As if the Reds-Cardinals rivalry didn’t burn hot enough. St. Louis first baseman Matt Adams stoked the flames of hatred between these two teams early yesterday evening.
Adams was giving chase to a fly ball that was drifting into the stands beyond the first base dugout. He laid out on top of the field crew tarp, but a fan came down with the ball.
Adams wasn’t going to take that lying down.
After the play was over, but before returning to his position near first base, he gave the fan a stiff shove with his glove while getting up off the tarp. That not-so-friendly gesture inspired a return not-so-friendly gesture from the Reds fan and a few of his cohorts in the vicinity, which to my delight was captured on live video. Take a look.
The ball was clearly in the stands, so the fan had every right to make the grab. Moreover, it doesn’t look like (in my Reds fandom biased opinion) that Adams has any shot at making that catch.
Of course, after the game Adams disagreed.
“. . . I was in line for it and then I hit the tarp,” Adams said. “I heard it hit his glove and figured he caught it because I didn’t feel it come into mine. I was just trying to stop from falling in there.”
Adams also claims he didn’t intentionally shove the fan, at least not out of ill will. Rather, he and Cards manager Mike Matheny claimed that Adams’ shove was just an act of him trying to avoid going into the stands. A likely story. One that contradicts what we see in the video, which is an already motionless Adams looking
up before planting his glove squarely in the fan’s chest.
The fan was later identified as Chris Smith, and after the game C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with Smith, who was discovered to be wearing a heavy knee brace and on crutches.
“He gave me a shove and I fell back,” Smith said. “I’m pretty sensitive about my knee right now. I’m fresh out of surgery, it’s nothing to joke around about.
“I didn’t reach over, I stayed where I was, I couldn’t reach out if I tried, because I can’t hit my knee on anything.”
Sure, tossing Adams the middle finger salute wasn’t the classiest of reactions, but then I ask myself: what would I have done in Smith’s place?
Leave it to the Cardinals to find the one guy in the stands on crutches and fresh off of new surgery to try and get tough with.