ST. LOUIS — The enduring image of Wednesday's Cardinals-Mets brawl at Busch Stadium will likely be that of St. Louis first base coach Stubby Clapp taking Mets first baseman Pete Alonso to the ground.
The scuffle started after a pitch high and tight to Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado after a back-and-forth of hit by pitches over the past two days.
Alonso himself was hit in the head by a wayward Kodi Whitley changeup on Tuesday, and aired his displeasure on his way to first base during that game.
The altercation during Wednesday's game led to ejections for Clapp and Arenado.
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol defended his player and coach after the game.
"No doubt about it," Marmol said if Clapp was justified in his actions. "I just watched the video. He's making sure that guy doesn't come after one of ours. He's holding him back. I don't see an issue with it at all. I watched it several times before coming in here. He's keeping their guy from getting on top of one of ours. So, I'm OK with it."
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Alonso saw the interaction with the 5-foot-8, 49-year-old Cardinals coach a bit differently.
"I got pulled from behind, actually Genesis Cabrera grabbed me by the back of the collar and then he just ripped down and the coach just kind of jumped on me. I thought that was kind of cheap just going from behind. If you want to hold me back, if you want to restrain me, go at me like a man," Alonso said after the game.
Alonso did say he understood why Marmol would stick up for his player and coach's actions.
"I totally understand because I'm a big, strong guy. Obviously, the manager wants to have protection for his team and his staff and I totally get it. For me, I'm a big, strong guy and they don't know my temper and what I could do. If I wanted to put someone in the hospital I easily could, but I was just out there trying to protect my guys," Alonso said.
Alonso said after the game that he thought the pitch from Mets reliever Yoan Lopez to Arenado "wasn't even close" and that it was like "something got started for no reason."
Alonso has been hit by four pitches so far in 2022, which is tied for the Major League lead with his teammate Starling Marte. The Mets as a team lead baseball in hit-by-pitches with 19.
"I just can't comprehend guys missing that badly," Alonso said about getting hit by Whitley on Tuesday. "It's not even close. I'm 6-foot-3, I'm a tall guy. And I know guys are getting incentivized to throw hard, throw up and all that, but I just don't know how the miss is that bad. For me, it's just kind of a head-scratcher that big leaguers can miss that badly."
The Cardinals won Wednesday's game 10-5. The two teams will meet again in Queens in less than a month.