It’s the Cardinals versus the Brewers and Budweiser versus Miller; but off the field it already resembles a drunken argument between party animals.
In some ways these sorts of rivalries are good for baseball. Instead of players hugging and exchanging high fives and pleasantries before the game, they refuse to talk to each other and hold a deep seated rivalry. It’s resulted in umpire warnings, bench clearing altercations, and plenty of drama between the teams. Rivalries like that incite both fanbases, and draw in the casual fans to the excitement.
On the other hand, a part of you always shakes your head. When you look at the comments and the results, it always seems a little crazier the more you think about it.
Before a pitch was even thrown, Brewers starting pitcher Zach Greinke fired the first salvo with comments about Chris Carpenter’s “phony attitude.” Keep in mind that Greinke is teammates with Nyjer “T Payne” Morgan, the alter ego of an egotistic player constantly stirring up drama.
Greinke of course followed up his statements on Carpenter by going out and giving up six runs in six innings pitched. Carpenter just out pitched Roy Halladay while Greinke relied on a heavy offensive output to bail out a weak start.
Of course, you have to comment on the Brewers and their ‘Beast Mode’ that they do to celebrate meaningful accomplishments such as reaching base. A player on the Brewers revealed that ‘Beast Mode’ was inspired by the players’ kids reaction to watching ‘Monsters Inc.” in the clubhouse and going into ‘Beast Mode.’
Whatever the origins, ‘Beast Mode’ is reminiscent of ‘The Claw’ and other gimmicks of other upstart teams.
From the other dugout, the Cardinals play some clever mind-games. The Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa, has his pitchers pitch inside early on in a emotional game. If you’re going to draw a warning from the umpire, it might as well come intentionally and remove the inside pitch for both teams rather than being reactionary with it.
Warnings were issued in last night’s game, but not that it was necessarily a ploy by La Russa and Jaime Garcia to draw the warnings by pitching inside. Even La Russa might not be bold enough to intentionally draw the warnings during the first inning of the first game of the NLCS.
Nonetheless, it’s led to a heated matchup. It’s only been one game, and yet the personality and excitement is already showing in full force.
Just keep it legitimate, keep it real, and keep it away from lame novelties like ‘the claw’