Friday, April 19, 2013

Anger in the Hearts of Men: The Penance of Carlos Quentin

The heart of a man is like a minefield. There may be a thousand steps taken, but the one that is remembered most is that which triggered the mine. Sometimes our emotions are an easy stroll. In some instances, we may force all of our weight down upon that detonator. Off it goes, casting a lawless mob of shrapnel into the peaceful sky. One week ago, Carlos Quentin completed a swan dive from the top plank onto an explosive, set and armed by Zack Greinke.

When Quentin rushed the mound after Greinke's pitch got up close and personal with his left arm, he voided the voice in his head that pleaded him to take his base and move on. Benches cleared and fists flew like gnats in a swarm, sparingly hitting their mark. Soon the bubble burst and the men were separated, much to the dismay of the crowd at Petco Park in San Diego. But the fight itself is not the issue for discussion. The result was an eight game suspension for Quentin, and a broken collar bone for Greinke. Especially for a pitcher, the recovery time for an injury such as this is better measured in months than anything else. Greinke, as fate would have it, became the highest paid pitcher in history this offseason before Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander completed their deals.

The incident apparently bled to the parking lot, where Quentin and Dodgers' star outfielder Matt Kemp allegedly got into a heated verbal exchange. Hearsay is a delicate needle to thread. I didn't see the incident in the parking lot. Fortunately, what transpired on the field is printed in bold black ink from coast to coast in every publication's sports bureau.

I needed to take some time from this story to ponder the ramifications of this incident. Quentin will soon be free from his short suspension. Los Angeles will not see their $200 million man for months. How is this fair? Seemingly this event could cost the Dodgers a playoff spot. The Padres would likely overachieve at 70 wins. Perhaps in situations involving on-field fights, there should be an eye-for-an-eye type punishment; Quentin cannot return until Greinke pitches again. Even then, the advantage falls San Diego's way, as they are not likely to contend in the way Los Angeles should.

Carlos Quentin. A man who once punched a baseball bat, injuring his hand and removing himself from the equation of a then contending White Sox club, has taken quite a few pitches to the body in his career. This was one too many I guess. Now he must wait. Surely his next visit to Chavez Ravine will not include a warm welcome. Perhaps retaliation is in the air for the next meeting. Still, the Dodgers can do what they please to Quentin. Nothing will bring Zack Greinke back any quicker.

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