Puig and Hundley Ejected In L.A. Scrap; Minors’ Best Game in Rancho Cucamonga

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Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday, August 15. It’s a pity the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles was torn down. It was the headquarters of weekly bigtime boxing. The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig and the Giants’ Nick Hundley got it on. The trouble was, they got it on at Dodgers’ Stadium among 48 of their fellow players.
The Dodgers and Giants have a seemingly endless history, going back to when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn and the Giants’ home games were at Brush Stadium, AKA the Polo Grounds. If anything their bench-clearing scrums were more common then, with the combatants meeting 22 times per season on the 154-game schedule. Now, with hundreds of miles of traffic between them, the Giants and Dodgers are hardly the Sharks and the Jets but every now and then somebody says or does something inflammatory and the gloves come off. Last night was one of those nights.
Conceivably the Dodgers were in a mood. They had lost the night before after their bull pen ruined an outstanding outing by Clayton Kershaw. Then again, Yasiel Puig doesn’t need a whole lot to get him hot under the collar. Whatever happened wasn’t obvious to the broadcasters or pencil press perched high above Dodger Stadium. With the count 1-2, the Giants’ Tony Watson threw a pitch which Puig fouled off. To the scribes upstairs, Puig appeared frustrated with fouling the pitch off. Later, (with the help of a translator) Puig said Giants’ catcher Nick Hundley wasn’t happy with Puig’s frustration over fouling the pitch off. Says Puig, Hundley told him to stop complaining and get back in the box. That I can readily believe, since Puig is a known complainer. He then claimed Hundley said a few English words which Puig refused to repeat. That rings hollow since he tells the world he doesn’t know a word of English. Hundley wouldn’t own up to saying anything inflammatory. Somewhere in their minds a bell rang and it was round 1.
Few baseball players would impress L.A. boxing fans with their punches. Puig and Hundley didn’t. They pushed and shoved as if it were more WWE than a Don King main event. Once they took to pushing and shoving, both benches and bull pens cleared in the wink of an eye. The Dodgers are struggling for a pennant, so none of them wanted Puig injured. The Giants are just struggling for respectability, so they hoped to protect one of the better players they’ve got, which is Hundley.
Naturally the fans ate it up. It was the most entertainment they’d had all night. If a scrum like that happened in New York, there could well be fisticuffs in the stands. In San Francisco, if Puig misbehaved there is at least a possibility he would have batteries thrown at him. Giants’ fans have been known to do that. In Los Angeles there was no audience participation. Ultimately order was restored with Puig and Hundley given the night off courtesy of the umpire. Both may expect to send a check to the league since an ejection always carries a fine though the league almost never discloses the amount.
Baseball’s other game to mention also occurred out west. James Paxton, who his teammates call “The Big Maple” was the starter, but not for long. It was “TIM—BER!” when a liner struck the big man on his pitching arm. As fate would have it, King Felix Hernandez was ready. He had been sent to the bull pen to see if he could get his old pitching form back. Making his first relief appearance, He lasted 5.2 innings in place of Paxton who had a date with an X-ray machine. Paxton had given up a home run to Marcus Semien before the hot smash felled him. In the third, Hernandez gave up the shot that would do his team in, a home run to Jed Lowrie. With their 3-2 win, Oakland is now 3.5 games ahead of Seattle for the second wild card spot. In the AL West, a bigger prize is suddenly on the table. The Astros have collapsed of late. They are but a game ahead of Oakland, with the two sides scheduled for a 3-game series this weekend.
It’s the best possible luck that the best game in the minors was played in Rancho Cucamonga, California. It was a Cal. League A-ball game between the home-standing Quakes and the visiting Padres’ affiliate, the Lake Elsinore Storm. These teams are so low nobody with the Quakes bothered to write a dramatic story of how the game ended-with a walk-off grand slam by Cristian Santana. Luckily, a site called TDN.com wrote it up. If they didn’t, I’d feel like my toilet had been stolen–I would have nothing to go on! Besides his walk-off slammer, Santana had 3 singles driving in two more runs as the Quakes rocked the visiting Storm, 13–9. In spite of the high score, it was the only home run for the winning Quakes. The visitors had just two runs as they stepped up in the 7th. That inning they scored 5, with 2 more in the 8th to make it a 9–9 affair. The Quakes built a 5–0 lead in the first 3 innings, then scored twice more in the 5th and 6th. They were kept in check in the 7th and 8th but mounted the winning charge in the 9th. The visitors belted 3 home runs, one each in the 2nd, 5th and 7th. Their catcher Luis Torrens hit one with 2 playmates aboard in the 7th. The others were solo dingers. The Storm had just 7 hits in the game while the Quakes put up 18. With their 7 hits, the Storm drew 7 walks and the Quakes committed two errors. But a walk-off grand slam makes up for all sins.

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