Almost fighting Dioner Navarro may have been one of the best things to happen to Matt Garza’s career.
It helped unlock something in both players, and fuel the Tampa Bay Rays on their run to the 2008 World Series. Garza didn’t think it should be portrayed as a turning point, though he admitted that he learned an important lesson, how to better channel his emotions and control all that adrenaline.
Looking back, Garza thought tempers were bound to flare because it felt like it was “107 degrees” for a Sunday afternoon getaway game against the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington. Navarro could have been feeling the grind in the middle of an All-Star season in which he would catch more than 1,000 innings.
Then No. 9 hitter German Duran – who has one home run in the big leagues since June 8, 2008 – cranked a 97 mph fastball over the wall in center for a two-run shot. A heated argument on the mound in the middle of the fourth inning spilled into the dugout, where teammates had to separate Garza and Navarro.
Now they’re reunited inside the Cubs clubhouse, and it wouldn’t be shocking if Navarro eventually becomes Garza’s personal catcher this season.
The Chicago media dug up the incident once the Cubs traded for Garza in January 2011, stretching to make comparisons to Carlos Zambrano that never came true.
Garza said it was just like brothers arguing, a miscommunication forgotten the next day.
At the time, Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay’s freethinking manager, suggested Garza talk to his friend Dr. Ken Ravizza, a sports psychologist, Cal State Fullerton professor and author of “Heads-Up Baseball.”
Fighting like brothers, Navarro forced Garza to see things in new light
CSN Chicago | Feb 15