Last night, the Pirates engaged in something all to familiar for their fans and supporters. They were shouting at the opposing pitcher after the reining NL MVP Andrew McCutchen was hit. Matt Garza, the guilty party, was ejected along with manager Ron Roenicke after the benches had already been warned.
Garza called anyone who thought he was hitting McCutchen on purpose on a 1-2 pitch an idiot.
Today, the Pirates GM Neil Huntington spoke out about the issue on his radio show in Pittsburgh. Pirates announcer Greg Brown, who has a very strong opinion on the McCutchen matter, including an allegation that Jonathan Lucroy called for the beaning with a shirt tug.
Brown led into the questioning with a stat about how unlikely it was that Garza hit McCutchen on accident; Garza doubled his season hit by pitches with the two last night. Huntington responded by saying this, according to local CBS station KDKA in Pittsburgh.
"“He certainly tried to sell it if he didn’t hit him intentionally. He showed that he was upset that he hit him intentionally. We get that you have to pitch inside, we get that there are times where you hit people by accident. A couple two-out hit-by-pitch, reigning MVP in a very meaningful series, that’s the hard part is to get inside guys heads,”"
Huntington later clarified his stance, saying he didn’t think Garza did it on purpose. The entire interview can be found here.
Last night may have been the boiling point of this season, but it goes back way earlier.
It all started at the beginning of August. The surging Pirates were going up against the buried Diamondbacks.
Reigning NL MVP runner-up Paul Goldschmidt was having another stellar season. In just over 100 games, Goldschmidt had 19 homers, 69 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .396. Goldy came to the plate with the bases empty in the ninth inning of a Pirates blowout. Ernesto Frieri — a pitcher who hadn’t hit a player all year, and hasn’t hit one since — tried to pitch inside, lost his control and hit Goldschmidt in the hand.
The Pirates weren’t subject to shouting from the Diamondbacks bench. They didn’t have any of their players accused of conspiracy. No one got suspended despite ending Goldschmid’s season. The next day, the Diamondbacks got some revenge in a scummy fashion. They missed McCutchen with the first pitch of a ninth inning at-bat, threw a slider away then drilled him in the center of the back, making him day-to-day for two weeks.
Both are terrible losses, but the Pirates tried to act like choir boys throughout the whole ordeal, claiming the D-backs ripped their heart out. McCutchen was out for 15 days, while Goldschmidt lost the rest of his season to hand surgery.
And then last night happened. McCutchen was hit twice by a player who had just a pair of HBPs on the season. He claimed to just lose control of an inside pitch. And yet, the Pirates can’t put their team into the shoes of another team, despite doing the exact same thing just a few weeks ago.
If you want to get mad at the other team then you can’t be surprised when they get mad right back at you for doing the exact same thing. So get as mad as you want Greg Brown, Gerrit Cole, Andrew McCutchen and Pirates fans, but in the end, your are as guilty as anyone who hits your MVP.