What really happened between Pagan, Norris and the Gum?


In a 12-inning game that ended 1-0, it was chewing gum that made the real headlines. The altercation between San Diego Padres catcher Derek Norris and San Francisco Giants centerfielder Angel Pagan didn’t even occur in the pivotal 12th inning that decided the game.

It came in the ninth inning. Craig Kimbrel, the Padres’ new closer, had come into replace Joaquin Benoit. Pagan was at the plate and Norris was behind it.

Now there have been different accounts of what happened next but it involves a piece of gum.

Some reports say that it was Pagan’s gum while others say that it was a stray piece of gum on the ground. Either way the gum was tossed by Pagan towards Norris who took offense Pagan’s actions.

Steve Petrella of The Sporting News writes,

“Giants outfielder Angel Pagan tossed his gum away while at bat in the ninth inning. It hit catcher Derek Norris’s glove. Norris was not happy about it.”

Petrella went on to call Pagan “a world class agitator” suggesting that it was Pagan’s gum that was tossed at Norris.

Pagan’s account was a little different according to Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area,

As Pagan told it, he stepped into the batter’s box and saw a dirty piece of gum where he would place his foot. He picked it up and tried to throw it aside, but the stickum on his gloves mixed with the gum and it flew directly under Norris, not away from the plate as intended.”

The San Jose Mercury News had this to say about Pagan,

“Pagan offered a somewhat lame excuse, then said Norris entirely overreacted to the gesture.”

Pagan was quoted as saying,

“My batting gloves were sticky. It was everything for a piece of gum. … I didn’t do anything wrong. That’s his game face. I respect that, [but] he didn’t have to take that position.”

We will probably never know exactly what happened but words were had at the plate and warnings were issued to both benches. Norris made his feelings known to reporters after the game.

Kimbrel then threw a fastball up and in to Pagan which could have been seen as retailiation. Kimbrel said with a smile on his face,

“It just happened. I was wild today.”

Pagan got the last laugh, in a way. He tripled off of Kimbrel but got stranded at third, allowing the game to go on until the 12th inning where Brandon Crawford reached base on a fielding error by Clint Barmes and was later driven in on a single by Justin Maxwell.

The Padres were unable to score in the bottom of the inning and the Giants took home the 1-0 victory. It should be interesting to see what evolves between these two National League West teams, as they play 18 more games against each other this season and are both vying for the division title.