We’ve been down this road before. Unfortunately, we’ve been down it a lot, recently. A pitcher makes a bad pitch and a batter hits it a long way. The batter looks at the ball, or flips his bat, and the pitcher gets upset about it and decides he’s going to teach the hitter a lesson the next time. Rather than simply trying to not let the guy hit a baseball 700 feet, he throws the baseball at the hitter instead. And for the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, this seems to happen far too often.

Back in early April we saw Derek Dietrich hit two long home runs off of Chris Archer. The Pirates, the bastions of “you play the game like it’s 1912 or we’ll throw a fit, and a baseball at you”, took exception to Dietrich watching a baseball hit completely out of the stadium and into the river. A baseball was thrown at Dietrich later in the game, and fortunately it missed, going behind him, instead.

Before we get into what happened on Wednesday between the Pirates and the Reds, let’s talk about what happened on Tuesday. Derek Dietrich once again homered against the Pirates. And apparently he looked at the baseball a little bit too long for the liking of some. “Some” included Pirates broadcaster John Wehner. He played for Pittsburgh for 9 of his 11 Major League seasons between 1991-2001. Derek Dietrich has as many home runs in the last three games against Pittsburgh as Wehner had in his entire 11-year Major League career. And no, he wasn’t a pitcher.

Wehner, on the radio call straight out said “I don’t like him. Just because of that (referencing watching the home run he just hit 3/4 up the stands in right-field). He’s got family in the area. I don’t like it. It just looks bad.”

Yasiel Puig followed with a home run on the next pitch, not giving Wehner much time to really dive into Dietrich, says “Go ahead Puig. Go. Run. He’s running. See! He’s running. I like it. I like that better.” He followed up with “I think after he hit it he realized it was gone. And so he didn’t want to look like Dietrich. He probably saw how bad it looks and maybe he’ll start running.”

The inning ended quickly after that. Derek Dietrich didn’t get another at-bat. That, however, wasn’t going to deter John Wehner. He was on local radio in Pittsburgh the next morning and, well, give it a listen, starting at the 3:40 mark.

Tim Benz of Trib Live broke it down on Wednesday morning, and rightfully took Wehner to task. But here’s the key break down of what Wehner said about Dietrich on the morning show:

“I can’t stand him,” Wehner said on Tuesday’s “Fan Morning Show.” “I don’t understand why you have to do that. It’s different if you’re a Hall of Fame player, you’re a 60-homer guy, you’re an established guy. Nobody ever heard of him before this year. I heard of him because of his grandfather (Steve Demeter) who used to be a minor league coach for the Pirates. He was the sweetest guy in the world. He’s rolling in his grave every time this guy hits a home run. He’s embarrassed of his grandson.”

Read that again. What absolute garbage. Beyond the fact that he totally self-owns himself as to the lack of preparation he does for his job in not knowing who Derek Dietrich is prior to this year, he also shows some real lack of compassion by bringing up that his DEAD GRANDFATHER is embarrassed by him. Because he watched a home run longer than John Wehner would have liked.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. On Wednesday it continued in the first at-bat for Derek Dietrich. In his complete lack of understanding of the situation, the broadcast crew begins his at-bat with this conversation:

If David Bell was out prior to the game talking to the home plate umpire discussing whether or not Dietrich gets a ball thrown at him, then that would suggest that he thinks Dietrich did something wrong.

You’re right. You’re right.

No, guys. That’s not what that means. What it means is that he believes that the Pirates, who have a long history under Clint Hurdle of throwing baseballs at people, were probably thinking about throwing a baseball at his player and he wanted the umpire to be ready to take action against them for it.

Derek Dietrich hit three home runs on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. And in what you’ve come to expect, he showed a little bit of swagger on them. If you don’t want guys to watch baseballs hit over the fence, don’t put pitches over the plate that they can hit 375+ feet.

Thom Brennaman, who is given plenty of grief in and around Redleg Nation for some of the things he says on the air, addressed some of the stuff from his counterparts on the air. He went to bat, so to speak, for Derek Dietrich, his grandfather, and just how personal John Wehner got in his criticism. Brennaman did call Wehner a good guy, to which I question because there’s definitely a line that “good guys” don’t cross. I feel like Wehner certainly crossed that. Jeff Brantley broke it down rather simply: Out game has changed. It really has. “We’re the older ones. We’re the ones that have to adapt to the changes on the field. The issue at hand is do the fans love watching what they see on the field? And I think Reds fans love to see the swagger. They like to see the action.”

