Tonight’s game was a hard pill for the Miami Marlins to take. Not only did the team lose precious ground in the wild card race, they also lost their slugging superstar, Giancarlo Stanton, more than likely for the rest of the season, after he was hit in the face by a Mike Fiers pitch.
Our own Andy Salgado had an instant reaction to the Stanton injury, and his anger can be well-respected, as it’s hard to lose a player the caliber of Stanton’s, especially with Jose Fernandez already done for the season.
I want to step in and be the voice of reason here though. Mike Fiers is likely not a bad guy. To me, neither of the hit by pitches on Stanton nor Reed Johnson were intentional. He may have reacted strongly when the Marlins bench cleared, but who wouldn’t when they believe they are being blamed for such a catastrophic injury?
Just look at the Tweets Frier sent out immediately after the game:
Fiers is a local kid. He graduated from Deerfield Beach High School and then from Nova Southeastern. Hell, the poor kid is a Miami Dolphins fan. He suffers on an annual basis like many of us Phins fans.
The situation should remind Marlins fans of a similar incident that took place in 2010, as a I described in a Tweet earlier tonight:
We all know Giancarlo is too classy to have a Posey-like reaction to the situation, but the local kid should not be looked on as the villain by Marlins fans. We all know the agony that Cousins, a Bay-area resident, went through after the Posey collision. It was not fair to him and his family for fans to get upset over an incidental baseball play.
The same applies for Friers tonight. We all know he didn’t hit Stanton on purpose. You can tell by his reaction to beaning Stanton. Hell, if the umpire awards Stanton first base on the spirit of the rule in that situation, everyone in the ballpark is calmer and can move on.
Instead, Fiers has to go back and fire a pitch to Stanton’s replacement, Reed Johnson. As anyone else would be in that situation, Fiers was shaken. His next pitch hit Johnson, and the it led to the benches being emptied. Throwing a baseball is high stress enough. Dealing with hitting someone and forcing them to leave on a stretcher reaches a new level.
So tonight, I beg of you Marlins fans, please don’t make Mike Fiers the next Scott Cousins. Nobody deserves that. Cousins will tell you himself what he went through was unfair and unjustifiable by Giants fans. Buster Posey didn’t make things easier. Hopefully Stanton shows his class and accepts Fiers apology, putting this whole ordeal behind us.
The umpires are the major culprits in this game. Had they rewarded either Stanton or Johnson first base, the entire mess is likely averted. But the umps could not keep control of the game, and things spiraled quickly.