Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.
Giants All-Star Melky Cabrera did not endear himself to his former Braves teammates or fans during the three-game series at Turner Field. By Thursday’s series-finale, the outfielder was resoundingly booed every time he came to the plate or made a play in the field. He made rude gesture to fans in the left-field bleachers Tuesday. His slow home-run trot, excessive celebration of Gregor Blanco’s 11th inning home run and apparent suggestion that Jason Heyward try to advance to third base on a flyout drew ire Wednesday. It continued Thursday, when he made a chopping gesture after an eighth-inning triple and the Giants losing 3-1.
“That’s Melky, and that’s why he’s not here anymore,” Chipper Jones said after Wednesday’s game. “…. He got a little happy when Blanco hit the home run. It won’t be forgotten.”
Cabrera said Thursday, it’s all part of his game.
“I’m just tyring to play hard baseball,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “Sometimes when the adrenaline is really high something might happen. I’m not trying to embarrass anybody. I’m just trying to play hard and competitive.”
Braves starter Tim Hudson was asked why he didn’t go after Cabrera for his antics.
“We won the game,” Hudson said after a 3-2 win Thursday to salvage one game of the series. “That’s all that matters. However they want to strut around when they lose, that’s fine. That’s their own thing.”
Of particular issue for Braves and their fans is a low chopping motion around the belt buckle that Giants players, in particular Cabrera, do after a big hit. Blanco explained following Thursday’s game it’s something they have done all season.
“They misunderstood what we were trying to do,” said Blanco, another former Brave. “… It’s a misunderstanding. They took it another way. We’ll keep doing it. It’s just like a handshake. It makes the game fun.”
- Chris Vivlamore