Remember back in June, when Ian Kennedy started a huge brawl between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers by hitting Zack Greinke near the head? It turns out Arizona GM Kevin Towers wants to see more of that.
Speaking to Arizona Sports 620 yesterday, Towers recalled a September game in which the Dodgers hit six home runs against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field (before PoolGate ever happened).
"I was sitting behind home plate that game and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag … Literally, if I would have had a carton of baseballs I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate.
"That's not who we are as Diamondbacks, that's not how — I mean, it's a reflection on Gibby, on myself, on our entire organization. They slapped us around and we took it."
Towers talked to Kirk Gibson about it, but apparently nothing came of it.
"You'd think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently … Probably a week later Goldy gets dinged, and no retaliation. It's like 'wait a minute.'
"Not that I don't take any of our guys from a lesser standpoint, but if Goldy's getting hit, it's an eye for an eye, somebody's going down or somebody's going to get jackknifed."
Towers goes on to say he expects things to change next year.
"I think come spring training, it will be duly noted that it's going to be an eye for an eye and we're going to protect one another.
"If not, if you have options there's ways to get you out of here and you don't follow suit or you don't feel comfortable doing it, you probably don't belong in a Diamondbacks uniform."
So, to recap:
The general manager of a Major League Baseball team said he took one loss so poorly, he personally wanted to throw baseballs at players on another team. He was so enraged that a team had the audacity to hit so many home runs against his team (and have fun while doing it) that he used his authority as GM to demand that the coaching staff instruct their players to retaliate. When nothing came of it (or the next incident), the GM publicly states that part of spring training instructionals next year will be how and when to intentionally throw at a batter. And what happens if a pitcher who's making the league minimum and might not want to risk losing a week's worth of pay when he's asked to carry out a hit? Well, enjoy your trip back to Reno.
Surely, the league is thrilled with the GM of a team publicly stating his intentions like this. Surely, Gibson appreciates being thrown under the bus and having his authority undermined. And surely, Diamondbacks pitchers will appreciate the short leash they'll have next season when trying to work inside now that umpires will go into every game assuming Arizona will try to get even on some perceived slight.
The "you hit ours, we hit yours" stuff probably isn't all that surprising coming from an old-school GM like Towers, but the concerning thing is that he's talking about throwing at batters for things like hitting lots of home runs. For someone who's been in the game for so long, it comes off as childish and unprofessional.
Oh, by the way, pitching coach Charles Nagy was fired yesterday. Towers' quote on the change, as told to Nick Piecoro?
"The years that clubs that I’ve had that have had success, we’ve been a tough staff … We’ve been a staff that we’re not going to get knocked around. When we go in and face clubs, it’s going to be uncomfortable at-bats for them. To me, personality is very important."
The two may or may not be correlated. At the very least, Nagy's firing becomes a lot more interesting when you consider Towers' "if you don't want to hit batters, you don't belong in the uniform" quote.