That brings us to Wednesday afternoon. Up 7-0 and late in the game, the Pirates reliever Clay Holmes came high and tight to Eugenio Suarez and hit him on the hand with a pitch. Suarez went to the mound, rather calmly, and asked him if he was trying to hit him. Holmes reportedly said no. And then Suarez continued to first base before he was removed from the game.

After that, David Bell was on the field talking with the umpires. For the first few minutes he was rather calm, but then things began to get heated and he was eventually tossed from the game. After the game, Bell was still upset – as he should be.

We know that team will intentionally throw at people,” Bell said. “I was doing what I could to protect our players. Clearly, we’re not going to get protected, so we’ve got to do whatever we can. We’ve got to take matters into our own hands. It’s unfortunate that our players aren’t going to get protected. That’s been made clear.

The first sentence above is key. “We know that team will intentionally throw at people” – and Cincinnati Reds reliever Jared Hughes backs that up. He told Jay Morrison of The Athletic that he saw it first hand when he pitched for the Pirates from 2011-2016.

“Yeah, I think so for sure,” Hughes told The Athletic. “Is it something that I saw when I was there? Yeah.”

Very plain and easy to read. The Pirates have told people, while being managed by Clint Hurdle, to throw baseballs at hitters. At least according to a player, Jared Hughes, who played six seasons for him.

The words from David Bell are disappointing, at least to me, somewhat. I understand the frustration of the umpires seemingly not caring one bit about the Pirates throwing baseballs at hitters. And it’s even more disappointing that Major League Baseball and Joe Torre, who is in charge of handing out suspensions, don’t care one bit about it, either.

But the Reds shouldn’t stoop to the Pirates level. They should continue to be the bigger men. Perhaps I’m reading it incorrectly and Bell isn’t implying that the Reds need to retaliate and throw at Pittsburgh hitters. But it certainly sounds that way. In a perfect world, Major League Baseball steps in and start issuing suspensions to pitchers that actually matter and harm their teams. We’ve seen no evidence at all that they will do anything of the sort.

Throwing at the Pirates isn’t the answer, though. All that is going to do is risk injury to their players. And to yours, because you know they are going to throw back at your guys. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation for the Reds. But it’s not as bad as a situation as there is in Pittsburgh, where it seems they’ve got losers and a losers mentality all the way through the organization. Their manager can’t handle his emotions better than a 5-year-old, so he asks his pitchers to throw baseballs at people. Their pitchers can’t handle their emotions either, so they do it. And their announcers, well, you have read what they said. Children. All of them. I hope the Reds can be better than that.

88 Responses

  1. Jeff Gangloff

    Pirates fans and players complaining about Reds fans and players thinking that the pitch was intentional (when it truly may have not been) need to direct their beef elsewhere…mainly at Clint Hurdle.

    He has given Reds fans and players reason to suspect that the pitch was intentional. The Pirates not longer get the benefit of the doubt under Hurdle. He is the problem.

    • Old-school

      Joe Torre is the problem. He allows Hurdle to do it. There will always be the next Hurdle. Wehner obviously would do the same if he were a manager.
      Joe Torre needs replaced MLB needs to send an edict to all teams zero tolerance for throwing at guys.

      Hughes essentially proves that Hurdle throws at players. So the question is no longer do the Pirates intentionally hit platers. They do. Their ex players say they do.

      So then it gets to the “will” of Joe Torre and MLB to stop it.

      If the league suspended Hurdle 20 games and suspended Chris Archer 20 games and took away a 5 th round draft pick from the organization , it would stop.

      • Doug Gray

        Any single one of those punishments would immediately end it.

      • RojoBenjy

        If the New Orleans Saints are suspended, and their head coach banned for a year for apparently targeting and having bounties, then MLB should investigate Hurdle and the Pirates.

        It won’t happen though unless something goes to national mainstream news and they get political pressure.

      • Roger Garrett

        Baseball has changed and its now full of guys that play with emotion and it should be that way.Pitchers holler when they strike a guy out,players go nuts when they make a good play,hitters do their thing when they hit one out.Its open to everybody to do the same thing and they should.I hear this stuff about play the game the right way and respect to your opponent and never show up the other team or players and I want to just vomit when we include a pitcher throwing a ball at a guys’ head as an example.No where is that acceptable at any time for any reason.I don’t want to here well its ok if its in the leg or the back and not above the shoulders.Its wrong period and the league should do something about it.There is enough data to use for everything else so there is certainly data that says what teams do it the most and what pitchers do it the most and what the score was and who got hit and what time of day it was and how was the weather who was the manager and I won’t go on.Use the data make the punishment serious enough and move on and it will stop.Hurdle is a jerk and sure he ordered Suarez to be hit.Look at score,look at the inning,look at the fist 3 games,look at the past history.look who was hit etc etc.Its obvious they hit the best player just like last year.


