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The Cubs apparently think this is Little League

Sep 7, 2012, 8:23 AM EDT

Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals Getty Images

The scene: Nationals Park, during the fifth inning of the last night’s Cubs-Nats game, Nats up 7-2. The incident: Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk is jawing from the dugout — after he was ejected umpire Jerry Layne referred to it as “screaming out obscenities,” and Nats third-base coach Bo Porter jawed right back at him.  The reason, according to Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger:

“You’re up 7-2, Lendy Castillo’s pitching, it’s 3-0. You don’t swing in that situation”

This referring to Jayson Werth swinging at a 3-0 pitch just prior.  Also agitating the Cubs was the fact that the Nats stole two bases that inning.

The next inning, things got chippier, when Castillo threw at Bryce Harper. Benches cleared.  While everyone later said the requisite “he didn’t mean to do that” stuff, Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com observes that Clevenger didn’t move an inch to catch the ball that Harper had to jump out of the way to avoid, so he knew where that pitch was headed. And then he was in the middle of the scrum that developed. Quirk was ejected, as was Clevenger and Cubs reliever Manny Corpas.

The overall assessment: total amateur hour by the Cubs.  Maybe it’s wrong for 12 year-olds to run up the score on one another, but this is the big leagues. Guys are going to steal bases and swing on 3-0.  They won’t stop trying just because you’re getting your asses kicked all over the park. Don’t like your asses getting kicked all over the park? Play better.

  1. fuddpucker - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    Yep, the ole’ sayin’ is that if you don’t like what the other team is doing to you then do something about it!

    Oh, wait..

    • blackandbluedivision - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      In 2001, the Indians came back from 12 runs to beat the Mariners. Yet, the Cubs threw in the towel at 5 innings.

      • contraryguy - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        The 2001 Indians finished 20 games over .500, and won their division.

        The 2012 Cubs have the 2nd-worst record in MLB, and have probably quit at this point, if a 5-run lead is that big a deal to them.

  2. quintjs - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    I just love the sentiment – “yes we are professional baseball players, most of us earning millions of dollars a year, but how dare you do something that might actually entertain the 30,000 people paying to watch us play, and thereby allowing us to earn millions of dollars a year. You do nothing and ensure they leave here bored with this game and less likely to come back in the future. It is about respect”.

    • DJ MC - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      It’s really hard to hide a steel chair behind the pitcher’s mound.

    • cur68 - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      This

  3. hasbeen5 - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    I didn’t realize 5 runs was considered an insurmountable lead in the bigs.

    • goskinsvt - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:49 AM

      In the 5th inning no less.

      • skeleteeth - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:50 AM

        Ha!

    • skeleteeth - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:50 AM

      In the 5th no less…

    • mncharm - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      You have to factor in that we’re talking about the Cubs, so you need to increase the actual lead by a factor of ten to even things out. So really, the Cubs were down 50. In that light, it’s more reasonable that they were upset.

    • chumthumper - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      You must understand…this is the Cubs we’re talking about.

    • infectorman - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      Even the Little League Mercy rule is 10 runs after the 4th inning is complete.

    • blackandbluedivision - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      For the Cubs it is.

  4. kevinleaptrot - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    The Nats lost to the Braves in a game in which they at one time led 9-0. They learned their lesson that night and it showed in the Cubs game last night. Jamie Quirk needs to just shut the hell up and deal with it. Maybe if his team plays better they won’t get their brains beat out every night.

  5. Old Gator - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    A hundred and some years of total frustration catching up with the Grubs, methinks. The ancillary symptoms of that Indonesian prion-vectored neurological disorder Die Vloek can der Geitbok (which is related to Kuru but not as tasty and doesn’t cause a smile), and a long tradition of begging for sympathy. Also, is it possible that Theo brought over some rotten residual karma from the Beanbags?

  6. brianforster - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    sorry if i sound stupid because i’m still learning about baseball but im not understanding the logic here.

    why would the cubs want werth to be walked? seems to me they would want him to swing and strike out as to not draw the game out longer.

    the only thing i can think of is walking him sets up a double play to move the game along faster?

