Sitting out in left field last night, it was hard for us to tell whether or not the latest round of Pirates-Reds beanball was intentional.
Sam LeCure, who hadn’t hit a batter in the last calendar year (September 21, 2012 until last night, September 20, 2013), drilled Andrew McCutchen with an 87 mph fastball in the seventh inning. Draw your own conclusions:
Looking at it now, it’s stupid for that to be intentional based on the situation. But knowing Reds’ manager Dusty Baker‘s history, it’s not hard to believe.
Former Bucco pitcher and current ROOT Sports analyst Kent Tekulve had some pretty revealing information on the postgame show last night about the 64-year-old manager:
The most telling line there is, “Dusty has had this ‘reputation everywhere he’s been.'”
This crap really does go back for years. Back in 1995, Don Baylor‘s Rockies and Dusty Baker’s Giants got involved in a little beanball war. In a situation that was “inappropriate for any kind of ‘message’ pitch”, Colorado star Larry Walker was plunked right on the elbow. Interesting, a situation that doesn’t make sense to hit someone? Oh, just like last night.
Anyway, Dusty did his typical postgame routine that night in ’95, saying “That pitch was just barely inside. Every time a guy gets hit, people want to know what I think. I’m tired of the questions, that’s what I think. It’s like everybody’s coming out to see a fight now, not baseball.” So, yes, even 18 years ago he was spewing this kind of garbage.
When Dusty’s Giants drilled Sean Casey with a retaliatory fastball in April of 2002, Casey was understandably upset and had it completely right: “Forget the baseball part. This is about life… Enough is enough. I’ve got a little kid at home and a wife. Sometimes you have to take care of things yourself.”
All Dusty said was that no one could possibly be throwing at Casey because he’s “one of the most likable guys in the league.” Oh, making an excuse for hitting a certain player? Funny, after last night’s game, he distributed the same crap: “McCutchen doesn’t do anything to warrant you to hit him. All he does is play, and he’s a great player.”
Baker did the same thing in June of 2012 when his relief pitcher, Sean Marshall, plunked Mets’ star David Wright in retaliation of a Joey Votto HBP… “You can perceive anything you want to. [Wright] is a heck of a player. He’s 4-for-6 off Marshall, so evidently nothing else has worked.”
This is a guy who was warned by the league in 2003 for beanball. But at the same time, he’s never going to admit anything…
“It’s an unwritten rule that even if a pitcher throws at an opposing player, no one admits it.
“If you do that you’re in serious trouble,” Baker said. “It’s not unwritten. If it starts off unwritten, it won’t remain.”
Baker had apparently been calling for his pitchers to throw at Derek Lowe for years; Lowe lashed back last June: “Dusty will deny it. It has everything to do with him. You can go ask him. He’ll deny it like he has no idea. They’ve been trying to do this [stuff] for years… I have zero respect for the guy…”
He’s known to deny it. Nothing’s going to change. Baker offered the same B.S. in the clubhouse after last night’s game. It’s a tired act and Dusty’s going to keep playing his little games.
“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.”
Maybe he just wants to see a fight, huh? Great.
But evidently that didn’t send a strong enough message to Dusty and the Reds. They’ll keep doing what they’re doing and try to bully the Pirates. That’s fine – all the Bucs need to do is win. That’s all. Send a message if you want to, but do what you gotta do to win the game.