Saturday was not the first time Javier Báez and Amir Garrett have exchanged words during a baseball game and judging by Javy’s postgame comments it will not be the last. Al wrote up the kerfuffle as follows in the game recap:
Amir Garrett struck out Anthony Rizzo and beat his chest and appeared to say a few words toward the Cubs dugout, which emptied... Javy looked like he wanted a piece of Garrett. Garrett was pretty hot-tempered. No one was hurt or ejected, and the game continued.
And that is certainly all you need to know to understand how this moment impacted the Cubs win on Saturday, but there was so much more involved in this brouhaha. So this morning I wanted to take a look at five notable moments from the bench-clearing incident. First, let’s look at the video from the Cubs broadcast [VIDEO].
Javy has had it
If you watched the game, or were on Twitter during the incident you know that video is missing a key moment. I mean, none of us really expected MLB to keep the best part in the video archive, right? Let’s take a look at the extended cut from Twitter:
Me to everyone who has already given up on the Cubs so far this season.— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) May 1, 2021
( : @WatchMarquee) pic.twitter.com/HjNdeiIl8c
This image will live forever:
May 1, 2021
In the postgame show on Marquee fans could see that Javy jumped out of the dugout and onto the field as Garrett was jawing at Rizzo walking away. Let me be the first to say I love that. Javy was out of the gate immediately to have Rizzo’s back. It’s a statement about how close this team is, but it also had me thinking about how much they have grown up.
Who can forget the time Rizzo took on the entire Reds dugout back in 2014 after then-Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman threw over Nate Schierholtz’s head?
It feels like things have come full circle. Javier Báez was a little less than a month away from his MLB debut when Rizzo threw his glove down and walked towards the Reds dugout and here he was eight seasons later ready to take on the Reds for Rizzo.
Rizzo gives “the look”
Speaking of Rizzo, his role in this whole fracas was relatively benign. Rizzo swung at an 86 mile per hour slider and missed, striking out. He was walking towards the dugout when Garrett began celebrating. Garrett’s celebration included some choice words, or as Boog Sciambi noted on the broadcast “but then there’s the bleep you.” Rizzo clearly heard every word. Teachers and parents everywhere know this look and it always means trouble:
Rizzo may have shown some restraint, but it’s worth noting he spent most of the scuffle as effectively as possible — in conversation with Reds bench coach Freddie Benavides:
Willson Contreras, peacemaker
With tempers flaring Rizzo wasn’t the only one trying to lower the temperature. Willson Contreras wasn’t one of the first people out of the dugout, but he was the fastest person to the Reds trying to keep the peace, as you can see here:
I don’t know why I find this so amusing, but I do. Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant are already out there making moves to calm the situation, but Willson just sprints in to join them. I love this moment where Bryant and Willson are both walking out, hands out in front of them, clearly trying to defuse things as they walk towards the Reds.
As Reds third baseman Mike Moustakas holds Javy back and the rest of the team comes in behind him (more on them in a second), Willson is moving as fast as he can to the front of the line. As an aside, I really hope he didn’t aggravate his thigh tightness moving so fast to calm the skirmish.
The pitching staff (and Mike Napoli) are ready
There is something very “Regulators: Mount Up” about how the pitchers and quality assurance coach Mike Napoli are moving immediately behind Javy. It starts with this very serious look on Adbert Alzolay’s face as he approaches the fray:
But he’s not doing any fighting without his hat:
The hat move gives this a very Wild West “I’m ready” vibe from Adbert, and the fact that Napoli, Hendricks, Trevor Williams and Trevor Megill are all close behind give this a sort of choreographed feel:
Also, can I just say, the Trevors are terrifying here. I would not mess with either of these dudes:
Kyle Hendricks is pissed
You know you’ve messed up when Kyle Hendricks is annoyed with you. I’m honestly not sure what is scarier, the Trevors, Rizzo giving the look, or the fact that you can just feel the emotion from Hendricks here:
Boog and JD try to keep it PG
An unique element of this particular tussle is that Boog and JD saw it unfold the same way most of us did — on the screen. They were calling this game from Wrigley Field, and as a result didn’t realize there was any commotion until the cameras panned to the events. As such, they couldn’t really tell us what the inciting incidents were until they saw the video, and you could tell this particular video put them in a bit of a bind.
I’ll leave the lip reading to Jomboy (who did a great job with the Cubs and Reds last clash) but it was pretty clear there were a lot of game thread words flying even before Marquee cut to the picture of Javy emphatically giving Garrett the bird. Boog and JD kept it incredibly PG as they relayed events and calmly discussed whether interactions like this are the inevitable outcome of “letting the kids play.” But there is a hilarious awkward professionalism as they talk around events with expletives flying and Javy’s middle finger prominently displayed about 30 seconds after they first realized there was a fight.
The Cubs and Reds have played two of the 19 games they will play this season and the benches have already cleared. No one on either side is going to give up bat flips, celebrations or chirping any time soon. But maybe, if we’re lucky, the next bench-clearing incident will have as many interesting moments as this one.