Wednesday night the Miami Marlins hosted the Atlanta Braves in what was the final game of the season for the amazing rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez. The Marlins will give the Rookie of the Year candidate the rest of the season off now that he has reached the 170 innings limit.
Miami won the game 5-2 and Fernandez was outstanding but the story-line of the game was just another example of how classless the Braves have become. The one time poster boys for how to win with class are now just another group of punks who are on top this season but do not know how to win or for that matter lose with style.
The fun started when the Braves Evan Gattis hit a long home-run on the first pitch of the sixth inning and he stood there watching the ball leave the yard. Fernandez was none too pleased by being showed up by Gattis, then after he got Brian McCann out the Braves third baseman Chris Johnson began chirping at the young pitcher and as he grounded out, while running to first base you could see him saying “Is that the best you got?”
So was Fernandez mad when he returned to the Marlins dugout at the bottom of the sixth inning? You bet he was and for good reason, he was not only shown up by the Braves he was taunted by them in a not so successful way to get him off his game.
Karma does have a way of finding those who mess with it and so in the bottom of the sixth inning young Mr. Fernandez hit a Mike Minor fastball deep over the left-field fence and he stood there, tossed his bat and admired his first big league home-run. As he rounded the bases, Johnson spit on the ground as Fernandez was about to hit third base, the Marlins pitcher spit on the ground as he passed the bag en route to home plate. The Braves catcher and most of the time, good guy Brian McCann gave Fernandez an impromptu lecture on baseball etiquette at home plate as both benches cleared.
After the game the Marlins – old-school manager- Mike Redmond blasted his young pitcher for disrespecting the opponent with his delayed home run trot and his spit in the direction of the Atlanta Braves’ third baseman. In his post-game comments,Fernandez said he was wrong and “embarrassed.”
Meanwhile the crew on the MLB Network broke the tape down and they did not agree that Fernandez was wrong in anything that he did and that the Braves were at fault. Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, and Mitch Williams used the game tape to prove that it was the Braves, who provoked and disrespected the Marlins rookie and not the other way around.
Williams known for his candor, stated that pitchers need to be intimidating and he would never take any lectures from another team. “Did McCann talk to Gattis about his posing? Did he speak to Johnson about his taunting or his spitting near the bag just before Fernandez stepped on it?
Reynolds chimed in: “I love watching Fernandez pitch, he laughs, in the tape you could see him say wow what a shot when Gattis hit his home-run. He enjoys the game and I think he was more upset by the taunting from Johnson than he was the posing by Gattis. He did nothing wrong tonight and I think when[Marlins Manager] Redmond sees the tape he might change his mind about what he said to Fernandez.
I agree with Reyonlds and Williams on this issue. Fernandez has nothing to be sorry for just like the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper, has nothing to be sorry for. He was hit three times by Braves pitchers in two games back in August, after he watched a home-run sail over the fence at Nationals Park. This coming after Justin Upton did the same thing twice in two games. The Braves are a fine team and it is time they started acting like winners and not like a classless group of whiners. These guys are better than that and maybe manager Fredi González needs to have a talk with them.