I watch a lot of San Francisco Giants games. I was watching one on Sunday, September 6, 2009 when this scene unfolded. The game featured two teams going in opposite directions. The Giants, in the midst of a resurgent season in which they put the baseball world on notice that they should no longer be taken lightly, still had a chance to make the playoffs. Every game counted for them. At the other end of the spectrum were their opponents, the Milwaukee Brewers, a bad team playing out the string in what for them was a disappointing season.
The game was close. The Giants scored a run in the top of the 1st. The Brewers tied it with a run in the bottom of the 6th. The goose eggs continued and the game went into extra innings. The tie was broken in the bottom of the 12th when Prince Felder hit a line drive home run down the right-field line to win the game for the Brewers, 2 to 1. We have now set the scene for this:
While Fielder rounded the bases his teammates quickly gathered at home plate to greet him. As he approached it, he leapt high into the air. When he landed on the plate each Brewer player fell backward, just like the huge splash that follows when a large object gets thrown into a body of water. I’ll confess I smiled when I saw this. I knew exactly why they did it. At some point during a losing season a team needs some kind of relief, and for the Brewers, this moment was probably it. The unusual scene depicted on this baseball card was all about the Brewers and had nothing to do with their opponents. It would have come whether they were playing the Giants, or the Marlins, or any other team. The Giants just happened to be there when it occurred.
So how did the Giants take it? Not well. They were not amused. No team in professional baseball would have been. The Giants were clearly going to respond. Since this game was the last one between these teams for the 2009 season, the Giants waited until 2010, when their pitchers hit Fielder with pitches the first few times they saw him. They didn’t hurt him, and they certainly didn’t throw at his head, but they delivered their message, and that was the end of that as far as the Giants were concerned.
But here at Team Grubby, the joyful celebration continues. This is my favorite card in the Topps 2010 baseball card set. The image of Prince Fielder, a fearsome slugger celebrating a game-winning blast with his teammates, is an absolute joy to behold. Every time I see this card, I just smile. Prince Fielder, thank you. This post is for you.