Javy Báez, Cubs take umbrage with Amir Garrett’s antics: ‘He’s disrespecting us.’
Saturday’s Cubs-Reds matchup was humming along as a tightly contested baseball game until a fracas broke out on the field in the 8th inning.
Cincinnati reliever Amir Garrett struck out Anthony Rizzo and immediately started pounding his chest and screaming at Rizzo.
The Cubs were up 3-2 at the time and nobody was on base. It was Garrett’s first batter of the evening.
As Rizzo shook his head and walked back to the dugout, Javy Báez and his teammates immediately rushed to his defense and a benches-clearing kerfuffle ensued for a couple of minutes.
“He’s got a style — we all get that,” Báez said. “But I’m not gonna let him or anyone disrespect my teammates or my team. It was not a big situation. … He needs to respect the game. If you don’t respect the game and if you don’t respect us, then that’s gonna happen.
“He’s doing it to us, he’s not doing it to their team. He’s not doing it to pump his teammates. He’s disrespecting us. As long as he does it, we will be there too.”
Báez explained it’s one thing if Garrett was celebrating a big moment with his teammates.
But he and the Cubs took exception to the way the Reds reliever focuses his attention on the opponent and it become taunting at that point.
“That’s not celebrating,” David Ross said. “If Willson Contreras gets fined for getting hit in the head and the reasoning we got was he instigated the incident, I don’t know what that would be characterized other than instigation. I let the league handle that. That’s their job.
“My job is to try to win ballgames. We did that. We ended up winning the game. It’s hard to comment on other players. I don’t know the dude. I’ve got my own thoughts on him.”
This isn’t the first time Garrett and the Cubs have gone toe-to-toe.
Back in May of 2018, he and Báez started jawing at each other after Garrett struck out the Cubs star. It led to another benches-clearing incident and a lot of pushing and shouting.
Báez has hit 3 homers off Garrett in their career meetings, including a grand slam in 2017.
“I don’t know what he’s got against Rizzo,” Báez said. “He did it to me in the past. I like what he does — he’s just gotta do it to his team, not to us. Not after a strikeout. I hit 3 homers against him and I didn’t do anything to show him up or his team.
“He can be 6-foot-7, he can be 10 feet [tall] — we’re not afraid of that. We’re here to play baseball and win games. We’re not here to fight. We’re here to win the game and compete against the other team. I don’t know what’s going on over there, but whatever they say, they’re lying. Even his teammates are not on his side. They know he’s wrong.
“It is what it is and if he wants to look at it like he’s right, then fine. Be that guy. Nobody is gonna follow that.”
Ross backed his players and had no issue with how the Cubs reacted to the situation.
“I feel like Javy wants respect in the game,” Ross said. “To be disrespected by another player on the field kind of challenges your manhood. This is a man’s game. Those are things I wouldn’t have stood for as a player, that’s for sure. I would’ve been the first one line in line for that. I can’t do that anymore.
“I don’t fault any of our guys. That’s not the way that I think baseball is intended to go. But that’s his style. I don’t agree with it. I think it’s garbage.”