I love the fact that Everth Cabrera, who played with the Tri-City Dust Devils in 2007, is playing in the majors right now.
Even more, I love that he's with the Padres, a team I grew up watching in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista. He's played well enough down there for fans to consider him their shortstop of the future, and they sure do love him. As a matter of fact, my sister Erin tells me that the Padres are planning an Everth Cabrera bobblehead night on August 28.
A rather cruel thought entered my head when I heard that. Since Cabrera has spent so much time on the disabled list over the last couple years, I wondered if the doll would come with a pair of crutches.
Anyway, I was looking over the day's highlights and saw that Cabrera and Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks nearly came to blows during the Padres' 6-4 win Sunday in San Diego. Cabrera got picked off of third base, and he and Reynolds got tangled up after the tag was made.
Cabrera was ejected from the game by third-base umpire Dana DeMuth after the flare-up, which caused both benches to empty.
I guess you could argue that Cabrera did kick up his right heel with a little too much force (at the 1:08 mark of the tape) after Reynolds rolled on top of him. But Cabrera isn't known for being a dirty player, so I'll give him some benefit of the doubt as to whether it was intentional or not. Still maybe the frustration from being picked off third got to him in a heated moment.
The incident reminds me of the time I first saw a bench-clearing brawl. And thinking back, this was a pretty big deal, because it was Dave Winfield charging Nolan Ryan during a 1980 game in San Diego. I knew there were fights in baseball, but I had never seen one in person.
I can remember being pretty upset by the sight of one of my favorite players charging the mound with intent to hurt somebody. I was sitting down the third base line, and I can still recall seeing Winfield throw this haymaker of an overhand right as he got to the mound, and then everybody just kind of disappeared into a mass of bodies.
I have to admit, as much as that upset me back then, there's part of me that wouldn't mind seeing a tape of that incident. I've heard Ryan admit that he changed his philosophy about how he handled charging batters after that.
"If Dave Winfield had hit me, he could have messed me up. I mean, really messed me up," Ryan said. "I said to myself back then that I wasn't going to give anybody else that opportunity. If they come out to the mound, they come out with an intent."
I'm sure Robin Ventura would love to thank Winfield for Ryan's change of heart. Here's what happened when Ventura charged Ryan in a game 13 years later.