Best of frenemies? Baez-Garrett feud carries on
There's no doubt, Javy Baez vs. Cincinnati reliever Amir Garrett has turned into one of the most bitter rivalries in MLB.
Earlier this season, Baez jumped out of the dugout to confront Garrett over trash talking a Cubs teammate. After hitting a walk-off single to deep center field Monday, Baez immediately yelled out at the Reds reliever and made a sweeping motion with his bat as he walked to first base. That was most likely a reference to Garrett's taunting when the Cubs were swept in Cincinnati a few weeks ago.
Baez was originally in Tuesday's lineup, but was scratched due to a bruised heel. He was out of the lineup Monday as well, but came in to pinch-hit in the ninth inning of a tie game.
"I love rivalries, I love competition, I love energy, I love fan bases and rooting for their team," Cubs manager David Ross said of the antics between Baez and Garrett. "I think that's part of sports and what makes them special.
"So I love that there's a little bit of tension, I wouldn't say in my comfort zone, how I would do things. But I also don't mind it. It brings something different and to be honest with you, two competitors getting after it and showing emotion, that emotion can be good for our game as well."
It is kind of odd how so many Cubs players seem to be friends with Reds slugger Joey Votto and former teammate Nick Castellanos, who is currently on the injured list. But the Baez-Garrett confrontations have caused benches to clear.
"I think there's a respect factor on everybody and the first basemen (like Votto) are always seem to be the ones who get along with everybody because they've got to talk to everybody at first," Ross said. "There's different guys that show emotions in different ways. I think competition breeds that. That's what the fans come to see, excitement and competition and emotions go back and forth with all of us.
"I've definitely been in the dugout long enough to know there's guys on the other side, me personally, that I've absolutely hated and you don't know them from anybody but you hate the way they compete.
"Especially in division, a name comes to mind right now, I'm not going to say it. I would get on first and be like, 'If there's a ground ball, this guy's fielding the ball at second base, I'm going to try to put him in left field.' That stuff is what competition is all about."
Ross said he did hear from the league office about Baez' taunting and a suspension could be possible.
Reds manager David Bell addressed the confrontation after Monday's game.
"Just two highly, highly-competitive guys and both great baseball players," he said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "There's a lot of emotions in this game, and to me, why add anything more to it? It might just be as simple as that. Just two guys that want to do well so bad, and there's a lot of emotions involved."