    • seeinred87 - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      It’s more like you’re showing mercy to the pitcher by taking on 3-0. Just let him lay one down the middle. Pretty much everybody will let a 3-0 pitch go late with a big lead. But 5 in the 5th doesn’t qualify.

      If it was the 9th inning in that situation, I’d bet a significant amount of something significant that he woulda watched it go by.

      • e5again - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM

        is 3-1 ok to hit then?

      • hasbeen5 - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:51 AM

        I’ve never understood this either. If you’re in a situation, down by a few runs, where you absolutely need baserunners, sure take. But if the pitcher does just lay a belt high fastball in there I’m going to try to do some damage. Mercy for pitchers? Hell no.

    • tfbuckfutter - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:01 AM

      On a 3-0 pitch, unless the pitcher is trying to walk the batter, he has to leave something hittable over the plate to ensure a strike.

      So the count is in the batter’s favor, he knows he can reasonably assume he’ll get a pitch a hit on the next 2 pitches.

      That’s why they say the count is in his favor. He has at least 1 free swing that doesn’t put him on the edge of striking out. And that is why the manager got upset (even though the game was far from over), because he felt the player was trying to take advantage of the situation in a game that they had already essentially won.

  7. paperlions - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Tradition!

    Sorry, but the things Craig is (rightfully) making fun of are baseball tradition: not stealing bases when ahead by 5+ runs or swinging on 3-0 counts in that situations, throwing the ball at opposing batters because your feelings are hurt. All unwritten rules, all “tradition”, all stupid.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:47 AM

      Amen to you.

      I was at the previous game, where the Nats also put up 9 runs on the hopeless North Siders, and I can say without a doubt in my mind that in the 7th and 8th innings (after the Chubs actually walked the bases loaded and then walked in a run) the Nationals hitters were swinging at shit simply to end the game faster. The Cubs must have actually thought Chapman and Cabrera were throwing the most amazing stuff, though.

      What a total joke of a franchise they are right now. I hope for better, more reasonable days in the future.

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      I remember a great Whitey Herzog quote, when another manager chided him for his team stealing bases in blowouts. Herzog’s reponse was spot on:

      “That’s how we score runs,” Herzog said. “When the other manager starts telling his guys to stop hitting home runs, we will stop stealing bases.”

  8. chadjones27 - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    7-2 is not running up the score. That’s a couple of cheap bloopers to the outfield away from tying things up.

  9. frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    The theme of this post can be summed up by looking at the records of the teams involved.

    The Nats don’t quit – the Cubs quit in May.

    Why didn’t they hire Ryne Sandberg again?

    • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      Because they are the Cubs? Jeez, have you not been paying attention?

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:55 AM

        Oh that’s right. The team has been blessed by the attendance fairy and therefore the franchise has no incentive to make smart decisions.

  10. recoveringcubsfan - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    This is for nothing, but I thought it was an interesting contrast between Wrigley Field and Nats Park the other night:
    I’ve been to hundreds of games in Chicago and only a handful in DC. Wednesday was my first Cubs-Nats game and it was striking to me that the crowd was buzzing the entire game, not because it was watching but almost as if everyone was keeping one eye out for HR and otherwise was chatting up the person next to them about the weather, work, politics. Everyone near me was talking on the phone – mostly, yes, as the stereotype has it, the Cubs fans, but Nats fans, too – and the game was the noisiest in terms of background racket that I have been to all year. I wonder if every other game – even the ones I have been to where the Nats are playing a bad team – was perceived as an actual contest. I know that my perception was that most fans were intently watching the field and were genuinely tense about the outcome. But the Cubs game was apparently crowd-sourced as a complete joke before it even got started.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Well done. Ypu’ve captured the vibe in Washington, the Most Self-Important City in the World.

      And actually, thiat was a slow night. The political and pundit classes were at, or watching, the Democratic Convention.

  11. chill1184 - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Was this the first basebrawl of the this season?

