Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic spoke to Pirates manager Clint Hurdle this morning. The topic: a couple of minor incidents in yesterday’s Pirates-Cubs game. One in which Javier Baez flipped his bat after popping up and another after Willson Contreras held his arm out to signal to the umpire that he thought the call was wrong after being rung up.
In response, Hurdle asked, rhetorically, “where is the respect for the game?” suggesting that such behavior would not be tolerated on the Pirates and that, he assumed, such behavior would be handled in-house by the Cubs. He went on to talk about how, when he was a young catcher he tried to hold a framed pitch for a while and got barked at by an umpire, teaching him a lesson. It’s a pretty good story, actually.
That aside, if I’m Hurdle I want Contreras doing that more, actually, because it’s likely to cause umps — who have egos and demands for respect of their own — to squeeze him even more. I’d guess, also, that to the extent the Cubs deal with Contreras about that in-house, it’ll be couched in those terms more than some abstract “respect the game” lecture. Part of your job as a catcher is to make sure the umps are giving your pitchers the calls too, you know. If they’re annoyed at you, that can’t help.
As for Baez, he apologized already, so that’s taken care of.
As for “respecting the game,” I’d take the concept more seriously if someone could explain to me why sometimes guys who act unconventionally when they fail are called “competitors” and lauded for their intensity and others who do so are accused of “disrespecting the game.” I’m not gonna hold my breath for it, though.