      I am more concerned about this team making a pirate pitcher with a 7 plus era look like Sandy Koufax.

    • Dan

      Next time the Reds play the Pirates they need to hit every player the Pirates send to the plate until the reds have had so many players ejected the game has to be canceled! That will get some attention for sure!

  2. wkuchad

    Great article – thanks Doug!

    “Their pitchers can’t handle their emotions either, so they do it.”

    Maybe, but unless they’re a veteran pitcher, it would be hard to go against direct orders from their manager (if that’s what is happening). I put 100% of the blame with Hurdle.

    And I loved Bell’s comments, because he’s showing the players he has their back. I never felt the players respected Price. I believe they will respect this.

    I watched his interview, and my take is that he’s not saying to throw at other players, but rather charge the mound and “protect yourself” if you are throw at with intent. I don’t want either happening, but I still didn’t mind any of his comments.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s not hard to go against the orders from their manager if the orders are “throw a baseball at someone”. That’s very different than swinging away when they tell you to bunt.

      • Scott in Texas

        I disagree with this. These are 20-something years old players who are doing whatever they can to just stay in the big leagues. Maybe Chris Archer has the cache to say “no,” but few other of their young bullpen arms do.

      • Doug Gray

        Peer pressure is real. So is standing up to what’s right and wrong. They can say no.

      • WVRedlegs

        Sure they can say no. But before the sun rises the next day that said pitcher will be sent to AAA, released or worse. There are a lot of economic concerns there that a relief pitcher will have to tussle with in his heart and mind. Espevially a foriegn born pitcher. That is too much of an onus to put on a player.

      • Doug Gray

        You think the manager has far more power than the manager actually has. The manager doesn’t set the roster. He absolutely doesn’t have say in RELEASING a player.

      • Colt Holt

        Sorry Doug, but that is totally ignorant. It doesn’t make it right, but economic incentive to bad behavior is very real. Look at the nazis in Germany. Look at the Stanford experiment. For the guys on non guaranteed deals, it is much more than peer pressure.

      • Doug Gray

        No, it’s really not. You’re going to be fine if you do your job of getting guys out. So do that.

      • ols-school

        Sam Lecure gave a great interview on Cincinnati Radio. He said the Cardinals would repeatedly hit Jonny Gomes because Gomes had several HR against them. They hit him again and Gomes said in the dugout how long are we going to let this go on. Lecure came into the game and got 2 outs- but being a young pitcher understood he could ingratiate himself with the team and intentionally hit Yadier Molina. He said its different now at 98 mph and dangerous because it can ruin a career but he knew he could hit him in a safe area. He also criticized Detrich for posing in meaningless situations. His point was have fun when your hit wins the game, but not when its 8-1. Pitchers can celebrate when it helps win the game.

        1.) Pitchers are going to hit guys without orders in writing-there is a code.
        2.) He also said in another outing there were orders from above to intentionally hit a guy and he did not like that. I thought he said it was a different organization but I don’t see he ever played MLB for a non-Red team. Perhaps it was the minors.

        Either way, MLB has a huge problem with mixed messages because no one in the game can agree.

      • VaRedsFan

        Good post Old School. I’m not sure Doug understands the team chemistry of the game. Having each other’s backs, sticking up for your guys. Eventually, that player is cast away from the rest of the team…his performance suffers….butterfly effect.

      • lost11found

        I think you’re right VA reds. The bench and bullpen guys are on short term or major league minimum deals and are nearly disposable. one guy doesn’t do what the manager wants, a Guy like hurdle will be in the GM’s office before the gatorade dries tell them to get rid of a guy. Even if they are out of options its likely most of them would get through waviers and get buried in the minors.

        Perhaps they could throw behind a guy when ordered to hit someone, but that might be the best they can do.

        If the union really wants to help its members this is something they should get on board with too.

      • Colt Holt

        Sorry Doug, but soap boxes like this is a big reason I rarely read the sites any more. Between this, salaries, minor league pay, and super two, you publish more political opinions than CNN.

    • RojoBenjy

      I, too, hope Bell’s comments don’t mean they are throwing at guys, but rather, ready to knock some heads together if they get assaulted again.

      • Colt Holt

        They did have the benches clearing brawl that could have been the topic of reference.

  3. Optimist

    Perhaps it’s time to go nerdy on this topic – is anyone compiling the stats on HBPs? Team vs. team – pitcher vs. batter, day game vs. night game, and so forth? Given it’s a small sample size (I’d guess less than .25 HBP per game), the exceptions will likely stand out noticeably, and I’d expect them to fall into the two obvious categories – pitchers with control problems who probably won’t last in MLB, and those that aren’t control problems.

