News item: Kris Bryant makes joking remark about St. Louis at the Cubs Convention.
During a “Friday night with Ryan Dempster” sit-down with the retired pitcher at the Cubs Convention, Bryant said of St. Louis: “So boring.”
The Dempster show is obviously aimed at Cubs fans wanting to have a fun time at the convention. It’s over-the-top humor, and KB was just having fun.
That produced this response from Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina:
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All stars, elite players and leaders of their teams do not speak bad about any city. There should be respect and you should play and compete with respect... only stupid players and losers make comments like the ones made by bryant and dempster .. #ceroRespectforthisstupidplayers #QuevivaStlouis #LOVESTL
The honest truth? My first reaction was: “Yawn.” I just don’t care about these kinds of things, they’re nothing but fluff to pad out the time we sit around and “stare out the window and wait for baseball,” in the oft-quoted words of Rogers Hornsby. So I wasn’t going to write anything about this tiny little kerfuffle.
“Oh, it will. It will carry [into the season],” Molina insisted on Monday. “I can’t wait to get on the field.”
Molina took to Instagram on Saturday with a defense of St. Louis that included referring to Bryant and former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who echoed Bryant’s sentiments, as “losers.” After signing autographs for fans over the final two hours of Winter Warm-Up on Monday, Molina explained why he offered such a passionate response to Bryant’s seemingly playful comments.
”St. Louis is home,” Molina said. “If anybody says anything bad about my home, I’m going to be there for us. I said to the guys, ‘We are like a family. We have to stick together. We have to defend ourselves, and we have to defend our ground.’ Whoever says something about us, we are going to be there to defend us.”
The first problem is that Molina took KB’s comments seriously (and resorted to namecalling in response). But the second, more important issue is Molina’s implication that somehow this offhand joke might cause something to happen on the field. Throwing at Bryant, maybe?
Now, maybe that’s not what Molina meant. Maybe he was just trying to use this incident as a tool to motivate his teammates. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But if there was any hint that Bryant’s going to be thrown at, Major League Baseball needs to stop that before it even starts. I think MLB should issue warnings to both teams before that first 2019 meeting, May 3 at Wrigley Field, that any sort of throwing at Bryant — or any Cub or Cardinal — will result in immediate ejection. There’s no reason to have that kind of thing on a baseball field in 2019.
If it happened, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Cardinals retaliated against the Cubs by throwing at them. You might remember this 2015 incident:
When Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday pinch-hit in the fifth inning, he took a pitch in the helmet from Cubs pitcher Dan Haren, who insisted over and over that it was an accident. After all, the Cubs were only winning 3-2 at the time and the tying run was already on second base.
The Cardinals retaliated by plunking Rizzo in the seventh, and pitcher Matt Belisle and St. Louis manager Mike Matheny were both ejected.
”I’m really disappointed in what the Cardinals did right there,” Maddon said. “Absolutely. We did not hit their guy on purpose at all. It was an absolute mistake; there was no malicious intent on Dan Haren’s part. None.
”So to become this vigilante group that all of a sudden wants to get their own pound of flesh, that’s absolutely insane, ridiculous and wrong. We don’t start stuff, but we will stop stuff.”
So whether or not Molina meant his words simply to motivate his teammates, or as a threat to the Cubs, MLB ought to put a stop to any potential throwing baseballs deliberately at people, before it happens.
Perhaps by May 3, this will all be forgotten and the teams can just play baseball. I hope so, because I’m hoping this will be the first and last time I write on this topic.