Come on, D-backs, let’s play nice.
The Dodgers will play the Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch today, and let’s all just try to get along, shall we? No more overreaction to every inside pitch. No more bully pulpit proclamations of perceived indignities. No more trying to create a rivalry that has become largely one-sided.
When the two teams met a week ago, hit batters led to four ejections, all Diamondbacks. It’s really pretty silly, but Diamondbacks Manager Chip Hale was still stirring the pot the next day when asked about some rather innocuous comments from Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
“They can talk all they want, talk is cheap in my opinion,” Hale said to Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “You know, they're good at it. We're just going to worry about playing the game. They can talk all they want about it.”
Wow, you’d think Hale was deeply entrenched in this supposed rivalry, rather than being the Diamondbacks manager for all of six seconds.
Now I barely know the chippy Hale. He actually finished his playing career with the Dodgers, playing 14 games with them in 1997. Seemed like a pleasant enough guy.
But he’s in a tough spot leading a Diamondbacks team that had the worst record in baseball last season (64-98), doesn’t appear dramatically improved and has had exactly one winning season in the last six years.
And really, the stuff last week seemed the overreaction of a desperate team trying to land somewhere on the baseball landscape. The brouhaha started when Dodgers' right-hander Chris Anderson, who last year was pitching at Class A, threw a couple of pitches near the head of Aaron Hill. Arizona was not happy, and then two batters later Anderson hit Mark Trumbo with a pitch.
So the Diamondbacks really think a 22-year-old kid who was wild last year pitching for Rancho Cucamonga was deliberately throwing at Trumbo?
They came back and hit Justin Turner and both benches were warned. Then Turner was hit again in the fifth and Hale and Allen Webster were ejected.
It was during this at-bat that Rollins happened to be conducting an interview with that sports network that less than 30% of Los Angeles -- but apparently all of Phoenix -- can watch when he was asked about the beanballs and made those cheap comments the Dodgers are supposedly so good at.
“The one that we had with Trumbo was clearly an accident. Obviously, when they hit [Turner] the first time, it was intentional. OK, point made,” Rollins said. “But it was a weak time to do it.
“I was talking to you so I didn't see it, but we still got a lot of games against them, so we'll make sure we protect our players.”
That’s pretty standard protect-our-own baseball fare. Hardly deserving of Hale getting his feathers all ruffled. And of course, it should be noted Rollins has yet to make his official debut as a Dodger, so it’s not like he’s steeped in this “historic” rivalry either.
Then later in the same game, an Arizona minor league pitcher hit a minor league Dodger and two more Diamondbacks were ejected.
There’s no denying the two teams had quite the brawl, and the Dodgers celebrated winning the division in Arizona with their infamous 2013 pool party, raising the ire of Sen. John McCain, who I’m pretty sure has more important things to worry about.
These things happen but teams, players and coaching staffs have to be wise enough not to escalate it by making unnecessary, inflammatory comments. Maybe Hale is trying to show his new team he’ll be standing up for them. You hope that’s all of it, just a show. But last week’s game hinted at something more, and come on, let’s play nice.