The image of San Diego slugger Carlos Quentin slamming into Dodger pitcher Zack Greinke at Petco Park on April 11, 2013 is embedded in the minds of fans, raising the specter of payback in Monday night's game at Dodger Stadium.
To retaliate or not to retaliate? That is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the standings to suffer
The slugs and injuries of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of Padres
And by opposing end them? To bean, to brushback;
No more; and by a hit by pitch say we end
The loss of Greinke and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To bean, to brushback,
To brushback perchance to laugh, ay there's the rub…
Monday night is the first meeting between the Dodgers and Padres since "The Brawl" last Thursday night in which the $147 million prince of Dodgertown Zack Greinke was taken down by that San Diego slugger and cad, Carlos Quentin, who outweighed him by almost 50 pounds.
Dodgers fans have been flailing in blogs and interviews about the unfairness of the consequences. Greinke is out for eight weeks at least recovering from surgery to repair a broken collarbone, while Quentin was suspended for only eight games.
Dodger manager Don Mattingly can't be too happy. He wanted Quentin out as long as Greinke will be.
“He should not play a game before Greinke can pitch,” he said after the fight. “If he plays a game before Greinke pitches, something is wrong.”
So Monday's game could have been ugly, but Quentin on Sunday wisely decided not to appeal his suspension and to begin serving it immediately.
But does anyone doubt whether there will be a payoff? No, of course not. They also play another 16 times this season, so it’s unlikely much will happen Monday to spoil the long-planned Jackie Robinson celebration.
Robinson, perhaps the most famous Dodger of all time, has never been bigger than he is today in Los Angeles, a city in which he first found glory and fame but where he never played professional baseball.
The film “42” about how he broke baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers is a box office hit. UCLA, where Robinson was the first Bruin to letter in four sports, unveiled a new mural Sunday.
And the Dodgers Monday planned to lead all of Major League Baseball in honoring him on Jackie Robinson Day on the 66th anniversary of the historical event.
In his honor, all the Dodgers and other teams playing Monday are to wear Robinson’s famous No. 42, officially retired by baseball in 1997.
Today that number is worn regularly only by New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who was grandfathered in, and after which no one will ever wear No. 42 except to honor Robinson.
Harrison Ford, the actor who plays Brooklyn Dodger GM Branch Rickey in the new movie is scheduled to throw out the first pitch.
For a while, though, "The Brawl" threatened to overshadow the Jackie Robinson tribute planned for Monday in collaboration with the release Friday of the film “42.”
“I hope Quentin is wearing a cup Monday night.”
That’s what lifelong Dodger fan Timothy Hughes posted on Facebook after the Thursday night fight that erupted when Quentin’ mound charge resulted in Greinke’s broken collarbone -- an injury that likely sidelines him until near the All-Star break.
Dodger fans want Quentin hurt where it hurts a man most, if not blood itself.
That means that in fans’ eyes, the Dodgers-Padres series this year has suddenly become a blood feud.
Even the Dodgers, on the team’s official Twitter site, didn’t wait long Friday morning to warn the Padres, “See you on Monday in Los Angeles.”
“If there wasn't (a blood feud) before,'' Greinke told reporters as he licked his wounds after Thursday night’s brawl, “there probably is now.”