Mike Berardino wrote a somewhat entertaining article in the Sun-Sentinel today. Discovering what he believes may be the secret to the Marlins turn around.
Go ahead and read the whole thing but here is part of it.
"World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion," it reads across the fake-gold plastic facing. The rest of the belt is made of thin black rubber, but there's no clasp or holes in the back.
...It's practically the symbol of this unlikely Marlins turnaround.
Back on May 20 in Tampa, Messenger and fellow pitcher Scott Olsen were out on the town after yet another Marlins loss. Words were exchanged, and Messenger, who goes 6 feet 6 and 240 pounds, punched his 6-5, 215-pound teammate in the left eye.
The belt arrived about a week after the two rookies threw down. Veteran infielder Wes Helms brought it into the clubhouse as a joke and saved it for the right moment.
When "Judge" Joe Borowski convened his first Kangaroo Court before a game against the Mets, the Marlins' reliever awarded Messenger the snazzy memento as his first order of business.
"Ever since it happened, me and Olie have started joking about that," Messenger says. "But it's true. The whole team started jelling and playing good baseball after that."
Berardino goes on to mention how Bonds and Kent fought in the year the Giants went to the World Series. And how Reggie Jackson and Billy North had at least one physical confrontation on their way to winning the World Series.
I'm not sure this incident is parallel to the other two. In the Bonds and Kent incident they didn't like each other. Same with Jackson and North at the time or so I am told.
However, in this case these guys are friends.
Is the fight really the catalysis for the upturn in the Marlins play? I doubt it, but it makes for a good story.