The Florida Marlins' 34-year-old first and third baseman Wes Helms, a veteran of 12 major league seasons, appeared on Sirius/XM's MLB Network's Inside Pitch with Casey Stern and Jim Bowden this afternoon to offer one more opinion on the bench-clearing brawl that took place during the sixth inning of last night's game between the Fish and visiting Washington Nationals. In the game, Marlins' starter Chris Volstad hit Nats' outfielder Nyjer Morgan with a fastball in the top of the fourth in retaliation (most assumed) for a crushing hit on Marlins' catcher Brett Hayes in the previous game, but when Morgan decided to steal second and third and then scored on a sac fly in the at bat which followed his own, the Marlins apparently decided that further retribution was needed. In the sixth, with first base open following a leadoff double by Justin Maxwell, Volstad once again attempted to exact revenge, throwing a 90+mph fastball behind the Nats' outfielder, setting off the brawl that's been the subject of every highlight and talk show that covers baseball since it happened.
Asked what he thought of the play at the plate the previous night in which Morgan ran over Brett Hayes, Mr. Helms said, "It was borderline, yes if he slides he's clearly safe, but Brett Hayes was on home plate, so, in baseball etiquette if he's covering home plate [Morgan] has a right to run over him," but according to Helms, "That wasn't really what triggered this,":
Wes Helms: "What triggered it was the incidences before, so in our opinion and our minds, for him to do the things he did before the incident with us kind of made us think he's got bad intentions in his mind, because of his reputation of the past week or two, so the [play at home with Hayes] wasn't as dirty as something that we would've went after him for."
Before Morgan decided to steal second and third after the first HBP, the Marlins, according to Mr. Helms were, "...done with it." The Nats trailed 14-3 at the time, and, "In our minds," Helms continued, "we're finished, we let him know that we're not going to stand for it, and then all of a sudden he gets on first base and takes off for second, and the first thing that goes in my mind is, 'O.K., what's this guy doing?' and I'm standing at third base just kind of like in awe of what's going on with this guy, I don't understand it, and then he takes off for third, and that put in my mind for sure and I know it did everybody else's this guy is just trying to be a total butt about the situation. He is totally going out of his way to show us up and that's just not good baseball etiquette. It's the intergrity of the game, it's bush league, you're down by eleven runs and he did that it just totally showed us that he's not playing the game the right way."
"It was just something that don't happen too often in the game," Mr. Helms concluded, "...but something that's part of the game, it happens, it's happened in the past, it's not going to the last time that somebody does it, it just had to be a night where it was us and the Nationals."