Carlos Quentin and Zack Greinke reacted the way competitive people frequently react.
Carlos Quentin and Zack Greinke reacted the way competitive people frequently react. They refused to give an inch, and when it was about to get out of hand, neither was willing to walk away. Quentin probably was halfway to the mound before he realized what he was doing. He was angry about being hit and convinced it was intentional.
And Zack Greinke reacted in kind, pretty much daring Quentin to keep coming.
Amid the hang-wringing and sermonizing, the truth is that little that occurred in Thursday’s Dodgers-Padres game was extraordinary. Stuff happens in the heat of battle, and it’s not always pretty.
No punishment, no rule change is going to change the way competitive people deal with one another in stressful situations. In a perfect world, Quentin would have dropped his bat and walked to first base, but sometimes players don’t react the way they would have if they’d had a few minutes to think about it.
It all happened in an instant. Two people going at one another in a close game. Greinke believes the inside portion of home plate belongs to him. Then again, so does Quentin.
In the second or two after Greinke plunked Quentin, something happened. Quentin instinctively took a step toward the mound. Greinke took a step toward him and said something.
If Greinke’s body language had been different, Quentin might have stopped. If someone had gotten between the two, Quentin might have thought better of starting something.
But that’s when all hell broke loose. Afterward, everyone said the stuff players and managers always say in these situations. The Dodgers said Greinke was throwing inside but not trying to hit anyone.
They pointed out that intentionally hitting an opponent in a one-run game in the sixth inning made no sense. But Quentin didn’t have time to go down his checklist of what made sense and what didn’t.
All he knew is that a guy with pinpoint control had hit him, and not for the first time. Quentin will be punished for charging the mound, and he understands that’s part of the deal.
Meanwhile, Greinke is gone indefinitely with a broken collar bone, the first blip on a Dodgers season that was off to a nice start. The Padres and Dodgers will play again next week at Dodger Stadium. Stay tuned.