Nobody blames you if you’ve tuned out of this Cubs season, but here’s the setup…in last night’s game against the Nationals, which ended with another beatdown and a series sweep at the hands of the best team in the majors, there was an incident.
Let’s look at what transpired.
I was still at work, trying to follow the asskicking on Gameday, when Gameday basically did nothing for a few minutes after a way-inside pitch to Bryce Harper from Lendy Castillo. I kind of figured something stupid happened and the play-by-play backs it up:
|Washington – Bottom of 5th||SCORE|
|Lendy Castillo pitching for Chicago||CHC||WSH|
|L Castillo relieved J Germano.||2||7|
|M Morse lined out to right.||2||7|
|I Desmond walked.||2||7|
|I Desmond stole second.||2||7|
|D Espinosa singled to right, I Desmond to third.||2||7|
|K Suzuki flied out to center.||2||7|
|D Espinosa stole second.||2||7|
|J Zimmermann walked.||2||7|
|Chicago Cubs’s Coach J Quirk ejected by J Layne in the 5th.||2||7|
|J Werth flied out to right.||2||7|
|0 Runs, 1 Hits, 0 Errors|
|Washington – Bottom of 6th||SCORE|
|Lendy Castillo pitching for Chicago||CHC||WSH|
|W Castillo catching.||2||7|
|B Harper struck out looking.||2||7|
I’m being a bit facetious here but it didn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out what happened. With the delay and the fact that Welington Castillo had to replace Steve Clevenger, you pretty much figured that there was a brawl and some dudes got ejected.
In a vacuum this would be just another one of those things, but in context, you’re talking about a team who is now 51-86 getting demolished by one of the best home-grown teams ever assembled (I might be embellishing a bit there but they are pretty good) and taking offense to the fact that the good team has broken some “unwritten rules”. So instead of trying their best to come back from the deficit with dignity, the bench coach instigates something with the Nationals 3B coach because how dare a team try to score even more runs in the FIFTH INNING when they already have a five run lead? Because five run leads are never overcome, right? Not even by terrible teams, right?
So we have a couple issues to sort through. One:
“You’re up 7-2 and Lendy Castillo is pitching,” Clevenger said. “It’s 3-0. You don’t swing 3-0 in that situation but you know, things happen.”
So what, Clevenger? You’re batting at the Mendoza Line and you’re giving former Cubs legend Koyie Hill a run for his money in terms of suck. AND you just dissed your own pitcher. Nice.
“Quirk was ejected for screaming out obscenities at the third-base coach,” umpire crew chief Jerry Lane told a pool reporter. “That was the ejection for the coach. The fracas was started because all that stuff happened and that was instigated by Quirk screaming out at Porter. And the obscenities that he screamed out I just felt was inappropriate and that’s what caused everything.”
Porter was ordered to stay in the third-base coaching box the rest of the game but avoided ejection.
“(Porter) got very close to being out of order himself,” Lane said. “Had he got into the dugout and started a fracas, he would have been ejected. But I thought this was all stemming from what Jamie Quirk did and he started it, so I got the person that started it.”
Here’s the deal…in any sport, you try to build as big of a lead as possible early on so you can take your foot off the gas later and just coast and prepare for the next game. You still have to win though. And everyone’s opinion of when one takes the foot off the gas is different. At Duke in 2001 Coach Mike Krzyzewski left Jason (Jay) Williams in for way too long in a blowout against some cupcake I don’t even remember and Jay twisted his ankle. Luckily the injury wasn’t too serious and Duke went on to win the NCAA championship, but that could have sucked. But these very Washington Nationals say a 9-0 lead evaporate earlier this season and I’m sure they didn’t enjoy that one bit. No matter how big the lead there is always a chance that the other team can come back from it, even if that chance is really small.
Right now the Cubs’ coaching staff’s job is to teach the kids how to play baseball. Last night was not the best example of their tutelage. They basically told the kids that they have to enforce “unwritten rules” and in so doing, did the opposite of playing the game the right way.
Playing the game the right way doesn’t entail these bush league tactics to instigate a brawl or two when you’re getting your butts whupped. When they should have maintained their poise as an example to the young players (who were probably depressed due to the fact that they suck so much), they failed in their duty as teachers to show them truly how to play the game the right way, with whatever inherent dignity they had left, and try to squeeze in some extra runs in garbage time. If you’re worried about the good team stealing bases on you and swinging at 3-0 pitches against a shitty pitcher, maybe you’ve already given up (which is the opposite of what a coaching staff should tell their players), but that doesn’t mean the other team should give up either. A better way to deal with this would be after the game, using tape to show the pitcher how to hold the runners better, etc. If you’re going to play spoiler, do it on the scoreboard; don’t try to start some stupid schoolyard crap to try to get people suspended.
That’s my two cents on the situation. Can’t wait to see what others chip in.