    He may not want to completely understand it, but this is where Joe Torre (i.e. MLB analytics staff) needs this to support any action.

    • Old-school

      Clint Hurdle has a 17 year track record as a manager. Joe Torre can easily determine that Hurdle throws at hitters.

      Interview Chris Archer, interview hurdle, interview his past pitching coaches, interview his past players.

      He managed 8 years in Colorado and 9 years in Pittsburgh. That’s a long time . The issue is not does he intentionally throw at players. The issue is what does MLB do about.

      David Bell is 100% correct in letting the umpires and MLB know they are ignoring an issue he believes is serious. Joe Torre shrugs his shoulders.

      • Mike

        The Reds have hit more Pirates than the Pirates have hit reads since 2012. Read read reporters at the Athletic. And quit whining.

    • Big Ed

      I looked at it earlier this morning, and Pittsburgh had hit exactly one guy more than the Reds had.

      The use of the intentional inside pitch is hard to discern with just using raw numbers. Some pitchers hit a lot of hitters because they are wild; some pitchers hit batters because they throw a lot of breaking balls into the opposite batters’ box; etc.

      The Reds and Pirates have a feud. Nobody in a feud can call off the dogs when they have absorbed the last blow, so it continues. Eventually, it will die down to an occasional 88-MPH HBP in the rear end.

      The Reds still owe the Nationals for Ryan Madson, though.

      • Jefferson Green

        Simply adding up the number of HBP is not an accurate way of determining whether a team throws at players more than another. Most HBP are accidental, especially those on off-speed pitches. A team could have a low number of overall HBP while having the highest throwing-at-a-batter figure in the league.

  4. matthew hendley

    First, I am of the opinion that Derek Deitrich can set up a picnic basket while watching his majestic home runs if he so chooses. That being said yesterday was a combination of things.
    DB was right to argue for the warning, and get thrown out for it.
    The umpires were wrong for not issuing one.
    The reds were right for not retaliating YESTERDAY. This is why. It is believe it or not a multi million dollar issue. It is an established fact that Balls thrown can break things and hurt people (Votto and Suarez as examples). While these two individuals cited as examples have their long term financial future locked up already, there are other players who have not. A broken bone will detract from that players earning abilities. Now, the reds made the proper move to allow the rules and the league to deal with the problem. They failed to do so. So when the Reds pitchers start responding for being hit by INTENTIONAL HBP they can and rightfully say ‘we gave this a chance, the mechanism isn’t working’ and teams will get notice that the reds will defend their players. Once the league does something the reds can then revert back to allowing the league to take disciplinary measures.
    THis is not to say that every HBP is a deliberate one. there are ones that legitimately get away from pitchers, and I am pretty sure the 64 MPH knuckle ball was not intended to hit a person. In addition, the measured increases should stop when the League actually takes notice and does something.
    But when millions of dollars are on the line on this subject matter, something must be done.

    • RojoBenjy

      Perhaps hurting the owners’ pocket books? Oh, wait, the commissioner works for them.

  5. SultanofSwaff

    I’ve said it before, the perception is that players who pimp their accomplishments are taunting the opponent. The NBA and NFL have very clear rules for this sort of behavior and it is enforced by the officials.

    If you give umpires the discretion to eject a player for taunting then it removes any beef between the teams puts the onus squarely on the umps. Suspensions for repeat offenders. We’ll probably get some good old ump manager dust-ups as a side benefit.

    Ultimately ownership needs to force MLB to examine their values—having fun/fan engagement, or just being a niche product to white boomers while risking the health of players who are worth millions.

    • vegastypo

      That has to cut both ways. A pitcher jumping around the mound and juking with every strikeout (as Archer was doing before Dietrich lit him up earlier in the season) has to be recognized as showing up the hitter. If pitchers want to do that, hitters should be able to pull out telescopes and watch their moonshots, or dance backward around thye bases if they want.

      (By the way, during that interview, Wehner even acknowledged that maybe Dietrich’s reaction was because of the pitcher ‘celebrating’ his strikeouts earlier in that game. I tend to think it was just Dietrich reacting to hitting a ball clear out of the stadium, but who knows?)

      …………………… But this whole thing is exactly the problem with Hurdle. It’s always the other team’s fault.

  6. Dewey Roberts

    Great article, Doug. I don’t want to see the Reds get into a beanball melee, but that would be better in my opinion than just letting the Pirates get away with beaning our players. There has to be some sort of retaliation on our part.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Typically, Beaning has to do with throwing at a players head.

  7. SultanofSwaff

    Fun tidbit for an off day—-Given their run differential, the Red’s expected record should be 32-24, same as the first place Cubs.

