(White and Gibson, prior to the latter putting one in the former’s ribs)
“These days,” writes MLB.com’s Marty Noble, “we are routinely intolerant of incidents that, 25 years ago, went unreported, unnoticed or at least disregarded.” He’s specifically referring to Ozzie Guillen’s comments about Fidel Castro, but perhaps Noble forgets the ill-will that resulted from Eric Show’s public support of the John Birch Society. Instead, Marty is fixated on Cleveland’s Ublado Jimenez drilling former Colorado teammate Troy Tulowitzki during spring training, and seems to suggest the incident wouldn’t have been nearly as newsworthy had it happened, say, before you were born.
Similar circumstances developed in 1968 when Bob Gibson stood taller on the mound than any man, and Bill White, Gibson’s buddy and former Cardinals teammate, was batting for the Phillies. It was not the first time they had faced each other. Gibson intentionally hit his left-handed-hitting friend because White had ventured too far into Gibson’s territory, aka the other side of the plate.
It came as no surprise and not because of Gibson’s reputation. White had been warned by his buddy. And after he was hit, White made such a fuss about it that he and Gibson made plans to dine together the next time their schedules permitted.
Jimenez was fined and suspended.
Gibson broke bread with his attacker.
The difference is greater than the number of years separating the two episodes and as subtle as 98-mph chin music. Jimenez withdrew his appeal, a decision based in wisdom; the next time he and Tulo are 60-feet-6-inches apart won’t happen for a while.
The only differences Gibson and White have about their episode these days are that each man claims he paid for the peace-pipe dinner and that White claims the pitch that struck him “didn’t hurt as much he hoped it would.”
“If it didn’t hurt, why is he still whining?” Gibson says.