On Wednesday night, the Chicago Cubs smoked the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-5 behind two home runs and four RBIs from ever-enthusiastic Cubs infielder Javy Baez.
CRUSHED. Javy Baez, so smooth.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 12, 2018
But while it was the dingers that doomed the Pirates, it was Baez’s seventh-inning pop-up that most angered their manager. Pittsburgh skipper Clint Hurdle told reporters Thursday that he did not approve of the way the 25-year-old tossed his bat following the out. Via The Athletic:
And then Hurdle brought up Baez. In the seventh inning on Wednesday, with a runner on second base and none out, Báez hit a high pop-up to shortstop Jordy Mercer and tossed his bat as he ran out of the batter’s box.
“Where is the respect for the game?” Hurdle said. “He’s hit four homers in two days, does that mean you can take your bat and throw it 15-20 feet in the air when you pop up, like you should have hit your fifth home run? I would bet that men went over and talked to him, because I believe they’ve got a group there that speaks truth to power.”
An anonymous Pirate, meanwhile, told The Athletic, “That’s just the Cubs being the Cubs. It could be a little less sometimes, maybe.”
Baez, for his part said after the game Wednesday that he learned from the experience, thanks to teammates coming up to him.
“You know what I really got out of today?” Báez said. “You know what I learned? How ugly I looked on that fly ball. I tossed the bat really high. I didn’t run to first base. A lot of teammates came up to me, and they said it in a good way.
“You learn from it. Especially me, I don’t take the AB before to the plate. After I hit that fly ball where I tossed the bat really high, I was kind of mad about it. Not because of the fly ball, just the way I looked for the kids and everybody that follows me. That’s not a good look, so I learned that from today.”
But the Pirates’ complaints did not stop with Baez tossing his bat. Hurdle and at least one player were reportedly also upset with Cubs catcher Willson Contreras for holding up his arm to indicate to the umpire that he thought a pitch was out of the strike zone.
“The catcher, I mean … he’s a talented young man,” Hurdle said. “There is a day, he would have been thrown out as soon as he (gestured) that the ball was high. Those are things you try to help your young players with as they go through it that’s not respect for the game, that’s not the way we do things here.”
Many in the Pirates’ clubhouse were surprised that Contreras’ showmanship didn’t result in an ejection from Bellino.
“If I do what Contreras did, I’m pretty sure I’d get tossed, and I’ve got (several) years in the league,” one veteran player said.
You know, it’s hard to figure out why Hurdle is even worried about this stuff. If Baez doesn’t hustle down the first base line, isn’t that the Cubs’ problem? Who was the victim of Baez tossing his bat? And if Contreras is showing up the umpire, is it really the opposing manager’s job to call him out? Shouldn’t Hurdle be focusing on his own team?
As usual, everyone in baseball could due to lighten up just a bit.