Sunday was a good day for mocking. First in Baltimore:
Huff not only greeted Chamberlain with a first-inning three-run homer Sunday, he mocked the Yankee pitcher with a pair of Joba-style animated fist pumps - first on the base path and then after crossing home plate . . . Girardi wouldn't comment on Huff's display other than to say he felt it actually worked to Chamberlain's advantage, giving his pitcher motivation to quiet the O's.
A friend sent Brian Wilson a photo of Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake mocking the crossed-arms gesture that the Giants' All-Star closer makes when he finishes off a victory. The gesture is symbolic of Wilson's faith and it's also a signal to his late father. Several veterans approached Wilson and appeared to be trying to calm him down.
The reactions of both Chamberlain and Wilson were telling. Here's Chamberlain:
Chamberlain said he didn't see Huff's fist pumps, but even if he had, he insisted they wouldn't have bothered him. "I have no reason to be upset," Chamberlain said. "He did what he was supposed to do with the pitch and hit a home run. If he wants to do a back flip, he can do a back flip."
When asked what was upsetting him, Wilson grudgingly showed the photo on his phone to myself and Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle. (It showed Blake seated in the dugout with his arms crossed.) He didn't want to say anything, though. We asked if Blake's gesture was an affront to his faith. "Yeah, and my dad," Wilson said.
I asked if he'd remember the next time he faced Blake. Wilson shrugged and clamped his mouth shut. From the next locker over, Jeremy Affeldt said, "Blake knows what he did."
Advantage Chamberlain, who seems to realize that, no matter what your inspiration for the on-filed display, the fist pumps, gesticulating and emoting work to show up batters in a pretty basic way. If you do that, you have to expect some blowback once in a while, and Wilson would do well to realize that rather than pout about it. And really, letting a guy like Casey Blake get under your skin pretty much tells the rest of the National League that you're easy to get to, which is not the kind of image a big tough closer should want to be projecting.