The Cubs apparently think this is Little League

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The scene: Nationals Park, during the fifth inning of the last night’s Cubs-Nats game, Nats up 7-2. The incident: Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk is jawing from the dugout — after he was ejected umpire Jerry Layne referred to it as “screaming out obscenities,” and Nats third-base coach Bo Porter jawed right back at him.  The reason, according to Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger:

“You’re up 7-2, Lendy Castillo’s pitching, it’s 3-0. You don’t swing in that situation”

This referring to Jayson Werth swinging at a 3-0 pitch just prior.  Also agitating the Cubs was the fact that the Nats stole two bases that inning.

The next inning, things got chippier, when Castillo threw at Bryce Harper. Benches cleared.  While everyone later said the requisite “he didn’t mean to do that” stuff, Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com observes that Clevenger didn’t move an inch to catch the ball that Harper had to jump out of the way to avoid, so he knew where that pitch was headed. And then he was in the middle of the scrum that developed. Quirk was ejected, as was Clevenger and Cubs reliever Manny Corpas.

The overall assessment: total amateur hour by the Cubs.  Maybe it’s wrong for 12 year-olds to run up the score on one another, but this is the big leagues. Guys are going to steal bases and swing on 3-0.  They won’t stop trying just because you’re getting your asses kicked all over the park. Don’t like your asses getting kicked all over the park? Play better.

Cincinnati Reds fire Bryan Price

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The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.

It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.

Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).” 

Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.

Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.