The Pirates and Cubs faced off in an elimination Wild Card game in 2015, which of course the Cubs won 4-0. And while the teams were already division rivals, the two clubs have sparked somewhat of a hatred for each other, especially after the Cubs stomped all over the Pirates best regular season in years – arguably ever.
Last year, the Pirates won their first series over the Cubs of the year in early July, celebrating loudly in the visiting locker room at Wrigley Field. The event, while mostly harmless since the Cubs were 18-games above .500 and held a 7 game lead in the division, made it very clear what the Pirates think of the Cubs.
The Cubs are currently losing the season series against the Pirates with a 5-6 record, however they still hold a 6.5 game lead over the Bucs. And while it looks like Pittsburgh is out of chase for the division, it hasn’t stopped their broadcasters from taking shots at Cubs players.
Former Pirates pitcher and current broadcast announcer for the club, Steve Blass, had the stones to take a shot at Baez….while the Pirates were playing the Cardinals. Blass said Baez was ‘difficult to root for,’ implying he didn’t like how Baez played the game.
Here’s the actual comment during the live broadcast.
Video proof of this pic.twitter.com/Q27J2EAyM9
— Matt Clapp (@TheBlogfines) August 19, 2017
While we Cubs fans shouldn’t really concern ourselves with the opinions of older broadcasters who don’t work for our team (cough cough, Hawk Harrelson), it’s still interesting to see how people continue to single out guys like Baez and Willson Contreras for playing with a ‘Latin flare’.
Those two players in particular, have a clear passion for the sport, but instead of celebrating the two for having fun people, tear into these guys simply because they get excited more than others. It’s just dumb. And to bring up a guy like Javier Baez without any real basis for the comment just shows the clear frustration Pittsburgh has with Chicago.
I mean, the Cubs not only ruined their 98-win season, but effectively destroyed what now looks like one of their last chances in years to actually compete for a championship. So it’s easy to see how they would hold it against the Cubs.
However, Blass, you can happily go get bent for all I care. To make a comment like that towards Baez, who is by all means not a dirty, rude, or terrible person on or off the baseball field, simply because you don’t like his passion for the game is just unprofessional and chuck full of bias. I know, I am biased too being a Cubs writer for a Chicago website, but I still like cheering for Andrew McCutchen or Starling Marte. The MLB needs to step further away from the unwritten rules and the robot personalities that so many baseball traditionalists demand from today’s youth.
It’s not players like Javier Baez that are bad for baseball, it’s people like Steve Blass who put down vibrant and exhilarating players because they don’t golf clap during their walk-off homers.