Some four years ago, Mets hurler Nelson Figueroa famously likened overly-celebrating Nationals to “a bunch of softball girls”, a somewhat hysterical overreaction that thankfully didn’t end in anyone being drilled. Or retiring on the spot. The same, however, cannot be said for an incident Sunday night in Omahaa, where the host Storm Chasers (AAA, PCL) forgot to “act like they’ve been there before” during a 20-3 pasting of the visiting Tuscon Padres. From the Arizona Daily Star’s Daniel Berk :
The issue began during the third inning. Each time the Storm Chasers scored a run, players in their dugout jumped on empty cups, creating a loud popping noise. It’s a recent tradition of Omaha’s, and it annoyed Tucson pitching coach Steve Webber. Webber barked at the Omaha dugout, voicing his displeasure.
Omaha manager Mike Jirschele, who was coaching third base at the time, yelled back at Webber. Webber came out of the dugout to talk to his pitcher Alexis Lara (above), who was in the middle of being roughed up.
Webber and Jirschele exchanged more words before Webber reached the dugout and the umpire issued a warning to both sides.
Lara, acting on his own, threw a fastball that went right behind Omaha’s Wil Myers’ head. League rules prompted an instant ejection of Lara, 25, and Kennedy.
“I didn’t want to throw at anybody,” said Kennedy, who was suspended by the Pacific Coast League for Monday’s game because of Lara’s pitch. “He told (third baseman) Jesus (Merchan), he was going to do it and Jesus told him not to. He still did. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s machismo or immaturity. You see that in rookie ball; you should not see it at the Triple-A level. “He’s been around long enough to know that’s not how you handle something like that.”
Kennedy’s frustration continued and he “aired out” Lara for his antics as the two walked down the third base line into the home clubhouse. Kennedy continued to get after Lara in the clubhouse, and the relief pitcher eventually quit on the spot.
“He just said ‘no more baseball,’” said Kennedy before Tucson’s 5-2 loss to Omaha on Monday night at Kino Stadium. “I’ve had some guys threaten to quit, but I’ve always been able to talk them out of it. He wasn’t going to be talked out of it.”