Bob Davidson got it flat wrong.
Jeff Weaver was on the mound, faced with relieving the Dodgers in a game where the Marlins had a 8-0 lead. There was also two outs and no one on base. Hanley Ramirez stepped into the batter’s box to take a swing at some pitches – but Weaver had other plans. He threw the first pitch high and inside, ball one, with Ramirez jumping out of the way. Next pitch, Weaver tosses another pitch high and inside – this time he is successful and his pitch hits its target: Hanley Ramirez’s left shoulder.
They are called the “Dodgers” for a reason.
Instead of immediately tossing Weaver, umpire Bob Davidson proceeds to warn both benches and allow Weaver to continue pitching. Maybe he felt sorry for Weaver – his control is so bad that he has to take two attempts to hit his target.
But this is precisely where Davidson got it wrong. If the incident was unintentional, Hanley takes first base without warnings being issued. It is blown off as an accident. Because the incident was obvious, and that Weaver was gunning for Hanley, Davidson decided to treat it as an obvious threat. The problem is, the Marlins are being punished for something they didn’t instigate or do. There was no chance for retaliation, which some may argue is precisely the point. The other argument, however, is that the Marlins now cannot pitch inside as any close pitch will be interpreted as an attempt to plunk a Dodger.
So Weaver, with his firing squad portrayal in the 6th, was let off. No retribution, no penalty. True justice would have at least made Weaver come to bat for himself, but we all know he’s a coward. Maybe he was just bitter still about the Alex “Seabass” Gonzalez home run in the 2003 World Series when Weaver was a member of the Yankees. Who knows. At any rate, he escapes and even somehow inspires his team. The Dodgers come out and score 4 runs in the bottom of the 6th while crowding the plate. Chris Volstad is rattled, probably trying to debate whether or not he should plunk a hitter and get tossed, possibly suspended. He certainly can’t get a pitch inside to push the Dodger hitters off the plate.
After all of this, Burke Badenhop comes in to relieve a shaken Volstad and induces a few ground balls for outs. Orlando Hudson comes to the plate and the Hopper plants one right in his rear. Davidson immediately ejects Badenhop and also manager Fredi Gonzalez. Davidson got that right – this was an incident of retaliation and was treated as such. Of course, Badenhop goes back to the dugout and gets several rounds of high fives for protecting his teammate.
In the end, the Marlins won and overcame some adversity and frustration throughout the game to beat one of the best teams in baseball 2 out of 3 games. They went 5-1 on this road trip and got a series win against the Dodgers. You got to be happy about the way this team is playing and maybe, despite the idiocy behind the way this situation was handled, you got to see this as a possible growth experience for the Marlins. It will be interesting to note how they play when they get home – will they continue to play winning baseball or will the fall into a slump. This series with the Dodgers may have woken up this young team.