    Is that frustrating to read or what?

    • Matt WI

      I’d settle for a game or two over .500. Be great to find a nice long winning streak as June hits.

  8. Steve Mancuso

    Doug is exactly right on this. Word for word.

    • PhP

      Do you guys agree with charging the mound or just simply do nothing? I agree that it is a lose lose situation, but I’d rather the players stick up for one another than just keep taking it.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Charging the mound without a violent fight is pointless. I also wouldn’t support a violent fight where the players actually hit each other hard. What I support is the league punishing the pitchers, managers and organizations when pitchers throw at batters. The first time Clint Hurdle got suspended 20 games for one of his pitchers throwing at a batter would be the last time one of his pitchers threw at a batter.

      • PhP

        I don’t disagree with that. But like Bell stated, the MLB has yet to do anything like that and seem to have no interest in doing that at the moment. The reality of it right now is it’s still part of the game. And if it’s still part of it then I dont think it should be one sided is all. I’d be curious to hear what some of the players think because obviously some of the players around the league still harbor the old school mentality of how to play the game the “right way” and still enforce unwritten rules.

  9. Buster

    What started this between the Reds and Pirates some years ago? Do the Pirates throw at the Cubs, Braves, Phils, etc.?

    Anybody know if the Pirates are among league leaders in hitting batters over the past few years? I think we, Reds fans, come to expect this action and talk about it before a series even starts.

    I believe Archer last year danced off the mound after he struck out Derek numerous times when he was with the Marlins. Maybe Derek’s celebrations are his way of payback.

  10. Sliotar

    After reading this piece from the author, and those in agreement, it is fair, IMO, to wonder if they have ever worked in truly stressful situations.

    Situations where camaraderie/unity is needed for success and courage/fortitude is going to tested by something, at some point.

    Mine was a winter on the Canadian oilfields in sub-zero temperatures on a team of men and women. On a scale magnitudes greater….military service, operating rooms, etc., etc.

    Maybe MLB isn’t that way anymore, where having a teammate’s back matters. I don’t know. Bell apparently thinks it is, by his remarks.

    If he was my boss and did not respond with “we will take care of our own”, he would “lose face” with me and virtually everyone I have worked with under trying conditions.

    The Reds players ultimately decide if there is retaliation at some point. However, to openly call for them to “turn the other cheek” feels a touch naive, to me, when Reds players have been injured and could be again.

    • RojoBenjy

      Not calling for turning the cheek, but rather for common decency to be enforced by a league that claims it cares about player safety. By common decency I mean that as a society at large, we do no condone assaulting someone that hurts your feelings. That teaching starts in the sandbox. Doug’s point seems to be that physically hurting other people to get back at them for a petty perceived insult is the act of a petulant, spoiled child—not of a mature human being.

      As far as having your buddy’s back, the way to handle that, if necessary, is not to throw a ball at a player, but to go out there and open up a can on the dude who hurt your boy.

      If the league suspended the beaning pitcher and manager, but did not penalize the guy who was beaned and his team when they head out to take care of business, that would temper it a bunch also.

      I like the taunting penalty idea—but it too has the potential to be abused by officials.

      • VaRedsFan

        While that sounds good on paper, it doesn’t work in real life. The guy that charges the mound will be suspended also

    • Matt WI

      I understand what you are saying… but also need to keep in perspective that this is a game and that “policing one’s own” doesn’t have to mean hurting anybody.

      We’re talking about a cultural shift in the game. At some point, for it to actually shift, it might have to look or feel uncomfortable for a moment. The Wehners of the world need to have their fits and the “in my day” speeches… and then in a few years, nobody will even remember why players “had” to get beaned. But I think the fact that it’s the players themselves doing most of the talking should say a lot about where the game is headed.

    • Matt WI

      We also have to put in perspective that the main reason this starts is because someone feels affronted by the idea that someone else clapped their hands to loudly. Let’s get real here. Amir Garrett said it best in a tweet a few weeks ago… can you imagine some MLB players playing in the NBA or NFL? You get dunked on, you get talked to. Move on and dunk back.

      There is such a thing as taunting and making it personal, but rarely is that the case. Celebrate with your team all you want. If it’s true some of this started because Archer celebrated a K against Dietrich last season (which, fine btw, celebrate), then learn to take back what you dish and move on.

      • VaRedsFan

        And if they don’t??? (Like Archer in this case)

      • Matt WI

        Then I’d say that’s where the league needs to step in like others are saying… if they actually act like they care about the issue, things will change a lot faster.

