Justin Verlander‘s bid for a third career no-hitter was—in a bizarre turn of events—a background story when this afternoon’s game between the Angels and Tigers was over.
Angels starter Jered Weaver was ejected in the seventh inning for firing a pitch over Alex Avila‘s head after Carlos Guillen went into a silly bit of histrionics after homering and Weaver yelled at him. This was in response to Weaver also yelling at Magglio Ordonez for standing at the plate on a homer which was barely fair—ESPN Story.
I doubt Ordonez was showing up Weaver; he just stood to see if the ball was fair or foul and Weaver—either angry about allowing the homer or misinterpreting Ordonez—overreacted.
The Guillen act was ridiculous.
But that paled in comparison to what Angels shortstop Erick Aybar did leading off the top of the eighth inning.
Aybar tried to bunt his way on.
Verlander fielded the ball and threw it away. According to Aybar, Verlander said he’d “get” him next year.
The question of propriety is somewhat valid in theory, but both the Angels and Tigers are in a playoff race; in fact, it could be argued that they have a case for competing with one another for the Wild Card if the races break a certain way. These games are not meaningless. The Angels need to win; the Tigers need to win; the score was 3-0. If it was 10-0, Verlander can complain, glare and threaten all he wants. At 3-0, he needs step back and think about the big picture.
Regarding the extracurricular stuff—the Weaver anger; the Guillen prancing; the Aybar bunt; the Verlander threat—if you can’t do the proverbial time, don’t do the proverbial crime.
Guillen acted like a fool and his teammate was thrown at; Aybar bunted to break up a no-hitter, Verlander is presumably going to throw at him with a 100-mph fastball when he gets the chance.
These things will be handled in time. The testosterone-filled, reputation-laden, “right and wrong” world of baseball collided today in Detroit. Barring an unforeseen run into the ALCS for both teams, they won’t face each other again until next season.
They’ll remember this because it’ll continually be brought up by the media, fans and other players until it—whatever “it” is—happens.