There are very few things that could happen over the course of a spring training game that would result in one manager refusing to shake another manager’s hand after the game ends, but Dusty Baker and Kirk Gibson apparently found a reason on Monday.
According to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, Baker and Gibson got off to a rocky start before Monday’s exhibition between the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks. The two managers reportedly had a “testy discussion” at home plate while exchanging lineups, which apparently had to do with Baker wanting to use a DH and Gibson wanting to play by standard National League rules.
“I had it happen last year with a team, they tried to put the DH in there and that’s not the way it’s done,” Gibson explained. “I wanted to play a National League game. I notified them several times and they just wanted to do it their way and they couldn’t do it. So they didn’t like that. But we play by the rules here, that’s the way it is. We go over there we play by their rules. It’s very simple.”
Arizona was the home team, and the home team gets to decide if a DH is going to be used or not during spring training. According to Gilbert, Gibson wanted to play by standard NL rules so he could get pitcher Brandon McCarthy as many at bats as possible. McCarthy, who pitched in the American League last season, needs practice at the plate. Baker wanted to use Shin-Soo Choo as a DH instead of playing him in the field, since he is nursing a minor quadriceps injury. Gibson would not give in, thus upsetting Baker.
After the game, Gibson apparently extended his hand to shake Baker’s, but Baker refused.
“We didn’t have a very pleasant encounter at home plate,” Baker said. “That’s how it goes. It’s over.”
Now children, it’s only spring training. Let’s try to get along.
Fist pound to Hardball Talk
Photo credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE