The Nats battered the Cubs senseless this week, winning four straight games by a combined score of 31-9. The Nats moved to 33 games over .500, because they’re good. The Cubs sank to 35 games under .500, because they’re bad.
But somehow, in the middle of Bo Porter’s screaming fight with Jamie Quirk in the fifth inning Thursday night, the Cubs announcing team decided that the real culprit may have been shenanigans from the Nats coaching staff.
This dialog comes from the video below, after Porter was escorted away from the Cubs’ dugout. (I don’t usually watch Cubs games on Comcast SportsNet; correct me if the announcers’ names are wrong.)
Len Kasper (?): See, this is tricky, because we try to be fair here and we try not to just play blind homer. I don’t have a problem with managers and coaches arguing. It’s going to happen, right? It’s the nature of the beast. But when you walk over to the dugout, you are kind of inviting the benches to clear.
Bob Brenly (?): Yes you are. I think that’s what the umpires are talking about.
Kasper: And I’ve got to side with Jamie on this one. He didn’t walk out of the dugout. He just had a discussion, a heated one, with Bo Porter, who walked over and tried to get right in his face. I don’t think there’s any need for that.
Brenly: Looks like they’re going to eject Jamie Quirk from the game.
Kasper: Well, Bo’s got to go too. He’s got to go.
Brenly: Yeah, absolutely, Bo Porter has to go. If they’re going to eject Jamie Quirk for arguing with the third-base coach, the third-base coach has to go for, in effect, charging the third-base dugout. You know, I’m obviously just speculating, we have no idea what was said, but when you see a team go off offensively the way the Nationals have in this series, there’s always a suspicion that maybe one of the base coaches is either stealing signs, or he’s seeing something from either the pitcher or the catcher and possibly relaying that to a hitter. That’s one of the first things you look for when you see a team swing the bats the way the Nationals have.
Good argument. One of the other things you look for: decrepit pitching.
Meanwhile, the MASN crew was pounding the other side, possibly leading to a mic-clearing brawl later in the night.
“It’s not up to coaches to yell and to get all into it,” F.P. Santangelo said after the game, on MASN’s post-game show. “If you’re going to show me up as a player, I’m going to police it. The coaches usually just stay out of the thing. So the fact that Jamie Quirk was all upset and yelling at Bo Porter, to me that’s more for the players than the coaches. You don’t do the screaming; you just hope that your players are passionate enough to take care of the situation and police it themselves.”
“You’re exactly right,” Ray Knight agreed. “It’s about playing the game, and it’s about respect. Bo Porter, in order to have the respect of his players, he’s going to respond to something like that. Jamie Quirk is the person in the wrong here. Bo Porter’s not going to pop off. But I understand their side of the deal too, just the fact that they’re getting their brains beat out and there’s so much frustration....
“Still, you have to be able to control that emotion, and it is a matter of the ballplayers taking care of it and coaches trying to break up that stuff,” Knight continued. “But Bo Porter wasn’t wrong. You have to stand up when someone’s challenging you. And they directed it at Bo Porter, they said YOU’RE not supposed to play that way, you’re not supposed to run. And if I’m at third base, I’m going to do the same thing.”
Davey Johnson, of course, told reporters that Quirk was yelling about the Nats swinging at 3-0 counts with a five-run lead.
“If they’re getting mad at my guys in the 5th inning [for] swinging 3-0 or running, they better get used to it,” Johnson said.
#Natitude, or whatever.