While Death Wish and Craig Stammen are hooked up in an entertaining duel today in DC, there’s remaining ill-will from yesterday’s home plate collision between Cincy’s Brandon Phillips and Washington C Luis Nieves. Dusty Baker defended Phillips’ demolition of Nieves and subsequent celebration as “hard-nosed baseball”, a description the hosts, unsurprisingly, take exception to. From The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore :
“I think it’s part of the game,” Nieves said. “It was no problem with me when he run me over. It’s part of the game. What he did after, you know, is what I didn’t like. It looked like he scored a touchdown or something the way he celebrated … I thought it was really unprofessional.”
As Phillips dug into the batter’s box with two outs in the ninth inning, Nieves said Phillips asked him, “Are you okay, Papi?” Nieves still was too upset about Phillips’s showboating the previous inning to respond.
“He’s that kind of guy that he’s a good guy out of the field,” Nieves said. “Maybe if you play with him you like him. But if you play against him, the things he does you kind of don’t like it. I’m pretty sure he’s a great guy off the field … But maybe when he hit me and the whole situation he got really happy and that’s the way he did it. But I’m pretty sure he knew he did it wrong. Hopefully. And hopefully he won’t do it again.”
Nieves said Phillips knew what was going to happen next. Desmond said everyone at Nationals Park knew what was going to happen next.
Batista’s first offering drilled Phillips in the side. Nieves said Phillips did not say a word as he trotted down to first base.
“We didn’t throw it at his head,” Nieves said. “We hit him in the ribs. I think everybody in the ballpark kind of knew that that was going to happen. So he got hit, and I thought he got hit where he was supposed to. Not in the head. Obviously, we don’t play like that. Miguel hit him in a good spot.”