I am fiercely loyal. Loyal to my friends, loyal to my family, loyal to my teammates and loyal to my coworkers.
When I perceive injustice, I go at it head-on. I’m passionate, especially when I perceive unfairness. I might get a bit outspoken at times, but that’s only because I feel I am fighting a just cause.
So I get where former Brewers and current Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee was coming from Thursday night. I do. Dude went nuts. He saw his teammate Giancarlo Stanton – arguably the best hitter in the National League – get hit in the face and then saw his teammate, Reed Johnson, get hit by the next pitch.
It has been reported that McGehee wasn’t going after Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers, but rather home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg. This makes sense to me.
It was revealing to follow the game via social media. As Casey, who was in the on-deck circle, exploded onto the field, social media exploded on him. Colorful language abounded, directed at Casey.
At first, I nodded my agreement. Why is he going after Fiers? Mike Fiers, who is clearly shaken up. Who probably shouldn’t be on the field at all. How can Casey go after him?
But, upon learning he went after the ump? Yeah, I get that.
It’s not what Major League Baseball wants to highlight. It’s not what team management or the umpires or the players’ association wants to see. But here was a guy, perceiving injustice, going to bat for his teammate.
Sometimes, in the heat of competition, we don’t always think things through all the way. Sometimes being human and having emotions get the best of us, especially when someone close to us has been hurt in a very real and scary way.
I’d love to talk to Casey today. Today is when it’s OK for us to judge Casey. Thursday night? Not fair. He was out of his head. But today, let’s get to the core of the man, a man who we thought of as one of us when he was here in Milwaukee: a hard-working, lunch-pail kind of guy who was very active in raising awareness for his son, Mack, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
So today, Casey, we know you are a fiercely loyal guy. No doubt. And loyalty is a great quality. It means you care. And I’m guessing now that the emotions have settled, Casey wishes he handled Thursday night differently.
But – he didn’t hurt anyone, and his loyalty will never be doubted. By anyone. Loyal on, Casey.
Mitch Nelles, aka Thunder, is a long-time resident of the Milwaukee area with some serious Wisconsin roots.
Born and raised in Boston himself, Mitch brings a bit of a coastie attitude to his fandom. He moved to Wisconsin in 1990, where he attended Nicolet High School and the University of Wisconsin. His grandparents and entire mother’s side of his family were born and raised in Milwaukee (yes, serious roots).
Mitch has worked for the Wisconsin State Journal, Milwaukee Bucks and 540 ESPN in Milwaukee/100.5 ESPN in Madison, serving as the co-host of “Homer & Thunder” for the past eight years.
Also very active in the community, Mitch has emceed and auctioneered events for Make-a-Wish, Variety of Wisconsin, Russell Wilson’s personal foundation and The Guest House, just to name a few.
Mitch was in the crowd when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, when Wisconsin played in the Final Four this past April and when Ron Roenicke inexplicably pitched Shaun Marcum in Game 6 of the NLCS in 2011.