“I’d play against these guys with one leg. We have to beat these guys. I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them, they’re little bitches, all of ‘em.  I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals,” Reds 2B Brandon Phillips.

Phillips’ comments eventually escalated into a full-fledged brouhaha last night.

When Phillips came to the plate to lead off the bottom of the first inning, he tapped Yadier Molina’s shin guard with his bat.  This is something that Phillips does on a regular basis to the catcher and umpire as a way of saying hello.  Molina appeared to be expecting the tap and kicked Phillips’ bat.  Phillips then tapped him again and stepped away to take a practice swing.  Molina got in Phillips’ face, prompting both benches and bullpens to empty.

Paul Janish, who was on deck, immediately came to the scene and tried to restrain Phillips. Jonny Gomes and Scott Rolen ran out of the Reds’ dugout to hold back Molina.  At first, it seemed like a normal baseball fight with a little pushing and shoving. 

Dusty Baker and Tony LaRussa, who aren’t exactly best friends, began having a rather heated discussion.  The umpires separated the two managers and things appeared to be calming down until it appeared that Chris Carpenter had some words for Baker.

Then all hell broke loose.

When you watch the video, it is hard to tell if Rolen was going after Carpenter or if he was trying to keep the peace.  Regardless, it certainly appears that Carpenter instigated that stage of the fight.

The fracas moved to the backstop behind home plate with Rolen and Carpenter in the middle of it.  Several people appeared to go down to the ground, including Rolen.  That was when I got worried.  In a baseball fight, nothing good can happen if you are on the ground and everyone else is piled around or on top of you.

After the fighting stopped, the umpires decided to only eject both managers.  I give the umpires a lot of credit for making that decision.  Something had to be done.  It would have been a shame to see players get ejected during such an important series, especially since both sides were clearly at fault.

That brings me to my take on the melee. 

I agree with what Phillips said about the Cardinals.  Most of the Reds probably do.  They cry and complain all the time about the opposition allegedly cheating when they have one of the biggest cheaters in the history of the game in their dugout.  Carpenter reminds me of the spoiled kid with a sense of entitlement and thinks the entire world revolves around him.

However, I would not have publicly expressed my feelings the way Phillips did.  Why add to your opponent’s motivation during a tight pennant race?

I don’t think Molina was wrong in the way he reacted to Phillips tapping his shin guard.  I would have done the same thing.  Phillips was just asking for trouble.  I would prefer him make a statement by playing hard and helping his team win the game.  I suspect that a lot of his teammates feel the same way.

However, when it comes to the Reds, Phillips is family.  You protect your family and stand behind them, even if you don’t agree with their actions.

It would be highly recommended that the Reds win the series finale this afternoon.

Read more at Reds Country.

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