Getty Images

Cubs, Braves get into it over…pitch framing?

34 Comments

Last night Willson Contreras of the Cubs was batting against Julio Teherán of the Braves. Tyler Flowers was catching. Teherán got a called strike that Contreras didn’t much like and he turned to jaw at the umpire and Flowers. Then Contreras launched a homer to right field.

As Contreras left the batter’s box he turned to say something to Flowers. Then he looked into the Braves dugout. When he got home he and Flowers jawed like crazy with some high-dollar curse words exchanged. That led to the benches emptying. Watch:

After the game, Joe Maddon said “It was an exchange based on catching technique . . . I was kind of amused by the whole thing.” It certainly seemed like a situation in which one catcher was trying to condition the ump to get the calls the opposing catcher was getting. Contreras said, however, that Flowers “jumped into the conversation,” and that after he hit the homer, he told Flowers, “you do your job I’ll do mine.”

“He got pissed off,” Contreras said of Flowers. Seems accurate. Flowers’ take on it was pretty par for the course for a Braves catcher:

“I got no problem with him saying anything to me, but when it starts to reflect on our pitcher on the mound and our team, that’s more of an issue for me . . . It was all very unnecessary in my opinion. The guy is a decent hitter, he doesn’t need to complain about every call. We won’t get into that aspect of the game we just finished. He got plenty of calls for his guys, too. Sometimes you need to pick your battles, and that’s hopefully something he will learn as he gets a little bit older.”

Flowers is 33. Contreras is 27. I guess those six are the most critical years in adult development. Who knew?

The best part of it was when Braves announcer Jeff Francoeur said that he wished he had thrown a “haymaker” at Contreras when he was still playing and the Braves and Cubs got into a similar beef back in 2016. Because that’s helpful. Francoeur, by the way, is 35. No word on what he’ll learn as he gets older.

Whatever. As far as drama goes it wasn’t exactly pitched and it’d be rather silly if this resulted in discipline for anyone. Guess we’ll wait for one of those 4:47PM press releases from Major League Baseball to see if that’s the case.

 

MLB to move the draft to Omaha on the eve of the College World Series

Getty Images
Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO — We spend a lot of time on these pages criticizing Major League Baseball’s decisions. And yeah, they make a lot of questionable decisions (or logical decisions which serve questionable motives). But in the past day or so they’ve certainly gotten a couple of things right.

First was what we posted about last night: MLB moving to take marijuana off the banned substance list for minor leaguers. This, combined with the recent report that MLB/MLBPA are moving to a treatment, as opposed to a punishment-based regimen for opioids, shows that sense, as opposed to hysteria and optics, is beginning to move to the fore when it comes to baseball’s drug policies. It’s certainly welcome.

Also reported last night — by Kendall Rogers of the website d1baseball.com — Major League Baseball plans to move the amateur draft from the MLB Network studios in New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska, and schedule it at just at the start of the College World Series. The move has not been officially announced yet, but I’d expect an MLB press release on it before we all get on our planes on Thursday morning.

It would be nicely coordinated too, Rogers says, coming just after the super regionals but before the actual CWS. This would allow the top players expected to go to all be on hand, either as players in the CWS or because, hey, they just got done and would probably be there anyway. It’s way better than putting a six guys in a green room in Secaucus. That’s always so awkward. You can tell they don’t really want to be there and don’t know what to do with themselves. In Omaha they’ll be among their friends, teammates, family, and counterparts. The atmosphere will almost certainly radically change for the better.

It’s still a very, very tall order to ever create the same level of interest in the MLB draft that exists for the NFL or NBA drafts, as the structure of college football and basketball and the fame of its stars is a totally different deal coming in. But this is a positive move forward for the baseball draft. Good job to whoever’s idea it was.