s imminently, eminently, legendary meltdown on a pitch not even in the same Zip code as his head precipitated the big event. But it had been simmering for several innings, not to mention many games in the case of the not-so-merry M’s.
“And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow…”
Expected to compete for, if not flat-out dominate the AL West, Los Angels notwithstanding, the Mariners have been dreadful. Can’t score a lick. Which should make for a grand round of nothing ball next week when that other grand underachiever and offensive underling, the San Diego Padres, come to town for the overheated annual cross-league rivalry (not) next week. But, we digress.
Coming into the pugilistic outburst about when “Lost” got found Thursday night, May 8, the maniacal Mariners had rocked the cellar at Davy Jones’ locker with the grand tamale of zero runs in the previous 15 innings, or so; one run in three games.
Coincidental with giving up an Ian Kinsler home run, and some other collateral damage, Felix Hernandez asserted his keys to the kingdom by hitting two, including Kinsler, who was not amused in the least, but refrained.
Nerves were frayed, but let’s make this perfectly clear. The pitch thrown by Gabbard was high.
“Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall…”
But that was about all.
A little lower and the ball actually would have been a strike. As it passed the plate, nowhere near Sexson, he immediately flung his bat and sped to the mound.
Gabbard had that deer-in-the-headlights glare. As with Claude Rains in “Casablanca” he appeared shocked, he’d tell you, shocked. Maybe he shouldn’t have been. Sexson’s attack was premeditated, no doubt about it. This was the inner hockey player in him causing a little havoc to try to right the Mariners’ sinking ship.
“Go ask Alice
I think she’ll know…”
Most shocking was the helmet toss portion of the event. As Rangers announcer Tom Grieve — during an also now-legendary mic meltdown — correctly surmised, Sexson throwing his helmet at Gabbard before he tackled the poor guy was well beyond the pale. Not quite Marichal on Roseboro, but nowhere near kosher.
(Grieve got on a roll with about a dozen dartful zingers at Sexson during the event; everyone has their favorite by now, mine: “If he’s going to hit a hitter, he’s going to hit a good hitter.” And something to the effect, Sexson couldn’t hit the side of a boat. Meantime, Mike Blowers on the Mariners broadcast side, effusively praised Sexson for firing up the team. Sort of Obama-Clinton light.).
“And the Red Queen’s ‘off with her head!’
Remember what the dormouse said…”
And then the scrum materialized. High-low-lights included Hernandez ranting and raving near the mound. Several teammates had to fake restrain him. And in the far corner, Eddie Guardardo made a rare appearance on his old home field — two actually, for he also pitched — serving as ringmaster/peacemaker. Next stop: Beirut.
Slipping from the sublime to the ridiculous, however, was the amazing display by, who else, Milton Bradley, no ingenue in this set drama.
Bradley swooped catcher-clad Gerald Laird clear off the ground and carried him away — superhero fashion — from the WWE Raw ring. Bradley angrily lectured Laird, and all who would listen, to steer clear of fight club. Incredible, considering how Bradley finished on the disabled last year. That following his own bizarre argument with an umpire — the ump actually got suspended over it — punctuated by Padres manager Bud Black wrestling him to the ground to save him from certain ejection.
Speaking of the DL as in just off it, Gabbard stayed in the game for a couple of hitters (ball, not body) following the ‘in flagrante’ moment, then left with another apparent injury. Sexson, obviously, was ejected. So flagrant was his meltdown, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him suspended for seven games, or so.
Was there method to his madness? Not so obviously, mojombos. The Mariners were shut down and shut out yet again. The scoreless steak is 22 innings, scoreless if one doesn’t count the helmet toss event.
“Remember what the dormouse said;
‘FEED YOUR HEAD…FEED your head…”