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Cubs, Braves get into it over…pitch framing?

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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.

 

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.