The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals are baseball heavyweights who go about their business in different means. While the ultimate goal for both teams is winning, one is more loud, or bubbly, if you will.
For the team from the Midwest, there’s the Cardinal Way — which, depending on the fan base, is the only way to play the game or tiresome propaganda. With two competitive teams have natrually come tense moments, dating back to the 2013 NL Championship Series.
Hanley Ramirez remembers the ribs that were fractured by a Joe Kelly fastball in Game 1. Being hit twice during a three-game series after the All-Star break this season also isn’t too far from his or the Dodgers’ minds.
Despite some of the bad blood that may be present, J.P. Howell proposed both teams play the series without taking notice of what the other may be doing, according to Bill Plaschke of the LA Times:
Let’s get down to it, let’s go, let’s kick this thing off, all about baseball. You celebrate, fine, I won’t pay attention. I celebrate, you get over it. Let’s just play.”
While Howell is willing to look past any outlandish celebrations, which likely won’t come from the Cardinals given their previous behavior, he doesn’t hold the same stance on borderline pitches inside:
Let’s make sure we get the inside part of the plate correctly this year, let’s not miss too much in, OK?” Howell said Thursday. “We let a few go last year … and this isn’t what we’re about, but it ain’t happening again.”
The Dodgers didn’t retaliate for the Cardinals hitting Ramirez in the NLCS, but Clayton Kershaw did when his shortstop was hit July 20, which was also one night after Yasiel Puig was hit on his left hand.
Whereas Ramirez was plunked on his left shoulder by a 98 MPH fastball, Kershaw struck Matt Holliday on his backside. While it likely wasn’t intentional given the situation, Ramirez was hit again in the ninth inning of the July 20 game.
The Dodgers retaliated by taking the lead in the ninth and salvaging the series with a win. Given what’s at stake in the NLDS, there shouldn’t be any carry over or scores to settle. But if the Cardinals accidentally let one loose, all bets may be off.