The Chicago White Sox are postponed again today for the second day in a row as they wait out a colossal winter storm in Minnesota. Since there’s not a ton to analyze with the South Siders right now, let’s turn our attention to the North Siders, the hated Chicago Cubs.
We often get asked why we hate the Cubs so much. There are hundreds of reasons why, as you and I know we all have our individual reasons, many shared in a large, overflowing vat of greasy hate. This is good, clean, old-fashioned hate, overflowing for decades. In fact, it’s been reaching a boiling point for over a century now.
The latest situation that got my blood boiling was the Javier Baez controversy the other day with the Pittsburgh Pirates and their manager Clint Hurdle. I’m sure you’ve heard about this ridiculous catfight. If not, let me briefly explain. #9 2B Javier Baez hit two home runs on back to back days on Tuesday and Wednesday at Wrigley against the NL Central leading Pirates. (These were Baez’s only 4 hits over the last week coincidentally. His last hit was on Friday 4/6 at Milwaukee.)
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle wasn’t too happy with Baez’s bat flip out of frustration on a popout and subsequent non-hustle to first base late in Wednesday afternoon’s game after already homering twice earlier. So when Hurdle was interviewed prior to Thursday’s game he said, “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 home run?”
First of all, I agree with Clint Hurdle. Baez is a hot dog, just like his young immature teammates Willson Contreras and Albert Almora. Lately, Anthony Rizzo seems to be losing his maturity too. Remember last year’s NLCS Game 3 against the Nationals where Rizzo yelled “Respect Me”? What a prima donna! Get over yourself! If a player on a team other than the Lovable Losers did this they’d be vilified. But for some reason people overlook this cocky, selfish, drama queen.
* Prima donna (noun) : a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance
Second of all, Pedro Strop supposedly pulled Baez aside and scolded him to not screw around with bat flips and not hustling, saying it was a bad example to set for kids and other fans, etc. I applaud Strop.
In Saturday’s Chicago Tribune, Teddy Greenstein wrote an article entitled “Maddon calls Hurdle’s criticism of Baez ‘revealing'”. In it, Greenstein pointed out that “Mr. Ego” (my nickname, not Greenstein’s) Manager Joe Maddon “applauded Strop for the Cubs’ self-policing, saying it reflected strong culture”. Greenstein has covered this entire fight with multiple stories. He also wrote a column that appeared in Friday’s newspaper that basically attacked Hurdle. Needless to say, this has gotten all the Cubs fans all riled up and dialing up sports radio stations to rip on Hurdle.
OK, so we basically have at least Maddon and Strop (who knows how many other veteran teammates are starting to get sick of Baez’s hot-dogging) calling out Baez for his antics. However, here are some postgame quotes from Cooooo teammates about the situation.
“Four homers in two days and he doesn’t respect the game; you should have hit five, Javy,” Anthony Rizzo said loud enough in the clubhouse for everyone to hear.
“He is full of energy and loves the game, and the way he goes about it rubs off on everyone. Like today, we’re down 6-1 and he has a big smile on his face even though he’s 0-for-4. He’s a really good human being and really enjoys the game.” – Kyle Schwarber, after shrugging off Hurdle’s comments with a look of disgust
So what did Javy Baez have to say for himself?
“I bust my ass every day to play hard,” he said calmly. “I don’t think anyone plays this game harder than me. I respect 90. If I have to apologize, I have to apologize to my teammates and my manager, not to the other team. We’re playing a game, we’re winning 13-something (Wednesday) and I think it got to him. We lost the series but we’re still the same. I’m happy; there’s music in the clubhouse. People who talk about me, they can save it. I don’t really care about it.”
So I guess I’m a little confused. Maddon, Strop, and Baez all seemed to admit that Baez was wrong. But when Hurdle called him out for it, the Cubs attacked Hurdle for being a bad guy that doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
I can’t believe Joe Maddon had the gall to utter these words:
“I don’t understand why he did what he [Hurdle] did. Whenever you want to be hypercritical of somebody, just understand you are revealing yourself and your beliefs more than you’re evaluating somebody – because you have not spent one second in that person’s skin……..I think most of the time when you hear critical commentary, it’s self-evaluation. It reveals you more than it reveals the person you are talking about….. I thought Javy did a great job in his response. I’m very proud of him…. How old is Javy – 24, 25? Just put yourself in that position. When I was coming out of Lafayette playing some ball and getting released, I was an absolute idiot. And I’m not saying Javy is. I’m saying give young people an opportunity to make some mistakes. The mistakes of youth are preferable to the wisdom of old age any day of the week.”
Ironic, no? “Mr. Ego” Maddon called out his supposed friend Hurdle, saying they “have a great relationship”. What? Uhh, I think you just ruined the relationship you intellectual hippie.
Maddon basically spoke out about the opposing manager saying it was uncalled for, even though he agreed that Baez was wrong, that it was “a proud moment” when Strop self-policed Baez, praised his own clubhouse for a “galvanized culture”, all the while turning it into Hurdle’s mistake, that he shouldn’t be speaking out about other teams and their players respecting the game.
By calling out Hurdle, saying it “reveals you more than it reveals the person you are talking about”, Maddon turned it around back on himself. He is so two-faced. Right? He just scolded a fellow manager in that self-righteous way his ego pushes him to do time and again. Now that’s irony.
Meanwhile, the Cooooo keep losing games. Why? Is it the overrated talent? Is it the clubhouse cancers? Is “Mr. Ego” Maddon’s act starting to wear thin, as it did in his final year with Tampa?
By the way, Baez is hitting .190 entering Saturday’s game. He went 1-5 today, moving him up to .191. He only has 9 hits on the year, 4 of them home runs. Anybody think he’s swinging too hard? Soon he’ll have more bat flips on his season stats than actual hits.
PS Jose Quintana’s ERA is 8.16. Jon Lester is old and kind of a tool. Wait……”kind of”? This is a pro baseball player that can’t throw to first base mind you, but he had the gall to stare down Ryan Braun because he dared to steal bases on him last week. C’mon man. As Coach Ditka would say, “Who you crappin’?” Meanwhile, Yu Darvish’s ERA is at 6.00. How soon before the panic ensues at the Big Top Circus known as Wrigley Field? Oh, don’t worry, they say. We have a new hotel, outdoor park, and place where you can spend more of your millions in our big top circus atmosphere to distract you from all the two faced idiocy in the home dugout. No worries……. right?
That’s all for now. Don’t forget to “Put Your Sox On”. It’s cold out there.