The Blanton-Butcher incident: a dramatic re-telling presents, a dramatic re-telling of the Joe Blanton vs. Mike Butcher incident:

It was a warm, sunny day in Seattle (which is unusual for a city with an average of 150 rainy days a year). Joe Blanton was on the mound for the Angels at the Mariners’ Safeco Field, and he was in quite a pickle. A two-run homer in the second had thrown him more than a bit off. His curve and his off-speed pitches were lost to him, and Joe knew he was a car stuck in 4th gear, throwing heat because that was all he had left. Taking a deep breath, he accepted the sign from Chris Iannetta, set, delivery, release, CRACK, and a sacrifice fly from Mariners catcher Mike Zunino put the period at the end of Joe Blanton’s day.

Maybe it was his inability to control the ball. Maybe it was the frustration of another loss on his record, likely sealing him at 2-12 at the All-Star break. Maybe it was a twinge of guilt for questioning the run support to that point. Maybe it was the smell of Starbucks that permeated the city (and, indeed, most of Puget Sound). Whatever amalgamation of thoughts came together for Joe that day, they equaled a red sheen in front of his eyes, creating an anger he could not contain. Not unlike The Hulk, Joe flew into an anger-powered attack against the only target he could find: A hapless and helpless Gatorade cooler in the dugout. Holding his right low in a traditional stance, Blanton unleashed a one-two combo on the cooler before throwing it to the ground like The Big Show tossing aside Rey Mysterio. “Joe!” cried Chris Iannetta, “What are you doing man?!” (with several others chiming in that the Gatorade’s family should be notified).



The voice, spoken with the authority of a higher officer snapped the tension. “Knock it off!” said pitching coach Mike Butcher. “We’re visitors here! Get your ass out of here if you can’t act right! Let’s go!”

Coach Butcher stepped between the two players and started herding his pitcher towards the locker room. “You’re being a real dummy. You know that?”
“Yeah?” sneered Joe “Well you’re stupid!”

Butcher stopped. To onlookers, it seemed as if he had developed a sudden onset of facial twitching before shouting “Take that back.”

“Okay! I take it back! You’re REALLY stupid!” taunted Joe

“Yeah? Well at least I don’t pitch like crap!”

“You smell like crap!”

“Get your ass to the showers!”

“Why don’t you make me? Poopface!”

“Don’t call me poopface!”

“How about doo-doo head?!”

Deciding that enough was enough, Howie Kendrick hopped up off the bench to separate the feuding coach and pitcher “Hey! Guys! C’mon! This is ridiculous! You’re acting like third graders!”

“He started it!” fumed Coach Butcher

“Did not!” retorted Joe

“Did so!”

“Did not!”

“Did so!”

Howie planted himself in front of Coach Butcher “GUYS! We’re not doings this! Holy crap, where was this intensity when we split with the Dodgers? Calm down!”
And so it went, back and forth the two got their jabs in like fencing swordfighters (or like children sticking each other with magic markers) until Blanton, reaching his destination of the exit to the locker room, departed with the ultimate comeback: “Uh-huh! Whatever!” leaving Coach Butcher sputtering in the dugout, still weakly fighting against Howie Kendrick, whom, at the time, was desperately praying to every god that will listen, asking that everyone just get along.

Afterwards, the press was spoken to and the incident explained. Over time, feelings will be mended by words or time and the team will move on. The incident will become a blip on the radar in a season with a yet-uncertain future. It will likely not to be spoken of unless a fan indulges in enough pre-game and stadium-price beer while watching a game to say “Hey, remember that time Joey Blanton freaked out on the Gatorade cooler?”

The fates of the pummeled Gatorade cooler and its family are unknown.