Snubbed Vogelsong: 'People don't take me seriously'


Snubbed Vogelsong: 'People don't take me seriously'

SAN FRANCISCO Giants manager Bruce Bochy was concernedabout Ryan Vogelsong.

Bochy knew what a second consecutive All-Star selectionwould mean to him. He knew the validation it would bring.

He knew Vogelsong was about to get snubbed.

So he called the ultra-intense right-hander into his officeas soon as he arrived at AT&T Park on Sunday morning, and delivered thenews. In the hours before he took the ball against the Cincinnati Reds,Vogelsong flipped a clubhouse television to the selection show.

He watched thewhole thing anyway.

He knew his name wouldnt be called. It wasnt.

But maybe that was all part of his routine.

Vogelsong went out and pitched like he always does breathing fire, and with a sizable chip on his shoulder. He held the Reds tothree hits, a walk and a hit batter in seven innings, and although the Giantsblew his decision in the ninth, they accepted a gift from right fielder JayBruce while rallying for a draining, 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Vogelsong still could be named as an All-Star injuryreplacement. So could left-hander Madison Bumgarner. But listening to Vogelsongtalk, its clear his chance at validation has passed.

Shouldve pitched better, he said, with a flash in hiseyes as if he was still on the mound, still trying to throw the ball throughBuster Poseys glove.

Does the snub thicken up that chip on his shoulder?

Absolutely, came the swift reply. What it does issolidify what I told you (last month) in Anaheim. People dont take meseriously.

Last year, Bochy was the NL skipper and said his greatestAll-Star moment was to reward Vogelsong, who had gone five years without appearingin a big league game only to become a breakout success with the team that hadtraded him a decade earlier.

You heard the talk last year, that the only reason I gotthere was because of Boch, Vogelsong said. Some of that is probably true. Theother part is I was having a pretty good first half.

He is having a better half now. Vogelsongs 2.26 ERA is thelowest on the staff and tied for fourth lowest in the NL. He has thrown qualitystarts in 14 of 15 outings. He yields almost nothing at AT&T Park, where helets the sellout crowds stoke his passion on the mound.

That passion boiled over in the sixth inning, after Redsright-hander Bronson Arroyo brushed back Vogelsong twice as he tried to getdown a sacrifice bunt. Vogelsong glared at the mound after the first one puthim in the dirt. After the second one, he took two steps toward Arroyo, slammedhis bat and screamed a few choice words that an amateur lip reader might havedeciphered thusly: Vacuum bush league! What the fork are youre doing?

Benches cleared but no punches were thrown. Once order wasrestored, Vogelsong put down a successful bunt and Arroyo said something to himas he jogged back to the dugout.

He said, My bad, Vogelsong said.

Arroyo called Vogelsong after the game to apologize.

Well, I know he wasnt trying to hit me, so lets get thatout of the way, Vogelsong said. Bronson and I are friends. We played togetherin Pittsburgh. But when youre on the field between the lines, youre notfriends anymore.

Its not the first time Vogelsong reacted angrily tobrushback pitches. Last year in Florida, he slammed his bat and yelled at BurkeBadenhop after consecutive inside pitches, including one that struck him on thetriceps.

I dont think they were trying to hit me at all, Vogelsongsaid after that game last year. It just got me mad. I mean, I dont have anextra-base hit. I dont have a hit in two months.

(The most memorable part of that day was the reactionMarlins manager Jack McKeon, who called Vogelsong Volkswagen and said theright-hander overreacted. Hes lucky he didnt have to face Drysdale or Gibsonand get a haircut and a shave right quick, McKeon said.)

This time, Vogelsong heard Arroyos apology on the field.But he didnt break stride or turn his head to acknowledge it.

When the balls up and in, its not a good feeling, hesaid. It just happened. Hes battling. Youre battling. You just get fired up. Im still a little flustered, in case you cant tell.

Slights, real and imagined, are like ethanol in Vogelsongstank.

Still, Bochy would like to see Vogelsong wear an All-Staruniform again. Thats why he plans to keep in the ear of major leagueofficials, pumping up Vogelsong as a replacement pick.

There are other deserving snubs, though. Theres the MetsJohan Santana, the Reds Johnny Cueto and the Pirates James McDonald.

Its not over yet, Bochy said.

No, its not. Vogelsong said he needs to pitch better in thesecond half to prove last year wasnt a fluke. He knows that wont be enough,either.

Ill probably pitch with a chip on my shoulder for the restof my career, he said.

Given a choice between he and Bumgarner, though, Vogelsongwould rather the 22-year-old lefty become a first-time All-Star.