    • PhP

      I agree with your point that it seems some of the really heavy data/analytic supporters seem like they forget there is a human element to the game, in my opinion. These players aren’t just data points, and just because you can’t measure things like human emotion doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or have some effect on a long baseball season.

    • Steve Mancuso

      When I’ve been in stressful situations that involved teams, I’ve deeply appreciated people around me, particularly leaders, who kept their cool. The most valuable people to me were the ones who could find ways to avoid escalating situations. Equating macho chest beating and violent response with “having someone’s back” is dangerous on the battlefield, operating room, or anywhere else I suspect. It’s certainly stupid on a baseball field in a game played by millionaires. It’s that kind of thinking, that the only way to “have someone’s back” is to commit a violent act on their behalf, that is the root of this problem to begin with. It’s vital to realize there are countless ways to support a teammate without throwing a punch or a baseball at another human being.

  11. Sliotar

    The ultimate passive solution, IMO, is…. a Reds batter leaving the box, mid at-bat, and declaring that they did not feel safe with that pitcher trying to injure them.

    Forfeit the at-bat….forfeit the game, if need be.

    One time doing this and it would be a trending story worldwide. Rob Manfred would be forced to address the issue.

    • RojoBenjy

      I agree it has to be something monumental like this.

  12. jreis

    I hate the pirates but I respect them because they have a plan well suited for a small market, low payroll club. they are always strong defensively up the middle, athletic in the outfield, with power coming from third base and first base. their pitchers are not dominant but are crafty and are not afraid to throw inside.
    the best way to get revenge is to start beating them!!!

    • RojoBenjy

      That doesn’t bring back the lost playing time to injured players. That means they win, unless a higher authority (the league office) does something significant.

    • vegastypo

      Good Lord, “pitching inside?” There’s a difference between pitching inside and intentionally throwing at batters. I doubt the Pirates were just trying to “pitch inside” when a pitch went behind Dietrich.

      • Aaron B.

        The one too Dietrich was definitely a warning shot. With Eugenio I think they are just pitching him hard high and in and he is unfortunately unable to get the hands out of the way in time. I don’t like it, I don’t think it should be tolerated but it is slightly different than an intentional bean ball, its more of the ol’ Don Drysdale chin music used to cool off a hot batter. But up by 7 runs late in a getaway game, that is where they crossed the line. I think it’s on the catcher Elias Diaz, he called that pitch. He is Venezulan like Eugenio, you’d think he would respect his countryman more. Was he the catcher when he broke his hand last time?

    • Pete

      Actually besides the intentional hitting of the Pirates opponent’s hitters, Hurdle is a very good manager. They play hard and smart.

    • Scott in Texas

      this is funny, even though it is actually pronounced “WAY-ner”

      • RojoBenjy

        Thanks. So now I know that how it’s pronounced and how he acts are two different things.

  13. Vibrators

    Beginning with the 1970 National League pennant, the Reds beat either of the two Pennsylvania-based clubs, the Philadelphia Phillies or the Pittsburgh Pirates to win their pennants (Pirates in 1970, 1972, 1975, and 1990, Phillies in 1976), making The Big Red Machine part of the rivalry between the two Pennsylvania teams. In 1979, Pete Rose added further fuel in The Big Red Machine being part of the rivalry when he signed with the Phillies and helped them win their first World Series championship in 1980 .

    • jreis

      good point vibrators! and I would say that this pirate team of the past few years resembles the 70’s and 90’s pirates a lot more than the present day reds club resembles their 70’s and 90’s version. again, as stated above they have a plan. they are an old school team with an old school mentality and they stick to it. we on the other hand are trying to become a “new school ” team but seemed to be lost.

    • Reaganspad

      But those were the good witches, er rivals. Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski, and the family following the Roberto Clemente Pirates.

      The rivals then where things got heated was with the Mets where Pete Rose took Bud Harrelson well out into left field on a slide. I think the Mets fans were throwing batteries.

      If it were me, I would just have Puig hit a ball and then slide into the pitcher instead of running to first. Or more realistically, hit everything to the 1st baseman and make the pitcher cover and then see what happens. It will stop in a hurry.

      Pete never seemed to have to have Sparky order the pitchers to throw at the Mets…

  14. Randy in Chatt

    Rivalry Pain-O-Meter the last two seasons:

    Reds: 1 broken right thumb, 1 Left hand bad contusion and swelling
    Pirates: feelings…nothing more than feelings.

    How about this: a pitcher pays a fine for every HBP, intentional or not. If it is deemed that it could possibly be intentional (given the situation), the fine and a 20 day suspension. It may help with control issues (incentive) and intentional HBP.

