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insideSTL Exclusive: Fistgate

Disclaimer: If you want Game Six of the 2011 World Series to forever remain pure as the greatest game you’ve ever witnessed (minus, of course, that ESPY-award winning second round playoff game between the Saints and 49ers), it’s in your best interests to not read this. Perhaps you watched the game with your children…with you wife…with your husband…with your gentleman lover…with your friends…with 48,000 other people going batshit when David Freese’s ball sent us to Game Seven. If that memory of that moment is precious to you, and you’d only like to remember that moment as being the most euphoric split second of your baseball life, please stop here. When you think of Game Six of the 2011 World Series, I don’t want you to think of Kyle Lohse’s fist.

insideSTL has learned through sources close to the Cardinals that Wednesday night was not the first time Kyle Lohse fisted Skip Schumaker in a walk-off celebration.

The first fisting occurred at approximately 11:34 on October 27, 2011. As David Freese approached home plate to put baseball’s greatest game to bed, sources tell insideSTL Lohse gave Schumaker the what’s what…and fisted him.

insideSTL’s investigative staff reviewed the video of the alleged incident, and we can confirm that as Freese is making his way home, Lohse does indeed make himself at home behind Skip.

Schumaker is standing on the third base side of home plate waving Freese  home in celebration. That right arm of #55 is windmilling like the dickens. Schumaker’s jumping up and down. He’s waving his cap like a Little Leaguer. He’s experiencing one of the greatest moments of his baseball career. It’s a beautiful sight. If Norman Rockwell were with us, he would have painted a picture of this heavenly baseball scene.

But then as we slow the video down, Lohse does indeed enter the picture from the lower right side of the monitor. The normally stoic Cardinal starter is all smiles. He grabs Schumaker and lifts him up. That’s a standard move in a scene like this. But, what happens when Lohse sets Schumaker down is not.

The same right hand that has thrown the fifth-best ERA in the National League this year forms a fist…and plunges Skip’s mancavern.

We couldn’t believe what we saw.

It’s one thing to hear the reports from our sources that Schumaker was first fisted by Lohse nine months ago, but it’s another thing to actually see the incident…and view The First Fisting.

The expression on Schumaker’s face as the fist connects is one of brief shock, but the perfection of the moment has the adrenalin pumping…and perhaps it could be written off as an accident. However, the look on Lohse’s face is one of satisfaction. His team had just forced Game Seven. And he had just fisted a teammate.

If you don’t have Game Six at your disposal to see it for yourself, the best way I can describe Lohse’s face, body language, and gesture is Tiger Woods’ fist pump on the 72nd hole of the 2008 U.S. Open.

It’s the look of a man who got what he wanted with millions of people watching.

Little did we know at the time…he’d get it over and over and over and over again.

Sources tell insideSTL that since that night in October of 2011…the Cardinals have walked-off four times. And, yes, Skip Schumaker has walked off the field a little less comfortably than his teammates after each victory. Lohse has found him in the sea of men, and he’s fisted him every single time.

When contacted by insideSTL for comment following Wednesday night’s fisting, Lohse issued the following statement:

“I think the camera angle is interpreting something that isn’t there. We had a great victory as a team, and my teammates and I celebrated accordingly. I look forward to this afternoon’s game, and hopefully we get on a run that this team is capable of.”

However, our sources tell us that the denial is a front, and Lohse can’t believe he was caught red handed by the ESPN cameras Wednesday night. The terrifying video of a scrappy Cardinal---the most sacred of all kinds of Cardinals according to the BFIB (Best Fans In Baseball)---receiving an aggressive plundering from a gentleman teammate has made its way all over the sports world on sites as big as Deadspin. Hell, the viewers of ESPN saw the tyranny as Dan Le Betard examined the video like Kevin Costner in JFK.

It doesn’t matter how many times you play it. How many angles you see it. There’s Skip’s buttocks. And there’s Lohse’s fist.

It’s not “Back…and to the left. Back…and to the left.” It’s “Up…and rather hard. Up…and rather hard.”

Our sources indicate Schumaker is actually happy---sort of---that his fisting was captured by the cameras. Sure, a gentleman would prefer a national television audience isn’t watching when he gets fisted, but in this case, this evidence could mean Lohse has gotten Skip for the last time.

On the other hand---the left one---for Cardinal fans, a Kyle Lohse-Skip Schumaker fisting sighting means the club is winning.  In 2011, Skip took the high hard one, and his team won the World Series 24 hours later. Perhaps in 2012, Skip’s going to have to keep taking one for the team.

That will be determined if and when the next time the Cardinals walk-off a win.

So, if and when that time comes in the next couple of months, when you’re celebrating with your friends and family, be mindful that there’s a second baseman out there who will be temporarily reluctantly playing the role of catcher to an aggressive Cardinal pitcher.

Log-in and post your comments, or you can email me at tmckernan@insidestl.com.

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