    • natstowngreg - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      It was not a brawl. Some pushing and shoving occurred. Ian Desmond knocked over an ump, accidentally. There was a heated discussion of the European financial rescue plan near the mound. Away from the “action,” members of both teams chatted amiably with one another. The teams’ bullpen guys came in to the infield, went back to the bullpens, came in again, went back again, all to no purpose.

  12. xmatt0926x - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Wow. Guess the unwritten rules differ for each team. I grew up watching games where the rule was up by 6 runs after the 6th inning. It was only then that the winning team stopped attempting to swing at 3-0 or steal bases. Of course, I think teams stopped following these rules 20 years ago when they realized 5 or 6 runs is not anywhere close to insurmountable. Weak and childish act by the Cubs. To me it only makes you look more pathetic when your losing so bad and then basically begging the other team to stop trying because they are so much better than you.

    • someguyinva - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      F.P. Santangelo (Nat’s TV color guy) said during the game last night that the rule is to stop running if “up by 5 after 5″. I think he meant five full innings, but perhaps the Cubs took it to mean “after 5 at bats by the trailing team”. /sarcasm.

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:32 AM

        On a semi-related note … F.P. Santangelo is one of the worst broadcasters MLB has to offer these days. He is really tough to stomach, which is a shame since Bob Carpenter is pretty solid.

      • someguyinva - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:45 AM

        I don’t mind F.P. so much; he’s at least better than Dibble was.

      • runyetirun - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

        I actually quite like FP and so do almost all Nats fans I talk to. Do you have a reason for saying this, or are you just trolling?

      • voteforno6 - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        F.P. is fine…he’s way better than Hawk Harrelson.

      • dcdangles - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:26 AM

        Chip….you are certainly entitled to your opinion about FP. But in my opinion, your opinion is stupid.

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        I think if he worked for any other team, you people would hate him.

      • drewsylvania - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:55 AM

        Chip’s right. I’d rather hear McCarver than F.P. If Mitch Williams got canned by MLB, F.P. could step right in to the dumb-as-rocks role perfectly.

      • someguyinva - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        Good lord I got a thumb down on my “better than Dibble” comment. I can only conclude that Dibble reads this site.

      • Alex K - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        You’re assuming Dibble can read….

  13. joshfrancis50 - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    I’ve never played any competitive sport above high school level, but I would get flat out pissed when/if the other team started to ease up because they were up by a great amount. The Cubs should be ashamed of themselves for not having enough pride in themselves to expect the other team to give everything they had.

    • brianforster - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      couldnt agree more. im a pretty competitive guy even though i often lose, its definitely not for lack of effort. if i was a pro id rather lose 100-0 than see the other team take pity on me.

      if anything it shows respect for the opposition. never understood that logic. even at the high school level.

  14. kkolchak - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Kudos to the Nats for keeping their cool and not having anyone get ejected and therefore subject to possible suspension.

  15. recoveringcubsfan - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    I hope this flares up again next season. Maybe the Cubs can be DC’s out of division rivalry, which would be cool.

    Final thoughts: go watch the video of the pitch at Harper and the earlier incident between Porter and Quirk. The Cubs just completely lost it and then they also got ridiculous in the brawl-ish aftermath: Rizzo pushing a Nats player back towards his dugout? really? You, rookie, are gonna push the Nats off their own field? Um, OK. Also, totally badass move to start throwing at guys in the final game you play against them all season.

    To any Cubs fan who cares about where this franchise is headed I’d ask in two years which players from this collection of never-will-bes they even remember. Castro, Rizzo, and maybe Castillo will be on the team by then and that might be it.

    I was sitting next to a Cubs fan the other day and he chided me for my inconstancy. I told him how shockingly easy it was to switch allegiances to Washington. After the 4th or 5th Nats HR I asked him how much fun he could be having if he was rooting for the Nats and the look of longing mixed with absolute, pure pain in his eyes was exquisite.

    • derklempner - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:21 PM

      I’ll take that bet; what are we wagering?

