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Boston College Baseball: Was BC Right To Be Angry With Michelangeli?

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Did Michelangeli’s Actions Warrant Bench-Clearing Brouhaha?

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The dagger for the Boston College Eagles’ chances in the NCAA Tournament occurred when Miami Hurricanes infielder Edgar Michelangeli hit a grand slam over the left-center field fence. What happened afterwards has generated controversy.

Following a rounding of the bases that was initiated by a bat flip, Michelangeli appeared to taunt BC catcher Nick Sciortino before crossing home plate to a mob of his teammates. Following more celebration by Michelangeli, the Eagles cleared the bench and engaged in a brawl.

Here’s the video for those who missed it:

Michelangeli's antics generated some criticism, but a greater question arose: were the Eagles justified in engaging with the Hurricanes?

Here are some thoughts.

BC Head Coach Mike Gambino

Miami quotes via bceagles.com.

Miami Head Coach Jim Morris

"Well, first of all, it’s an emotional time and I’m sure when [Edgar Michelangeli] hit that grand slam—it was like a kiss of death and it is over. That put us up big. I think they felt like they were going to win coming into this game. They had a great regional, they beat us yesterday, they had a chance to beat us the day before, so it’s a very emotional thing, for everybody. For me, when I see the benches empty, I’m thinking that we’ve got to get everything under control. The last thing you want is for there to be an incident to where you have players that get suspended and not be able to play in Omaha, so that’s what I was trying to do. It’s hard to do because there guys were on our side, so it was a tough situation. Thanks goodness that we had a couple of cops there and some coaches to try and calm things down and get the game going again. At the end, I think that was the first time that we haven’t shook hands during my time at Miami. The NCAA reps, the umpire and I agreed that it would be better to just get our guys together and get away from everybody, because it hurts. You could see watching them that they were hurt at the end of the game. I don’t want somebody to say something or do something that everyone will regret."

Miami Infielder Edgar Michelangeli

“Obviously, I was very happy. I had a lot of emotions going through that at-bat. It was too loud. I didn’t really hear what he said. I was happy and screaming, ‘Let’s go!’ They’re a great team and they played with a lot of heart. We both had a lot of emotions going.”

BCI Managing Editor Joe Gravallese:

Michelangeli was being a jackass and I don't blame the BC players for getting emotional in the moment. After all, they pretty much just had their chance of winning yanked away in one swing. That said, I tend to be on the side of "let the players have fun and celebrate" vs team "get off my lawn, unwritten rules, blah blah."

Bat flips don't bother me, but he seemed to be talking smack while coming around to score. That was uncalled for. BC's reaction might have been a little over the top, but I get why they felt the way they did.

BCI Editor Emeritus Brian Favat

I suppose it depends on whether Sciortino said something to initiate the dancing and yelling after Michelangeli rounded third. The bat flip didn't bother me. Maybe it bothered Sciortino and he said something. Hard to imagine all that showboating was unprovoked. Either way the poor attempt at a dance-off at the plate was uncalled for; the level of which probably depends on whether Sciortino initiated the exchange or not.

Michelangeli was my least favorite ninja turtle there I said it. (ed. note: boooooooo)

BCI Contributing Writer John “Coach" Fidler

Can I start by saying...f- yeah they were justified.

In all honesty, I wasn't that upset by the bat flip piece, but when he went chirped at Scortino, he went way too far. If this was an MLB game, there would have been a full scale brawl, rather than what happened.

Foster probably didn't need to get into it the way he did, but who was the little guy he was jawing with by the Miami dugout? Looks like a guy right out of the stands.

Miami was by far the better team throughout the series, but BC deserved so much credit for continually finding ways to stay in games and we should be spending our time talking about what an amazing run they had and the direction the program is headed rather than Donatello's macho ravings.

BCI Co-Founder Jeff Martyn

So what are we supposed to be upset about here? Michelangeli over-celebrating after hitting a grand slam in a post season elimination game? Michelangeli was absolutely taunting BC and that would have been a penalty in football or basketball but not worth a brawl over. Fortunately unloading the benches was just for show and there was no fight but in the future BC just needs to not allow the bases to get loaded and the home run to get hit to avoid that scenario.

BCI Staff Writer Grant Salzano

The bat flip is fine. They're college kids, after all. But once you start taking it to the other team, that's where you become a jackass. Pile into your teammates and celebrate at home plate. Keep it on your side of the diamond.

BC probably should have just stayed in their dugout, but at that point they probably felt like it was effectively the end of their season and emotions were running high. Asked with a clear head, they'd probably say they regret the clash. But in the heat of the moment, of course that's what's going to happen.

The only thing that anyone is going to take out of this whole thing is that Michelangeli looked like a jackass.

BCI Staff Writer Laura Berestecki

I second everything Grant said only without the cussing:

The Heights Sports Editor Michael Sullivan (@MichaelJSully)

BC was surely justified in clearing the bench. I didn't get the chance to hear his side at the presser, but Edgar Michelangeli definitely provoked Nick Sciortino with the chest pounds and jump right in his face. Had he just pimped the home run with the arm in the air and the bat flip, I'd say no. And, of course, if you don't want that to happen, don't give up a grand slam to the No. 9 hitter and make sure you score when you get men on base. But BC handled it like every other team in college or MLB would do: they fought back. And Gambino's postgame quotes reflect that he was content with how they handled it.

Check out Sully’s recap here.

BCI Contributing Writer Arthur Bailin

The bat flip didn’t necessarily bother me, though I think we all could have done without the Bartolo Colon impersonation as Michelangeli went down the first base line.

The moment I think Michelangeli got into trouble was as he was rounding third. There’s not a whole lot that Sciortino could have said that would have justified Michelangeli getting in his face, and that stupid dance was just classless. He made things worse by going up to the screen to high five people. It was a gutless display of showboating. I get you want to get more fun into the game, but there’s got to be a line somewhere. MIchelangeli showed up the Eagles. To me, I’d have a bigger problem if no one on the Eagles got in someone’s face. You have to stand up for your teammates.

On that point, if you look at the full replay, it was not Michelangeli who was tangling with the Eagles, but his teammates. In other words, Michelangeli acted like a clown, and his teammates were the ones to answer to the question, not him. If you want to act like a clown, that’s fine, but don’t hide behind your teammates. His teammates won’t say anything to him, due to his performance, but Jim Morris should absolutely say something to him, because it’s not fair to his teammates to have to fight his battles.

Incidentally, that grand slam was not the first time Michelangeli acted like an idiot during the game. He hit a three run home run earlier in the game, and he thought it appropriate to high-step his way to home plate.

By the way, the NCAA needs to crack down on people on the field after a home run. Going into this game the Hurricanes had, as a team, hit 47 home runs. The whole team doesn’t need to be out on the field to celebrate No. 48 and No. 49. This isn’t Little League. Keep the celebration in the dugout.

What are your thoughts? Join the discussion in the comments below.