Sports and reacting emotionally go hand in hand like heat making water in a pot boil. Something happens and the reactions come in. Baseball claims a lot of these minor disturbances.
After hitting two batters with two pitches on Wednesday night in a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals, Genesis Cabrera will be known as a wild thing in Major League baseball-or as Iceman would say, “he’s dangerous.”
One bad night, and everybody thinks he’s unfit for duty.
This is because Cabrera hit Bryce Harper, one of baseball’s cover boys, in the face with a 97 mph pitch. He then plunked Didi Gregorius in the back with the next pitch. This is where the manager would just go get the 24-year-old arm, and that would be that.
But due to Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball commissioner puppet, enforcing a three batter minimum rule this season, the Cardinals pitcher had to stay in to face Andrew McCutcheon. He singled, pushing the go-ahead run across the plate. In the meantime, Phillies manager Joe Girardi lost his mind and rightfully so, blaming the umpires for letting a 3-3 game in the sixth inning of an April game get away from them. Along with several Phillies, the skipper screamed at Cabrera on the mound-as if that was going to help.
Here’s some No Shit News for you: Cabrera didn’t hit Harper and Gregorius on purpose. Why? Where’s the justification in doing that in a tied game? He lost control of two pitches and suddenly media members are ready to ship him out. Get a load of this:
“He clearly shouldn’t be pitching.” Hmm, why? Before Wednesday’s game, Cabrera hadn’t hit a batter all season. He’s got wild issues just like hundreds of other potential relievers, but this is his third season.
“Not ready for prime time.” Excuse me, it’s a mid-week game with 12,000 people in the stands in April. Kane is a Philly sports reporter for NBC, so her gripes are predictable.
Amy and Jon should listen to the esteemed Rob Rains before reacting emotionally.
Ladies and gents, Cabrera is 24 years old and has pitched in 43 games. He has hit eight batters out of 240 batters faced thus far, tossing five wild pitches in 53 innings. Cabrera also has 31 walks in those innings thrown. He has a wild streak but shouldn’t be known as a complete liability-at least not yet. Let him get another 43 games under his belt before we dismiss him to wait on tables at a bar in Sauget.
Over the weekend, he worked an inning in Cincinnati, striking out a batter. No wild pitches or hit batters. In fact, over his last five outings, Cabrera was sharp with little to zero wildness. He’s hit 3% of batters faced in his career. Something to keep an eye on, but nothing to lose minds over and banish players for.
Let’s be real here. Every time you step in the box, the chance of being hit with a pitch on the head, shoulder, or back is very likely. It just is. Pitchers have been throwing inside for decades. Occasionally, a few will get up in unhealthy areas. If Harper and Gregorius don’t like getting hit, I’d choose a profession where baseballs aren’t thrown your way at 97 mph.
But that’s not the issue. What Cabrera did was unfortunate, not intentional. The benches should never have been warned. That set Girardi off. That’s where the fireworks began.
The real culprit here is Rob Manfred, the lawyer-turned baseball-rule-maker who caters to owners like a dog would to its caretaker. He gave the greenlight on this three batter minimum rule, where a reliever is brought into a game and MUST face three batters. Sorry, but not really sorry, Randy Choate.
In a perfect world, the benches aren’t warned, Cabrera is taken out of the game after the second HBP, or maybe even the first, and the game moves on. It’s the need for people in power to screw with a game that doesn’t need messing with. Outside of the possible universal DH (which I have gotten onboard with), just leave it alone. Without these foolhardy rule changes, last night is only unfortunate for two guys getting hit hard with baseballs.
We don’t need to send a young pitcher off for having a bad night at the office. Have you had a day that needs to be forgotten? I’ve had two in the past week. It happens. Overreacting is the extra instrument that must be played every single time.
Jon and Amy need to chill out and listen to guys like Rob.
If we are all set to abandon pitchers after some early career wildness, let’s go ahead and cancel Bob Gibson’s career. In his first five seasons, “Gibby” hit 31 batters. How about Randy Johnson? He reached double-digit HBP totals in 11 different seasons. This is not to compare Cabrera to two of the best pitchers of all time; just another piece of evidence that calm is needed.
Plenty of calm will be needed in today’s day game. I can promise you that.