By Paul SullivanTribune staff reporter
June 16, 2007, 10:36 PM CDT
The Cubs are feeling like human pincushions these days, and Alfonso Soriano says they're not going to take it anymore.
Soriano's moonwalk out of the batter's box Friday after his home run onto Waveland Avenue certainly irritated the Padres, though they insisted it did not prompt retaliation in the form of a Chris Young fastball that hit Derrek Lee on Saturday, igniting a brawl that's likely to lead to Lee's suspension.
"We're like a family here," Soriano said. "If they throw at somebody, we have to throw at somebody, too, because that's not fair."
Lee, Young, Padres pitcher Jake Peavy and Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry were ejected for their roles in a brouhaha that began when Young hit Lee on the left hand with an up-and-in fastball leading off the fourth inning.
While Padres catcher Rob Bowen argued with plate umpire Mike Everitt, claiming it was a foul tip, Lee began jawing with Young on his way toward first. Young appeared to motion to Lee to just take his base before Lee charged and threw a wild punch at the pitcher, missing him.
Young missed Lee with a counterpunch, and the bench-clearing fight was on. Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who tumbled to the ground while trying to separate players, said he was unsure what would happen to Lee. Piniella said the league is "inconsistent" with its rulings.
"I hope nothing happens, but when there are fights, you probably have to expect something," Piniella said.
No one was hurt, and no one was saying what Young said to get Lee to react in such a manner.
"Whatever it was, he didn't like it very much," Piniella said.
Lee knows a suspension is likely but said he had to defend himself.
"I really don't mind getting hit," Lee said. "But when it's at my head, I feel like it threatens my health. I don't know what his intent was, but it was at my head, and he said some things I didn't like, and it just escalated."
Lee wouldn't say what Young said. Young wouldn't either, but he insisted he wasn't trying to hit Lee.
"I did not throw at him," Young said. "I did not try to hit him. I tried to pitch him inside, and maybe it got away from me."
Piniella wondered why the umpires let Lee walk over to Young without interceding after the two had begun jawing.
"It seemed like the umpires should've been on the field anticipating something," Piniella said. "There was plenty of time in between. But I'm not an umpire."
Crew chief Gerry Davis said: "The catcher didn't believe the pitch had hit him, so he was taking care of that argument. By the time that happened, you'll see [Everitt] rushed there as quickly as he could once he saw something was about to happen."
On Friday, Peavy and Padres left-hander David Wells had criticized Soriano for not "respecting the game" with his moonwalk.
"I didn't appreciate that," Peavy said. "Just play the game. If I think a player shows me up like that, I like the next guy to take one in the stinking ribs. That way, his teammate will let him know about it, [and he'll] tell him, 'Hey, you'd better run the bases.'
"Respect the game. That's the way it used to be. When you were growing up, did you see anybody act like that? Now it's accepted."
Piniella said beforehand that "I didn't even know he backpedaled" on the homer.
"I liked the home run, put it that way," Piniella said.
Meanwhile, Padres manager Bud Black took the fifth on the moonwalk.
"I did get to see it on replay, and I did get to see it live," Black replied. "I have no thoughts on that. Some things are better left unsaid."
Soriano said he wasn't trying to "embarrass" anyone and rationalized that many players celebrate, including pitchers.
"I've been doing that for six years in the league, so why do I have to change?" he said. "I'm not trying to show up anybody or offend anybody. A lot of pitchers, when they strike out somebody, they do a lot of things on the mound. So it's not only me. That's part of the game."
God I love Soriano, Lou and Lee. This article shows that the Cubs and there Manager are not going to take shit anymore! Its nice to see the Cubbies this fiery team who is sick of other teams walking on them.
The point of Lee and Young not saying anything on the incident is smart because there is a good chance by not saying what transpired or making a huge deal out of the situation, the suspension will be less for both clubs. Because the Cubs don't need Lee suspended for a long time and the Pads don't need Peavy and Young out for a start in that difficult western division.
Lets hope there is a good game today with Maddog on the mound.