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Giants vs. Padres: Was Angel Pagan or Derek Norris at fault for MLB “gumgate”?

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Justin Maxwell had the big extra-innings hit. Brandon Crawford made play after play at short. Tim Hudson fired off six-plus scoreless innings.

And yet, the storyline that had Giants fans chattering after a 12-inning affair with San Diego involved Angel Pagan, Padres catcher Derek Norris and a harmless piece of gum.

Well, it was harmless until Pagan tried to get rid of it, only to have it slap off Norris’ left shin guard. Questioned by reporters after the game, the center fielder claimed that the gum simply stuck to his batting glove, causing it to go somewhere it wasn’t intended.

It’s simple physics, folks.

Nonetheless, Norris reacted how one might expect, kicking away the nastiness before getting into it with the offending gum-tosser. The former A’s backstop was also asked about the incident after the game, and had some less-than-kind words for Pagan.

Keep in mind that Norris was probably not in very good spirits given that his team just lost, but still—harsh, bro.

So, who’s at fault for this special MLB edition of “gumgate?”

They’re both to blame, really, though neither acted way out of turn. If you believe Pagan’s story—which you should—he was just trying to do some housekeeping in the box. On Norris’ end, getting a piece of used gum thrown at you is never fun, especially when you’re trying to get in a rhythm with your new closer.

Speaking of the Padres’ ninth-inning guy, Craig Kimbrel actually escalated the situation by brushing Pagan back with some high heat. Angel quickly responded by serving up a triple to deep center, followed by an extra-fiery celebration after sliding into third.

In that sense, you can pass off a little blame to Kimbrel even though he did right by the unwritten rules of baseball (i.e. always get your teammate’s back), and maybe even Pagan for getting a bit too animated. We love him for that, though, so he’s off the hook.

Norris can be pardoned for his role in the fracas too, but not for his childish slight after the fact.

As for the ill-fated gum…guilty as charged for the crime of being sticky.

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