Brian Barton missed by pitch - you don't hear that very often.
Usually it's Barton hit by pitch. And another pitch. And yet one more time...
In fact, it's happened a Minor-League leading 22 times this year as the Aeros right-fielder is way ahead of last year's pace when he was plunked 25 times.
Barton has a propensity for getting nailed despite not owning a stance that particularly crowds the plate. This knack, if you will, came into strong focus duing the Aeros just concluded four-game series with Bowie at Canal Park.
Bear with me here, as I'll get back to the missed by pitch part soon. But first, some background:
It began at the beginning of Saturday's game when Barton was hit by a pitch in the first inning by former Aeros pitcher Oscar Alvarez. Barton says it usually doesn't hurt when he gets hit, but this one obviously did. In a rarity, Barton took plenty of time trying to walk it off before finally taking his base.
Two at-bats later, a grouchy and probably achy Barton was called out on strikes. Soon, he'd been tossed by the home plate umpire after an act that included flipping his bat and leaving it at home plate, tossing his arm guard on the field as he walked away, and finally punctuated by throwing his batting gloves - one by one - over the dugout railing onto the field before exiting down the tunnel and into the lockerroom.
It was a rare show of emotion for the laid back Barton, so out of character, Aeros manager Tim Bogar called it Barton's "out-of-body experience."
Still, after the game, Bogar had a closed door meeting with Barton, in essence explaining that while he has a right to disagree with the call, he should have handled it more professionally by showing respect for the game.
"I told him, 'I'm not telling you not to be Brian Barton. Be Brian Barton. But understand that the world might not understand Brian Barton.' Sometimes, you have to be sensitive to what other people think.''
Espeically in a game where one scout, coach or front office person's perception can mean all the difference between a career in the big leagues and one spent scuffling in the minors.
So, on we move to Monday's game. With two outs in the first inning, Barton slams a two-run home run to give the Aeros an early lead. During his next at-bat, the first pitch from Bowie ace Radhames Liz whizzes behind Barton. Liz, obviously throwing a purpose pitch, is immediatley tossed by the home plate umpire for throwing at Barton.
For the next 10 minutes, Bowie's manager comes out to argue, another pitcher in the Bowie dugout (Rosman Garcia) gets ejected as well for throwing a folding chair onto the field from the dugout and finally another pitcher is summoned to begin warming up.
While all this is going on, Barton is quietly standing in front of the Aeros dugout, waiting for order to be restored and the new pitcher to get ready.
If it were me, I'd probably (O.K., I would) have a few choice words for Liz and any other idiot in the dugout acting like a jerk. But Barton just stood there, waiting. Lesson learned.
In the meantime, Bogar got steamed while talking to the umpires, wondering why the Bowie manager (Bien Figueroa) wasn't tossed as well, as the orders to go after Barton most likely came from him.
"My question to the home plate umpire was - we do nothing wrong, and we get in trouble? (the rule states that the benches must be warned and if it a guy gets hit again, not only the pitcher but the manger would be automatically ejected). So I asked him, can't you just throw him (Figueroa) out, too?''
Barton handled it well, and so did Bogar, despite having a very valid point.
Yet, by the end of the night's action, I found it rather ironic that all the fuss of the evening was made over the one time Barton was actually missed by a pitch - and not hit by one.