If it wouldve come down to me and him, Id definitely wanthim to go, Vogelsong said. Its amazing and Im excited for Buster and Melkyto get that experience. I wouldve wanted (Bumgarner) to go.

But I wish I wish we couldve both gone.

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Before the right hooks and haymakers, there was the helmet toss.

A very bad helmet toss.

As he made his way to the mound after getting hit by a pitch on Monday afternoon, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper attempted to throw his helmet at Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. He missed by a wide margin.

Observers took notice, including Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

"What was worse, Harper's helmet throw or 50 Cents first pitch? Heads up in the #McCoveyCove," Turner tweeted shortly after the brawl between the Giants and Nationals.

Turner is referring to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by rapper 50 Cent prior to a Mets game in 2014.

Harper mentioned the helmet when addressing the situation after the game.

"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do keep it going, I guess," Harper told reporters.


Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Nationals visited AT&T Park for the first time after the 2014 postseason series, Bryce Harper took to Instagram to compliment the city. “Nothing like SF! #BayArea” he wrote underneath a photo of the Bay Bridge. 

Harper, a Las Vegas kid, has always seemed to enjoy facing the Giants. He hasn’t hit well at AT&T Park, but he was a star in their 2014 matchup and he praised Brandon Crawford on Twitter during this year’s WBC. The greeting Monday was not a friendly one. 

Harper was retired three times by Matt Moore. The first pitch he saw from Hunter Strickland left a dent on his hip and set off a wild brawl. 

Strickland denied any intent. Harper seemed confused by the timing of the payback pitch. 

“It’s so in the past, it’s not even relevant anymore,” he said of their 2014 series, according to Dan Kolko of MASN. “They won the World Series that year. I don’t think he should even be thinking about what happened in the first round. He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night. I don’t know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens.”

The Giants were not surprised when Harper reacted the way he did. Now they’ll wait for Strickland to get hit with a suspension, and Harper is looking at a layoff, too. 

“You never want to get suspended or anything like that, but sometimes you’ve got to go and get him,” Harper said. “You can’t hesitate. You either go to first base or you go after him. And I decided to go after him.”

Strickland, about an hour after the fight, said he’s not sure what will happen in terms of discipline. 

“That’s their decision and obviously I’ll take whatever consequences come with it and we’ll go from there,” he said. 

Any action by the league is unlikely to impact this series. Even if suspensions are handed down swiftly, players can appeal. Harper and Strickland may not be alone. Several players jumped into the fray aggressively and at least one non-active Giant — Hunter Pence — was right in the middle of the scrum. At the very least, he could be facing a fine for trying to help his teammate. 

“It doesn't look good when a guy gets hit but also on their side, the guy throws his helmet,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Strickland’s got to stand his ground. There’s no choice there. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen (with suspensions).”

One player who won’t face discipline: Madison Bumgarner, who is also on the DL but wisely stayed away from this one, even if it probably killed him to do so. 

--- The biggest hit didn’t come from Strickland or Harper. It was Jeff Samardzija and Michael Morse coming together in the middle of the field. Both players said they were fine. 

"I was just trying to get in there to break everything up," Morse said. "We lost the game, that's what's most important."

Ahhh, yes, the Giants lost 3-0. Bochy seemed particularly peeved that Strickland chose the eighth inning of a 2-0 game to exact revenge, and you can bet some teammates weren't thrilled. We'll see if there's anything more to this Tuesday. There was a lot of adrenaline flowing, but some of these guys might not be feeling so spry when they wake up in the morning. Bochy said he had not heard any reports of players getting injured, but he also admitted that he didn't see most of the collisions and had no idea what happened with Morse and Samardzija, who had a world-class reaction, by the way.  

--- As with the incident with the Dodgers a couple weeks ago, Buster Posey stayed out of this one. Smartly. 

"After it happened I saw Harper point and the next thing you know he's going out after them," Posey said. "Those are some big guys tumbling on the ground. You see Michael Morse, as big as he is, and he's getting knocked around like a pinball."

Posey is not alone in staying away from these scrums where 250-pound dudes are flying at knees and ankles. Brandon Crawford can often be found on the outside, as well. It's smart, but I think something else was at play here today. Posey understands that the Giants are fighting for every scrap at this point. Every loss digs the hole that much deeper, and this happened with two outs in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game, against a team with a poor bullpen. I'd imagine there was some serious annoyance there. 

--- How angry was Strickland? It took three guys, three big guys, to drag him into the dugout: Pence, Mac Williamson, and George Kontos. 

"I was pretty fired up to be honest with you, but that’s just adrenaline," he said. 

--- Baseball fights are rather silly, but at least you get some phenomenal photos.