    Who’s the bigger baby Ryan Madsen (retaliating against the Reds best player after 2 HBPs from a wild rookie and a curveball that the pitcher went to 3rd base and apologized the hitter for the HBP) or Clint (I used to be a Red) Hurdle???

    • RojoBenjy

      Don’t forget when they put Brandon Phillips out for quite awhile when he was putting together quite a season.

      The fine idea is worth considering.

      I think to find the answer to your last question, we put Madsen and Hurdle in diapers and sit them in a sandbox and see who whines the loudest.

      • VaRedsFan

        Phillips was lights out that year, carrying the offense, until that HBP. Wasn’t the same for the rest of the year.

  15. Brian S Jolley

    I would tell the Reds pitchers “Don’t let them take your bread and butter from you.”

  16. Old-school

    For the first time all year, Fangraphs projections now have the reds finishing 81-81. The Pirates are projected to go 80-82.
    Post Memorial Day, the performances of Luis Castillo/ Tanner Roarck and Sonny Gray are outstanding. 3 pitchers at 1.6 WAR.

    Tanner Roarck has been an outstanding pickup. Interesting to see what happens in a month if he keeps this up. He’s a valuable pitcher to the Reds and others.

    The Cardinals are woeful in May and in freefall. The Reds can’t make the playoffs but they can have a winning season and can pass the Pirates and Cards in the standing. Tough sledding though with Patrick Corbin and Max Scherzer this weekend.

  17. matthew hendley

    on a side note The question about Cody Reed injury status is answered. Pursuant to rules, CR will be on the minor league roster IL. Since he was the 26th Man, he was only entitled to the one day service time and one day Big League pay.
    Don’t worry, he is not going broke. he is still getting 145K this year in the minors.

  18. WVRedlegs

    Great article and good research. I agree with you on what the Pirates are. But I have to take issue with your response of doing nothing by the Reds to stand up for themselves. Your stance to do nothing is too passive and very naive. Your response is good if we are talking about the Dodgers, the Cubs, the Brewers or any other MLB team not located in Pittsburgh.
    But this is the Pirates we are talking about. You are looking at the 2019 situation through a straw. You have to take in the full context. This.has been a long simmering situation that the Reds have had to deal with since Dusty Baker days. That is 3 managers ago and going on close to seven years. And it still goes on with Pittsburgh.
    Your stance to do nothing is very similar to the French and Belgium’s and the Danes and the Austrians and most of Europe in 1940 before the Nazis blitzkrieg. And Europe got run over by Hitler and the Nazis just like the Reds have let Clint Hurdle and the Pirates run all over them. There comes a time when you have to fight back. You have to take a stand and fight back. Take the fight to them. The NL office, the Commissioners office, and Joe Torre are not the Calvary riding in to the rescue. This fight is now in David Bell’s hands. I am not a fan of Bell but I appreciate his words. Finally a little bit of spunk from him.
    While I appreciate and respect your view, I think it is not the proper response in this situation. You can die on the hill of being passive and naive. But I would prefer to die on the hill of fighting back and taking a stand. That is NOT sinking to the level of the Pirates.

    • greenmtred

      The Allies standing up to the Axis put an end to war? I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t believe that the situations are comparable. As an aside, this is an excellent discussion. Thanks to everyone.

    • Doug Gray

      Uh, no, this baseball game isn’t at all like what happened in Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s. At all.

    • VaRedsFan

      Those events might no compare, but WV is correct in this instance, on what the Reds need to do.

      • greenmtred

        I understand the sentiment. It’s emotionally satisfying–in the moment–to retaliate in kind. But it doesn’t work if the goal is to stop the other team from throwing at your hitters. If it did, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. This is a complex problem, in part because of human nature and in part because it’s difficult, at times, to discern intent. To my mind, pressing charges and letting a jury decide might be close to fair, if it’s workable. It would certainly make pitchers think twice before hitting somebody. But, of course, it could be abused, and probably would be. One of the most odious things about the current protocol is that the guy who gets hit in retaliation is rarely the guy who threw the offending pitch in the first place.

  19. TR

    A batter getting hit occasionally is a part of baseball but it shouldn’t be done intentionally. Whether that is the policy of the Pittsburgh team, who knows? But the Reds should not respond in kind since that solves nothing except expanding anger and chaos. Thank you for your excellent article and the last paragraph says it all.

  20. Y-City Jim

    Dietrich cannot admire his home runs but it’s okay for Pirate pitchers to showboat after striking out a hitter?

  21. Herpyderp

    This is stupid. If I walk to the end of my driveway and throw a 95 MPH baseball at my neighbor intentionally, that is legally assault. Why do we allow (and sometimes admire) this in any professional sport (that isn’t MMA)?

