The Golden State Warriors will try to reclaim their NBA title from the Cleveland Cavaliers in two days, but the conversation in the Bay Area isn’t on focused on basketball.
The fight between the San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals – specifically, Buster Posey’s decision to not join the fracas – dominated the conversation on KNBR 680 AM.
Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow was a guest Tuesday on the “Murph and Mac Show” and downplayed Posey’s reluctance to join the battle between Washington slugger Byrce Harper and Giants reliever Hunter Strickland.
Strickland plunked Harper with a fastball on his right hip and the 2015 National League MVP didn’t take kindly to it, charging the mound and throwing his helmet at the pitcher before exchanging punches with the hurler.
“They’re two, small-town Georgia boys,” said Krukow of the batterymates. “They’ve got a lot of closeness. Their wives are great friends. They’re buds.”
Krukow believe the fight can provide a spark for the struggling Giants, who lost the game 3-0.
“It’s a loss, but it’s a significant day because it brought a lot of guys together in that clubhouse,” said Krukow, who pointed out that Posey did not join celebratory scrums following the 2014 World Series and this year’s World Baseball Classic because he’s been directed by the team to avoid such contact.
The bad blood between Strickland and Harper dates back to the 2014 NLDS, when Harper belted two long homers off the reliever.
As for punishment, expect players on both sides to be hit with lengthy suspensions.
But, as New York Post national baseball columnist Joel Sherman pointed out, the blame belongs squarely on Strickland's shoulders.
“Strickland will say he was just trying to pitch inside,” wrote Sherman. “Except he had not hit a batter since last Aug. 21. And he just happened to hit the batter who faced him twice in a 2014 Division Series and homered twice and with whom he had a stare-down contest on each occasion. This was the first time the two had met since and, what a coincidence, first-pitch fastball, bam. ...
“Strickland had nearly 1,000 days to decide whether to fire a deadly object in the direction of Harper, who had a second or two to decide how to retaliate.”