DENVER, CO -- What do you get when you mix the pitcher who gives up the most homeruns with the ballpark that gives up the most homeruns?
It sounds like the set-up to a joke, but Eric Milton wasn't laughing after Friday's 12-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies. Despite the potential for distaster from his outing, Milton surprised everyone.
He surprised the Rockies by giving up only four runs on eight hits, including one homerun. Given the setup, double-digits in all three categories wouldn't have been an unexpected punchline.
He surprised his management by keeping the Reds in a game that they had apparently prepared to forfeit, evidenced by the fact that they benched both their homerun leader and their RBI leader and pinch-hit with Luiz Lopez when at least three stronger offensive players were available.
But mostly, he surprised Sean Casey when he tackled him in the parking lot outside Coors Field just after the game Friday night.
“I was just walking along when this figure comes screaming out of the darkness shouting 'We were supposed to be contenders!' Next thing I know, Milton's got me around the knees and dragging me to the ground,” said Casey.
For his part, Casey reports that he “just snapped.”
“It was like an out-of-body experience. I heard my voice yelling 'Danny's gone; it should have been you' over and over again,” said Casey.
Joe Randa, who happened to be leaving the stadium at the same time, noticed the struggle and managed to pull Milton off Casey. Randa, however, was soon a part of the scuffle himself.
“Everyone is pretty frustrated,” said Randa, “But I guess I didn't realize how upset I was. When I heard Milton going off about how Casey had sold him on the 'team vision,' that triggered something in me, and I was all over him, too.”
The conflict eventually played itself out, and the three agree that it was exhausting but therapeutic. “I think regular team beat-downs could be a valuable part of our training regimen,” said Casey. “Next time we'll go after [Jason] Romano.”