Tough talking Arizona Diamondbacks’ general manager Kevin Towers may have crossed a line yesterday when he denounced his team’s pitching staff for failing to hit enough opposing batters, and he apparently fired pitching coach Chuck Nagy for just that reason. Of great interest is the fact that he talked not of brushback pitches, but rather specifically of “hitting” opposing batters.
Towers, in a radio interview, decried both his pitchers’ failures to hit batters who he felt were having just too much success at the plate, and also in failing to hit batters in retaliation for D’Backs hitters being plunked. In fact, he specifically said “But I think come spring training, it will be duly noted that it’s going to be an eye for an eye“.
60 opposing hitters. You can look at that stat and think, well, D’Backs’ pitchers are wild, and they’re unintentionally hitting batters at the wrong times, but that would not nearly explain an almost 50% higher rate of hit batters.
Secondly, who is the biggest headhunter in major league baseball? Why it’s former brain surgeon ian kennedy, of course. And just who traded kennedy AWAY to San Diego during this past season? Why Arizona GM Kevin Towers, that’s who. If he is so concerned with retaliation, they why would he get rid of THE guy who has made a career of throwing at the craniums of opposing players? Why, Kevin, why?
Isn’t it kinda weird now for Towers to threaten to trade away any pitchers who do not follow his orders, when number one on the list of those who did follow that strategy was himself traded?
Dodgers-Diamondbacks beanball confrontations became legion in the past, but it was an LA-Arizona game late this year where the tradition was not adequately carried out (note that kennedy was then no longer on the D’Backs) that had Towers especially upset. It was the game of Sep 9,
wherein Juan Uribe hit three home runs, as the Dodgers beat Arizona 8-1, following which the Dodgers were enjoying a dugout snack. Quote Towers:
“I was sitting behind home plate that game and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag,..
“Literally, if I would have had a carton of baseballs I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate. That’s not who we are as Diamondbacks, that’s not how — I mean, it’s a reflection on Gibby, on myself, on our entire organization. They slapped us around and we took it.”
Towers further lamented a game at the end of September, where D’Backs star slugger Paul Goldschmidt had been hit by a pitch but there followed NO retaliation against any Dodgers’ hitter.
Towers did add, however, that he was not advocating pitchers intentionally trying to injure opposing players. From the book “Yea, Right”. Throw a 98 MPH fastball at the guy’s neck, but you better not hurt him!
This screams out for an investigation from the Commissioner’s office, followed by heavy fines and a lengthy suspension.