Sep 11, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) and Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann (16) both are separated at home plate by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook (34) during the sixth inning at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jose Fernandez knocks the first home run of his career, watches it for two seconds, then rounds the bases, spitting as he passes third and Braves third baseman Chris Johnson says something to him. Jose crosses home plate, but as he does so, Brian McCann is sitting there in a rocking chair, calmly rocking back and forth. Brian pats his lap.
Brian: Hey, Jose. Why don’t you come sit with me awhile.
Jose: Sure thing, Uncle Brian McCann.
Brian: How old are you now, Jose?
Brian: 21! My goodness! Soon you’ll be the talk of Sports Center!
Jose: I hope so, sir.
Brian: Well, you should be careful. You’re a pretty flashy player, Jose, and if sports culture has taught us anything, it’s that the media does not reward players for being too flashy.
Jose: What do you mean?
Brian: Did you see how you watched your home run after you hit it? That was pretty obnoxious to us, the Braves. Did you consider our feelings at all when you did that?
Jose: Of course. I did that on purpose. You’re the first place team in our division, your players have been antagonizing me all game, and Evan Gattis watched the home run he hit off me earlier. I wanted to do something to give these Marlins fans something to cheer about. They have so little. I think some of them are just painted onto the seats.
Brian: Well, I wouldn’t know anything about that. We sell out in Atlanta every night.
**Brian has quick flashback of himself, stumbling down a street at night, .40 in a brown paper bag clutched in his hand. He spots two Atlanta street cats.
Brian: [to cats] WHERE WERE YOU?!?!?
The cats exchange judgmental glances and scamper away.**
Brian: It’s just that, Jose, there are subtle nuances to his game. Like, only do things that don’t make the other team mad, unless you are on the other team.
Brian: [Removes hat, scratches head while chuckling] Maybe Uncle Chris Johnson can explain it a little better.
**Uncle Chris Johnson comes sprinting down the third base line toward home plate**
Chris: Hey guys. I saw you guys talking and thought I’d make myself a part of the situation.
Jose: Hi, Uncle Chris Johnson!
Chris: Hey, Jose. Look, baseball is a game of subtle nua–
Brian: No I used that already.
Chris: Oh. Well, the fact of the matter is this – I love third base. Third base is my home. Third base, in a lot of ways, is my child. I care for it, protect it, take it home with me at the end of every night without telling anyone, pretend to feed it baby food in a height chair, sing to it, cradle it in my arms, put it in a stroller and walk it around the neighborhood, yell at it when it misbehaves, talk to it about its changing body…
Chris: The point is, you spat on it. You spat on my child. How could you do that? All because I made sure to yell at you from first base after I hit that home run? And then continued to do so after you hit yours?
Jose: You flew out, though. I got you out.
Chris: It doesn’t matter whether it was a routine fly or an awesome home run that everyone loved. You need to respect the Braves, even if they don’t respect you. And you definitely need to respect me, Chris Johnson.
Jose: I’m sorry, Chris. Please don’t turn me into one of the fake-children in your weird family.
Chris: Ha, ha, ha. [Tussles Jose’s hair]
**Fredi Gonzalez climbs to the top step of the Braves’ dugout**
Fredi: It’s okay, Jose; you’re just young and immature. You know what is the model of maturity? Running down the third base line to pick a fight with a rookie, while being careful to put two teammates between you and him at all times, in what is essentially a meaningless game. Also, verbally taunting that same 21-year-old earlier after flying out to center field. That’s maturity. That’s how the game is meant to be played.
Jose: I think I get it now, thanks guys.
Brian: Hey, no problem!
Chris: YOU GOT IT, BUDDY.
Jose: Baseball sure is stupid sometimes.
Brian: It sure it, Jose. It sure is.
**Brawl breaks out**