      See you in two years…

  16. icanspeel - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    The irony is that same day the Orioles were beating the Yankees 6-1 starting the top of the 8th and ended up tying it. Maybe some of the Cubs players should watch how real MLB teams play

  17. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    This incident is more embarrassing for the Cubs than their last couple seasons. What a disgrace.

    • Alex K - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      100%. Terrible. Childish and petty.

  18. natslady - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    You can see from the video that after he didn’t get hit, Harper took a step toward the mound and Clevenger held him back until Werth got there. So, yeah, it was deliberate. Clevenger knew his LIFE would be in danger if Harper charged the mound and got injured or suspended.

    “You don’t come into our house, and you can’t mess with our kid brother,” Gonzalez said. “That’s how we see it.”

    [Gonzalez is a LH relief pitcher who got ejected.}

    I wasn’t going to do anything stupid,” Harper said. “I’m just trying to check off everything on my list. I’ve gotten thrown at, gotten hit, stole home, we’re winning, homers, everything that’s going on. Just checking it off the list. That’s one of them. Just trying to stay calm in that situation and not do anything stupid.”

    Davey doesn’t believe in the unwritten baseball “rules.” He mentioned not only the 9-0 game, but another game where the Nats were up by a few runs and Werth didn’t steal second and eventually the tying run came to the plate in the 9th inning.

    • drewsylvania - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      ““I’m just trying to check off everything on my list. I’ve gotten thrown at, gotten hit, stole home, we’re winning, homers, everything that’s going on. Just checking it off the list. ”

      I love this kid.

  19. Alex K - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    The Cubs stink. I knew that going into the season. That part doesn’t even really bug me that much since it was expected.

    I hate the yapping at the other team for “disrespecting” or embarrasing you. Play better or take the lumps. Throwing at people is stupid. Bad day to be a Cubs fan.

    • Alex K - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      Or even embarrassing you!

  20. beefstroginoff - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Why is he pissed that they are trying to score runs? He must expect that since the Nats were up 5 they should stop trying to score, while on the other hand the Cubs still try to score?

    I do not have a problem with throwing at people, it does have its place in the game, but not because you can’t score.

    If you are still trying to score, it is ok for your opponent to do so.

  21. rwpsych16 - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Boom! Roasted!

  22. whodeytn - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Cubs, lol

    Joke of a team and fanbase.

    • Alex K - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      whodeytn, lol.

      Joke of a commenter.

      Since we’re just taking unprovoked shots at people I thought I would ass this.

      • Alex K - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        Damn.

        ass = add

  23. willclarkgameface - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Wow. The Cubs are petty, petulant children.

    How is Theo going to fix that culture? Can he? Does he call Larry Lucchino every night to get Larry wisdom and to get verbally tucked into bed?

    I have had a real stick up my ass about the Cubs and Cubs fans since the 2008 NLDS. That fan base quit on that team real fast and left them hanging in those 2 games in Chicago. Sure, the team has sucked for the better part of ALL of your lives, but that was just disgusting.

    I grew up in California and spent my childhood watching WGN broadcasts with Harry Caray and Steve Stone. I liked them very much. The teams were miserable, but there was nothing better than watching an afternoon Cubs game broadcast from Wrigley during the summer. Maybe the fans have always been this lame, but I don’t remember the general culture around the team being so poor.

    I hope you miss out on another 105 years, Cubs.

  24. spudatx - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    I don’t pay the ticket cost to watch guys sit there with a bat on their shoulder just because they’ve gotten a lead. The Nats are at home and want to crush a lousy opponent? Great! The home fans will love it. And, if not, they’ll leave early. It’s better they leave early in a 12-2 blowout than a 7-2 boredom fest. Baseball needs to not be so self-obsessed with its history and the “proper” way of the game at all times. Veeck may have gone a bit overboard on a couple occasions, but he knew what all of it was about at the end of the day.

  25. hushbrother - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    I vaguely remember Jamie Quirk getting in a screaming match on the field in one of his last years as a player, with Oakland. I don’t remember what it was about (somebody swinging on 3-0 against his team in a 7-2 game?) but his outburst was memorable enough to stay with me decades later.

    Methinks the guy has issues.

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