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Clint Hurdle on Javier Baez, Willson Contreras: “Where is the respect for the game?”

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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.

 

CC Sabathia hopes to play one more year

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Back in May, Yankees starter CC Sabathia said he’d retire if the Yankees won the World Series. That still may be the plan, but he recently told MLB.com that he’s going to try to pitch in 2019, health willing:

“I’m start to start. I go out one start and feel like I can pitch five more years. I go out another start and I’m done. But if I can stay healthy — if my knee holds up — hopefully I’ll play one more.”

Sabathia is enjoying a nice late-career renaissance, having transformed himself from the dominant lefty he used to be to a crafty one over the past several seasons. Sabathia will turn 38 on Saturday, but he’s having another solid season. He has a 3.51 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 18 starts.

Will a World Series decide whether he hangs ’em up? Will his knee? Guess we’ll know by November.