It’s been a bit since we’ve had some proper baseball beef. As any wrestling fan will tell you, the best storylines that pay off biggest are the ones that cover a long time, sometimes years. Clearly that’s the lesson that Javy Baez and Amir Garrett have learned. Last night’s chapter:
Now, if you’re not that well-versed in recent Cubs-Reds history, and there’s no reason you should be given the middling nature of both these teams this year, this might seem like Baez being an over-the-top jackass after a win that will get the Cubs exactly nowhere. But that’s not the whole story, or even most of it. Turns out, Garrett is also an over-the-top jackass! (also Javy is not a jackass, and I would never be caught saying anything remotely like that about my beloved No. 9.)
This has been going on for a bit. In 2017, when Garrett was still a starter for the Reds, Baez tagged him for a grand slam. Baez clearly wasn’t the only one to perforate Garrett as a starter, as his ERA in that role was a touchdown and a PAT and he was moved to the pen quickly after.
This apparently stuck with Garrett for over a year, and someone should tell him that carrying a grudge is bad for the blood pressure and the kidneys (I assume). Garrett struck out Baez in August of 2018 and didn’t conceal his joy at doing so.
And hey, that’s cool. One for you, one for me, everything’s even, two guys who love doing their jobs. We can all get behind that. But if you want a proper feud, you gotta keep it going. Earlier this year — so a full three years after this all started — Baez was only too happy to troll Garrett after he had a meltdown at Wrigley. Which later led to Garret going full Ric Flair after striking out Anthony Rizzo later in the season, which caused Baez to leap out of the dugout and the benches to clear, and Garrett getting suspended thanks to MLB’s convoluted COVID protocols.
So yeah, they’ve been going at this a while, and the score would appear to be just about even. The inclination is to tell Garrett to just shuffle his ass off to the clubhouse after giving up the game-winning hit, and Baez was clearly suggesting exactly last night as he redefined the word “mosey” to first base. But Baez didn’t go quietly in the previous incidents. This clearly isn’t over, and we can expect the Reds to wet themselves as soon as tomorrow by throwing at Baez in his first AB (assuming Baez is in the lineup, as he wasn’t last night thanks to a sore heel). The only thing we’re missing here is either generation of Brennaman completely losing their mud if not falling out of the broadcast booth thanks to a Cub’s actions. It seriously may have killed either or both anyway. Though hitting Baez won’t do much abou Garrett’s ERA that is nuzzling 7.00.
There’s clearly some working out of frustration for Baez here, who’s had an extremely uneven year. His extension talks with the Cubs have gone nowhere. He could be traded this week. And has been a target of manager David Ross for some unfocused play while Anthony Rizzo and Ross go out drinking together after Rizzo spends yet another night wandering the bases like he’s lost in an art museum and just wants to find the can. But hey, catharsis can look like this.