    Post edited: Don’t curse. This is your warning.

  22. Tom

    I think Bell’s statement is meant to change the risk equation. Why do the Pirates throw at people? Because there are very few consequences. Will the Pirates continue to throw at people until there are consequences? Absolutely. Bell just let the Pirates know that he expects his players to protect themselves and the Pirates get to wonder what that means. I don’t know if that means a Reds pitchers throws at a Pirate or if that means Puig is going to charge the mound on a high hard one. I don’t know and neither do the Pirates.

    • RojoBenjy

      Perhaps next meeting between the teams, all Reds players need to be wearing that “El Guerrero Rojo” shirt in batting practice and warm-ups.

    • Lwblogger2

      Nope. And that is likely Bell’s intent. Basically just letting the Pirates know that there will likely be consequences if the Reds believe their guys are getting hit intentionally.

  23. CFD3000

    The more I think about this and the more I read the comments the more I think these three things:
    1. I don’t think Clint Hurdle (or Joe Torre) have handled this well, but I don’t expect any meaningful change from either of them until / unless something really dramatic happens.
    2. The proper response from the Reds is not retaliation and escalation. Leave the bush league moves to the goons. It’s a lose-lose approach for the Reds.
    3. The game is changing. When Dietrich admires a home run, or Garrett celebrates a strike out, or the whole team mobs home plate after a walk off home run – that’s modern baseball. When it’s the Reds celebrating I love it. When it’s the Pirates or any other opponent, I hate it and so should the Reds. But it should be strong motivation to the Reds to play better, to give the other guys fewer opportunities for those celebrations.
    Thanks Doug for this thought provoking forum.

  24. Roger Garrett

    Bell left them guessing as to what may happen so that’s a good thing but throwing at hitters is still wrong.MLB and Torre have their head in the sand.Something will happen that will escalate and players will get hurt beyond the guy that gets hit.Its not even about getting even any more its about firing the last shot to stay one up.That is not about individual players its about the team and their manager.Its the two for one concept and that has to be stopped.Every professional sport has an intimidation factor.Sadly in baseball its the pitcher throwing a baseball at 95 mph under orders from the manager at a batter.Untill somebody gets really hurt it won’t change but even more sadder is that it could be fixed tomorrow if the penalty were severe enough.Leadership is lacking at the top I would say wouldn’t you?

  25. Matt WI

    If it’s that important to players, there’s also the old “meet you in the parking lot after the game” model. Or let’s go further back– let’s hand out the pistols and take 10 paces. Disrespect must be accounted for! Let’s handle this for real, Dietrich!

    Yet, somehow I think that a lot of pitchers would suddenly stop feeling so offended if they didn’t have the ability to hit first and know nobody would actually let them get hurt. It’s all for show.

  26. Matt WI

    Let’s entertain the idea that Dietrich is in the wrong a bit. If Yadi admired his HR’s the way Dietrich did, I’d be mad at him to. That’s how being a fan works. But he doesn’t need one in the earhole. I’ll just be irrationally more excited when he strikes out or GIDP. When a guy on your team is being a punk, at least he’s your punk.

    Also, imagine what it must feel like to be Dietrich right now: Years toiling away in Miami in obscurity, then left in the trash heap at the end of the season. I think pretty much all of us would be feeling pretty good about hitting some bombs and breaking your personal HR record for a season by the end of MAY! His walk up music should be “Redemption Song”

  27. Lwblogger2

    I appreciate the sentiment that there so be no time when a pitcher intentionally throws at a batter. The thing is though, in this case, I think the Reds are backed into a corner. Here’s what I’d do as Williams at this point…

    If you get hit and you think it’s intentional and you feel the need to protect yourself, then go for it. If you need to charge the mind than the team has your back. We will respect your right to defend yourself and will pay you for any suspensions incurred by teammates who are clearly defending themselves. If it’s a benches clearing broo-Haha than so be it. The team will absorb the cost.

    The team will also petition the league repeatedly to levy greater penalties on those deemed to be intentionally throwing at hitters. Pitchers need to be able to work inside and as a consequence, batters get hit sometimes but intentionally hitting someone should have no further role in the modern game.

  28. Tom

    It should not be that hard for the league to police this HBP feud. Check the records to see how many are being hit. Is it well above the league average? Is there a trend where one team stands out? Is it under the same manager for multiple years? Do interviews and find out. Clint Hurdle and his teams probably fit the description. I do not see that watching a home run is a reason for a HBP. In football teams celebrate every touchdown with a party in the end zone. And dunks in basketball are a celebration too. The league needs to suspend managers caught giving orders to hit batters and pitchers should be suspended for more than one start.