The Other Side of the Coin

There’s always 2 sides to a story or an incident…in fact, sometimes is useful to learn the “other side of the coin”
……1st of all, let’s look at both sides of the coin in the Cards & Reds “incident” in the first series of the season. Nick Castellanos was hit in the chest by fastball from Jake Woodford. Castellanos took exception…Adam Wainwright on being struck by a pitch “I mean, he got hit. It hurts to get hit. The ball is hard. The baseball is really hard, and I think it got a rib and probably ticked him off” Castellanos, may have tipped his hand about his feelings when he picked up the ball and offered it back to Woodford. I would surmise that the quick conversation wasn’t about their families. By the “perfect storm” that followed, Castellanos made it to 3b. On a Woodford WP back to the screen, Castellanos sprinted for home plate and barely beat the tag by Woodford covering. At that point, Castellanos “flexed” his arms like in a triumphant mode over Woodford who had slipped trying to get to the throw. That didn’t go well with the Cards. Both dugouts emptied onto the field. A very, very brief scuffle with a lot of yelling back & forth occurred. Castellanos was ejected. From the Cards point of view, it was the right thing to do. However, the other side of the coin, the Reds have pictures of Yadi Molina as the “3rd” man into an argument with his hands on the back part of Castellanos neck. From the Reds point of view, the MLB guidelines that any “3rd man in” a scuffle or any player/coach that touches another player MUST be ejected. That didn’t happen. Further, the way back to their OF bullpens, a secondary level spat occurred between the relief hurlers. Justin Hicks (StL) had to be restrained from further “engaging” the Reds. There was the feeling that the Cards “hit” Castellanos because of his excessive bat flip the previous day after his HR. Further, the Reds feel like a batter, who had been very successful in this series, was plucked by the Cards as a “payback” w/o anything said or done by the league or umpires.
…On the other side of the coin…if you have rules—follow them..or.. don’t have them! The regulations regarding fighting ( no 3rd man in and no hands on opponents) seemed to have been completely ignored. I didn’t believe it…but saw a picture of Yadi with his hands on the back of the neck of Castellanos in the melee. Sooo…I can understand the frustration by the Reds when the rules are ignored..maybe… because it involves a long-time player? A larger question…Do the weaker teams get treated differently than the Dodgers, Yankees, Cards? I bet the people in Cincy think so. ….The Reds fans …and probably the Reds themselves…. still simmer over the 2010 incident between Brandon Phillips & Yadi Molina. Apparently, Phillips, who had made comments earlier about the Cards—that he hated them, that they were complainers while using demeaning language. I guess the Reds naively thought that those statements wouldn’t “rile up” the Birds? So when Phillips tapped Yadi’s shin guards entering the batters box, a brawl ensued with Molina & Phillips going face to face and both benches & bullpens emptied. Backup catcher Jason LaRue suffered a mild concussion & sore ribs from the incident. Some Cincy fans have never forgotten the incident and reward Yadi with a round of boos each visit to Cincy.
…In a sport that sadly needs & seeks emotion, the “flex” seemed rather harmless to me. The MLB seems to seek the excitement of a chess match at their games. (excluding The Gambit!) Sports need emotions…that’s what engages the fans and the players. Do we care when the batter flips the bat flamboyantly after a HR blast? Punches the air in happiness after a key hit? You can watch it every day….the energy, enthusiasm, happiness, skill and emotion… of Arenado reminds me of Orlando Cepada (Cha-Cha) who led the Cards to two World Series 67-68 (winning in 68).
….On the other side of the coin–For a team(Cincy) that has been irrelevant for many years, it actually seems good to have a “fiery” type guy to stir the pot with the intent of not accepting losses. I’m not claiming that one hot-head can turn a bad team into a championship team but….especially early in the season…. it may set a different tone in the locker room about loses if he keeps producing. Later in the year that impact will probably dissipate and their record will fall back into the abysmal hole of the MLB…but ya gotta start someplace.
…switching to a larger size ball…a basketball…the NCAA Final 4 and especially the Championship Game was terrific. The Other side of the coin won the game!! Yes….Baylor was clearly better than Gonzaga. Gonzaga had multiple post players who were bigger, stronger and yet as agile as the Zags. The tremendous man/man defense put the Gonzaga players under pressure throughout the game. It was a complete team defense—tight m/m on perimeter, sound consistent post defense with consistent blocking out. Further, Baylor had perimeter players who banged in 1 on 1 moves from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, they torched the nets from beyond the arc going 10 of 23! Gonzaga still demonstrated outstanding movement w/o the ball that often results in layups.
….on the other side of the coin in the NCAA…this year may be the start to a new look @ the NCAA Finals. With the NBA now “upping” the salary of their G-League (developmental league) for HS graduates with outstanding potential. One could expect far fewer 1 & done players in the NCAA. Therefore, they’ll be more “senior” teams succeeding in the NCAA. From my view, this is a good development. The 1 & done players often would attend class in 1st semester but not the 2nd semester—they really weren’t students…it was a sham. They were 1 year rentals. This new enhanced G-League of the NBA should be the ticket from High School to a year of Preparation for the NBA bound players w/o the constraints of pretending to be a college student. A win-win from where I sit.
…looking at the odds & ends on other side of the coin for the Cards 1st week …despite all the hoopla, our OF still aren’t…or can’t …hit. At least Carlson has a couple pops to push up in RBI’s. How much longer can they go with O’Neil? …Adam Wainwright doesn’t seem as sharp in his first 2 outings. The Cards are REALLY counting on him. …Meanwhile, it seems Reyes has become the Closer. We’ll see if his arm can withstand the rigors of incessant use of a closer in the MLB. . …I’m happy for the individual persons, but….how do we bring up a 28 yr old 1B (Nogowski) & a 27 year old OF (Dean) and strut around about our strong minor league system? We don’t have any 22-23-24 year old players ready to ascend into the MLB? …On the brighter side of the coin… I did love the opening day ceremonies…. it’s great to see the Cardinal stars from the past and to honor Gibby & Lou who have passed. The StL fans don’t forget, Kolton Wong receiving a significant round of applause…enough to “choke” him up. I wish we could get him back and get Edman back in the outfield…it’d actually be a notable improvement in our batting in the long run.
…YOUR thoughts/ideas/responses are invited. Check out my web site…. Bobryansportsblog.com if you want to see some blogs that you missed earlier.

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