Cubs: A Response to Pirates’ Criticism of Javy Baez

Pittsburgh Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle should probably do some self evaluating after his tired and tone deaf comments about Javier Baez on Thursday.

The beautiful weather today on the Northside of Chicago failed to bring an equally attractive result for the Cubs. A 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Pirates produced little talking points.

Kyle Schwarber went yard, and figured out how to beat the shift. Justin Wilson experienced a 7th inning meltdown, looking reminiscent to his 2017 performances. But the real news after this one came in the press room.

In the latest version of Major League Baseball’s affinity for being a living version of the “Old Man Yells at Cloud” meme, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle decided to take aim at Cubs players. For what, do you ask? Bat flips. How original.

Before Thursday afternoon’s game kicked off, Hurdle took it upon himself to criticize Javy Baez regarding an at bat in the 7th inning of Wednesday night’s ball game. The Pirates lost that game by eight runs, mind you.

Hurdle has this to say on Thursday, “You watch their kid flip that bat last night? Where’s the respect for the game? The guy hits four homers in two days, so that means 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 homerun?”

First of all, Clint, that kid you are referring to is one of the most exciting players to put on the uniform in today’s game. The plays he makes with his glove and his bat on a day-to-day basis have captivated baseball fans since he broke into the league a few years ago. Never mind that Javy Baez is also an NLCS MVP, and a World Series Champion.

Hurdle’s comments just come off as tired and tone deaf. Major League Baseball has an identity problem, and old-school mindsets like that of the Pittsburgh manager are why. In order to keep the attention of a younger audience, the Commissioners Office is trying to shave a few minutes off games through pace of play mandates. Meanwhile, you have managers bombarding players to the press for playing with some flair. You have pitchers putting a 95 MPH fastball in a player’s back for watching a homerun sail over the fence.

This is not the first time the Pirates have had issues with opposing players. Back in 2014, former Pirates starter Gerrit Cole took it upon himself to confront former Brewer outfielder Carlos Gomez after he flipped his bat on a triple. The benches eventually cleared and Gomez, not Cole, would be ejected.

My advice to the Pirates is — if you don’t like hitters flipping their bat, try to avoid giving up so many hard shots.

Hurdle refers to respecting the game in his criticism of Baez. When you look back at a few moments from recent Pirates history, this feels a lot like a “don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house” type of situation.

How about this flip from Starling Marte? Is this OK, Clint?

How about Tony Watson and Sean Rodriguez humiliating themselves in the 2015 National League Wildcard Game against the Cubs? Watson intentionally plunked Jake Arrieta who was cruising through the Pirates’ lineup.

Rodriguez subsequently fought a Gatorade cooler after the benches cleared, probably realizing his season was over. This doesn’t seem all that respectful to me.

Back to Hurdle’s comments.

Baez caught wind of the criticism following Thursday’s ball game. The 25-year old handled it like a seasoned veteran. He avoided calling out specific members of the Pirates. Instead he referenced the fact that the last thing he wants to do is set a poor example for the kids who watch him play.

Baez’s most memorable quote came at the end of his comments on the matter, “People that talk about me can save it.”

Thanks for the bulletin board material, Pittsburgh. See you in May.

Quotes Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — Feature Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports


17 comments on “Cubs: A Response to Pirates’ Criticism of Javy Baez

  1. You forgot ceravelli whine at every called strike

  2. Hurdle is 100% correct! Baseball, just like society has gotten away from doing the right thing. Baez is a hot dog, and that’s fine. However, when he and Contreras don’t run hard after hitting the ball.(in the playoffs mind you) They think they are bigger then the game! They hurt their teams chances to win, and set a horrible example for the next generation of players. In the attached video Carlos Gomez flips the bat and showboats. If he put his head down and ran hard, he would have scored! But that’s not important, he looked cool, right?

    • Dave, professional baseball is an entertainment based business. I don’t know why we hold it to some higher standard with all of its unwritten rules. Players like Baez and Contreras are assets to the game because not only are they incredibly talented, but they have bright personalities that fans can engage with. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to watch robots play the game. Thanks for reading.

      • Chris, respectfully, I agree with Dave. Fans who are entertained more by players’ displays of classiness, restraint, and humility now are in the decided minority. Your statement suggests that it would have been better for the game had Lou Gehrig shrieked, “F*CK ALS!!!!” and shot both middle fingers in the air.

      • Chris DeGuilio

        @MarkNowlin: Haha no I definitely would not approve of any ballplayer acting in that fashion… I’ll just say that there probably is a fine line between players exhibiting flair and just being jerks. I don’t think Baez came anywhere near crossing that line though.

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  6. BrianC46

    You failed to mention that players on his own team pulled him aside and told him to knock off the crap. You also failed to mention how he himself said he shouldn’t have done what he did. But, please don’t let direct quotes and facts get in the way of your narrative.

    • Robert Book

      a .253 career hitting second baseman who swings from his heels. doesn’t move runners, he’s a dog heavy on the mustard. hey, but you’re a fan and he does have that glove.

    • You missed the whole point of the article: old white hypocritical paternalistic men who think they need to protect the “sanctity” of the game & “know” how the game should be played; not if Javy made a disrespectful move in the heat of the moment.

    • Brian, appreciate you keeping up with our Cubs coverage. Yes, it was reported Pedro Strop and Baez had a conversation, but the details of that conversation were not disclosed. Additionally, I did mention that Baez acknowledged how his actions may have effected how younger fans look at him. Again, thanks for your feedback.

  7. Kellen Nebelski

    This is one of those issues on which those on both sides make good points. I wish more could be willing to see and acknowledge that. Rather than the “originalists” or the ” progressives” trying to make the GAME more entertaining, in the day of social media, I think it’s the actual arguing between them that people find most entertaining. THAT is sad.

    • Chris DeGuilio

      Kellen, appreciate your thoughts. I tend to agree with you. I respect both sides’ opinions on the matter. There are certainly instances where players take showboating too far. Jose Bautista’s actions in Game 5 of the ALDS a couple years ago are good examples. But Baez did not show up any Pirates players here, and Hurdle did not have any right to make the comments because of that fact, in my opinion.

  8. Lmao whoever wrote this article is a complete moron. Baez is an error machine who tried to make every routine play look as flashy as possible and rarely even puts wood on the ball, however I for one love the bat flips, and do agree that Hurdles opinion is tired. Baseball is supposed to be fun, take that 1970’s attitude back to the 70’s

    • Patrick Flowers

      So you agree with the focal point of the story, but the author is a moron? I got that correct right?

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