How two storied National League ball clubs came to hate one another, and how that hatred affected each of their futures.
A brief history, and a brief future.
May 25, 2011
In a ghastly scene at San Francisco's AT&T Park, Marlins reserve outfielder Scott Cousins scores the go-ahead run in extra innings by plowing over Giants catcher Buster Posey's leg at home plate. Posey sustains a fractured fibula, torn ligaments in his ankle, and a reduced Handsomeness Quotient, although he does gain an improved Sympathy Quotient. Almost immediately, arguments begin over whether or not Cousins should have collided with Posey instead of simply sliding. Most agree that the play was clean, or at least not dirrty (Christina Aguilera joke).
June 2, 2011
A week-and-a-half after the initial Cousins/Posey incident, most everybody had moved on. However, "most" does not include Giants general manager Brian Sabean, who channels his inner Reggie Dunlop during a radio interview. Sabean rips into Cousins and talks about how baseball people "have long memories," implying that Cousins' act will not soon be forgotten, and that some form of revenge might be in order. Sabean's words only stoke the developing flames of hatred between the San Francisco and Florida organizations.
June 3, 2011
Logan Morrison goes on the radio and calls the Giants GM unprofessional. Morrison notes that Sabean never played in the big leagues and has never been in this kind of situation himself, and so he doesn't have the right to put a target on Cousins' back. Morrison also calls Posey "immature" for declining to return Cousins' phone calls.
June 5, 2011
Piling on for some reason, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria goes on the radio and makes fun of Sabean for consulting with ex-catcher Mike Matheny, declaring that "[Matheny] doesn't know what's what, ever since his concussion." The radio host calls Loria a prick, so Loria buys the station and sells it to Bud Selig.
August 12, 2011
In their highly anticipated first meeting since the Posey play, the Giants travel to Miami, with Sun Life Stadium celebrating We Have A Rival! Night. Free placards are distributed, featuring the Giants' logo with a red strike through it, and fan signs are spotted around the ballpark disparaging Tim Lincecum, Barry Bonds and Kirt Manwaring. In the top of the first inning, Aubrey Huff tags up on a deep fly ball and bowls over John Buck before touching home plate, sparking a beanball war that gets five players ejected. Scott Cousins spends the game on the bench, because he isn't very good at baseball.
August 13, 2011
With many wondering whether the Giants got the aggression out of their system the night before, Mike Fontenot charges John Buck from third base on a grounder to short, ending up unconscious on the ground. This sparks a beanball war that gets six players ejected. Scott Cousins spends the game on the bench, because he isn't very good at baseball.
August 14, 2011
In a day game after a night game, John Buck doesn't play, so the Giants instead target backup Brett Hayes. While leading off, Andres Torres turns around and spits in Hayes' face. Pablo Sandoval takes an extra long backswing to make sure he knocks Hayes in the helmet. The first pitch Hayes sees while batting buzzes his skull, and the next one ends up behind his back. The Giants' aggression sparks a beanball war that gets nine players ejected. Scott Cousins spends the game on the bench, because he isn't very good at baseball.
April 27, 2012
It's a new season, and the Marlins arrive for their first game in San Francisco since the Buster Posey Incident. Fans and players alike, coursing with adrenaline, show up thirsty for blood, and the collective mood grows increasingly hostile until somebody points out that Scott Cousins had been designated for assignment and snapped up by the Twins the previous December. With Cousins gone, the Giants players and fans ask themselves what they're actually mad about anymore. The game proceeds normally, with Anibal Sanchez throwing two no-hitters.
April 28, 2012
Brian Sabean takes to local radio to rip the Twins - which he "thought to be a classy organization" - for acquiring a player of Cousins' ilk. Sabean repeats that baseball people have long memories, which he proves by recounting the story of when he ate an entire German chocolate cake when he was six.
May 2, 2012
Batting just .217, Cousins is dropped to the AAA Rochester bench.
May 5, 2012
Cousins is released and becomes a free agent.
May 17, 2012
The Giants and Marlins announce an All-Star Game voting alliance.