The Leadoff: Amir Garrett vs the World

I think it is fair to say that the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburg Pirates are not very fond of each other at this point in the season. If you are reading this column I am going to assume you are a sports fan and if that is the case and you still haven’t seen the fracas between these two teams you are doing yourself a disservice. And for anyone sitting here claiming it was a bad look for baseball, you can go sit in the corner with a dunce cap on while the class points and laughs at you because I am not here for it. That video, which is almost 5 minutes long and, according to everyone, that is too long for a millennial to watch, has over 5 million views on multiple different pages. When do you think the last time baseball had a video that took over a medium like Twitter? 

The brouhaha boiled up from an instance involving, unsurprisingly, Derek Dietrick who is literally the worst. If you don’t know Dietrick he is a left-handed batter who only plays against right-handed pitching and still leads the league in hit-by-pitches. You know that scene in “Happy Gilmore” when Adam Sandler turns on the pitching machine and starts taking fastballs straight to the chest to “toughen up” for hockey season? That is how Dietrick actually stands in the box. The weird thing is that he is actually a power hitter despite his wiry albeit chiseled frame. So everyone hates Dietrick, he hit three home runs in one game against the Pirates and paused to admire his work while the balls punched their first-class tickets out of the stadium. That was in May. 

Tuesday, Pirates pitcher Keone Vela threw over the head of Dietrich with the first pitch of the at-bat letting everyone know through the “unwritten” rules of baseball that they weren’t having it.  Vela ended up striking out Dietrich and stared him down as he walked back to the dugout, not unlike the way Dietrich watches his balls fly over the fence. Now I think we can all agree that these are a bunch of sensitive men parading around as alpha’s because neither the pitcher nor the hitter should be angry about giving up a home run or striking out because that is quite literally how the game is played, but these men have fragile ego’s. It is even weirder that Joey Votto took such offense to the stare down that wasn’t directed at him but he did and started chirping at the Pirates dugout. Some other stuff happened but basically, it boiled down to Reds pitcher Amir Garrett who came on in relief and got shelled. The Pirates were letting him hear it and once the Reds pitching coach took the baseball from him on the mound he went at the Pirates. 

I say, “the Pirates” because he legitimately tried to fight the whole team, literally every Pirate. Had Johnny Depp, Sir Frances Drake or hell even Captain Hook been in attendance I would have feared for their safety. It was the real-life version of the Leroy Jenkins video that went viral years ago and I don’t know how else to describe it. Garrett threw a flying left cross at the Pirates manager, missed by just a hair, then grabbed him and put him in a headlock while everyone was still trying to figure out what was happening. While it was abundantly clear that Garrett is “bout that action” it was also clear that the Pirates were not, which isn’t surprising really, I see Pirates as more of the sneak-attack bunch. As the fisticuffs escalated into a full-scale donnybrook both dugouts and bullpens cleared and Yasiel Puig, known for being “bout that action,” also joined in. At one point Reds manager David Bell, who had already been ejected at this point, found his way onto the field and had to be held back while he waved his sausage finger at someone in disapproval.

My favorite part of the whole kerfuffle though was easily the security guard that did nothing. If you haven’t seen the video you must watch it because it looks like a scene out of a Paul Blart movie. As the riot was reaching its crescendo, while players from both teams were dogpiled on like a ball of snakes, the camera begins to pan back and reveals a security guard standing right in front of the fighting, but with his back to it. He calmly stood in front of what looked like a scene out of “World War Z” as if saying, “they don’t pay me enough for this,” and I couldn’t agree more. 

Will the fight end in suspensions? Absolutely. Is fighting bad? I guess? Did the MLB lead all headlines Tuesday night and Wednesday morning? They sure did. The worst thing that happened in that fight was some poor old man being put in a headlock at the bottom of the dogpile, however, we called that horsing around when I was younger so maybe the MLB just needs to toughen up a bit. 


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