If nothing else, Giants pitcher Barry Zito added a little bit of drama to a spring training game by hitting Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder in the back with a pitch in an apparent retaliation for a choreographed home run celebration involving Fielder last season.
Last Sept. 6, Fielder hit a one-out, 12th-inning home run off Merkin Valdez to give the Brewers a 2-1 win over the Giants. As Fielder reached home plate, he jumped on the plate, causing his teammates to topple backwards as if they were bowling pins.
The planned celebration angered several Giants, and the payback came Thursday in Scottsdale.
With his first pitch to Fielder in the first inning Thursday, Zito hit Fielder square in the back.
“My fastball was running in, and it just got away from me,” Zito told the Associated Press.
Fielder appeared to let the plunking slide. Afterwards, he tossed the ball back in Zito’s direction and headed to first and clapped his hands.
“If that’s what they gotta do, let them hit me once, if it makes them feel better,” Fielder said.
OK, here’s Spash Hits take on this issue.
First, we’re glad the Giants took care of this in spring training, and not in the regular season.
Second, we expect that Fielder wasn’t too upset at the plunking because it was Zito throwing at him. If the Giants had announced that, say, Brian Wilson, would be starting on Thursday, Fielder may have a different opinion of the incident.
And finally, it’s six months later and Splash Hits is still upset about that game in Milwaukee. But it has nothing to do with Brewers’ celebration. Instead, we’re still upset with why Giants were pitching to Fielder with the bases empty and one out in the bottom of the 12th of a 1-1 game in the first place.