Dusty Baker and I must have gone to different “old schools” together. I have been watching baseball games since Moby Dick was in a fish bowl and I have rarely, if ever heard anyone advocate publicly that a hit batter should result in two men squaring off in a locker room.
Here he is, word for word: “Just put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with. I always said this, let it be like hockey, let them fight, someone hits the ground and it’s over with. I’m serious about that.”
What he is talking about is an incident in Sunday’s game with the Chicago Cubs. Cubbie’s starter Matt Garza hit Todd Frazier in the fourth inning and in the sixth inning Jonny Cueto pitched one about 20 feet high to David DeJesus, prompting umpire Bob Davidson to warn both teams about throwing at hitters.
Baker said his pitcher “couldn’t have hit Wilt Chamberlain with that pitch.”
Later Cub reliever Carlos Marmol gave one of the Reds some chin music to a chorus of “boos” from the crowd directed to Davidson. Normally, wildness notwithstanding, a pitcher is thrown out if he gets a little too close to a batter after sides have been warned. This was not the case. Nor was it the case in the ninth inning when Kyuji Fujikawa hit Shin-Soo Choo with a pitch.
I really don’t understand Garza’s beef. Cueto didn’t hit a batter. Cuetto didn’t go “high and tight.” He didn’t drop DeJesus in the dust. He sailed one over everything. Good on ya’ Cueto.
When trouble arises such as a hit batter and retaliation, the benches unload, much cursing, a few loose hooks are thrown and the game goes on. Sometimes a guy gets pinned against a fence and has someone run into his spikes. Apologies here to Jason LaRue – don’t mess with Cueto.
Fighting in a game is looked down upon, to be sure, but that is the way it has been, and it probably always will. You throw at my batter, and my guy will throw at yours.
Sometimes, in days of old, players would run into each other on the way to the bus and settle it, but meet in a locker room and throw hands until a TKO occurs?
Dusty, how would you show if this happened and your $7.4M man was not only knocked out but suffered a serious injury? Would you just shrug, bite on the toothpick and say, “Que sera sera?”
Why didn’t he and Derek Lowe go this route to settle their differences? Just sayin’.