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Dodgers-Diamondbacks brawl is not some simple head game

June 12, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck

The head is a special place. It’s the body’s control center, the one area even baseball players can get a little touchy over.

It’s also the keeper of memories, which will likely make Tuesday’s brawl still more interesting down the road. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks play each other 11 more times this season.

The good news is, apparently, no one was seriously injured, though I suspect there will be some atypical baseball soreness Wednesday.

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Understand this, the Dodgers would not have been happy about Zack Greinke getting hit by a pitch under any circumstances. In their baseball minds, the score had been settled. The Diamondbacks hit Yasiel Puig, and they responded by hitting Miguel Montero. All even.

“It really should have been over at the point,” said Manager Don Mattingly.

But Ian Kennedy then hit Greinke. Pitchers don’t normally hit pitchers in these things. They’re sort of a protected animal. Like a goalie.

Yet if the Dodgers were upset that Greinke was hit, what really got their emotions boiling was that like Puig – hit in the face (nose) – Kennedy’s pitch came at his head.

“I’ve never seen a pitcher throw at two different guys’ heads before,” said utility man Skip Schumaker. “It’s dangerous. It’s different if it’s a beanball war.

“I’ve been part of those before. I get it. It’s part of the game. I like it. It gets guys going, gets the fans fired up. I get all that. I love it. But when you start throwing at guys’ heads, that’s different.”

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So the Dodgers stormed Arizona like it was Omaha Beach. Scrums everywhere. Fingers pointing. Necks with bulging veins. Punches thrown, bodies slammed against a railing, Mattingly tossing Diamondbacks coach Alan Trammell to the turf like he wanted a two-point takedown.

Mattingly actually claimed he didn’t remember the Trammell fracas.

“I don’t know, honestly,” he said. “I didn’t know Trammell was involved in anything.”

Players often don’t know who they end up against in these things. Somebody yells, somebody shoves, the next thing fists are flying.

“It’s going so fast you don’t really know what’s going on, who it is or what it is,” said reliever J.P. Howell, who was caught up with Arizona coach Turner Ward. “It could have been my best friend and I wouldn’t have even known it.”

What the Dodgers do know, is who was on the mound each time their player was thrown at. And that would be the same guy who last year continued an older skirmish, throwing twice at Clayton Kershaw, once up and in, and then later actually behind him. He missed both times.

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Now comes pitches thrown at the heads of Puig and Greinke.

“It’s from the same guy,” Schumaker said. “You make the call on that.”

Kennedy maintained he wasn’t throwing at anyone’s head.

“What he did to Miggy (Montero) was obviously not right,” Kennedy said. “I wanted to throw inside just kind of to send a message, but not to hit the guy, and it just kind of got away from me a little bit.”

If that’s what Kennedy is selling, I’m thinking the Dodgers won’t be buying.

“If you can’t pitch inside without hitting somebody in the head, then you shouldn’t pitch inside,” Mattingly said.

The two teams wrap up their three-game series Wednesday. Maybe cooler heads prevail, for now. Fines will no doubt be coming. Maybe even suspensions.

But these two teams have created a lot of bad history over the past two years. And their heads are full of memories.

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