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#pounditSunday, December 5, 2021

Javier Baez not happy with trash talk from opponents over bat flip

Javier Baez is defending himself amid questions about his respect for the game of baseball after a recent bat flip.

During Wednesday’s game between the Cubs and Pirates, Baez tossed his bat after a popup to shortstop Jordy Mercer. That did not sit well with Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle.

“You watch Baez flip that bat in the air last night. Where’s the respect for the game?” Hurdle told MLB.com. “The guy hits four homers in two days, so that means you can take your bat and throw it 15-20 feet in the air when you pop up like you should have hit your fifth home run? I would bet that men over there talked to him, because I believe they’ve got a group over there that speaks truth to power and the kid’s showing physical power.”

Hurdle was correct. Players on the Cubs reportedly did speak to Baez about his moment during the seventh inning. On Thursday, Baez defended himself publicly, saying he’s going to continue “playing his game.”

“No one plays this game harder than me,” Baez told MLB.com. “But you don’t go out there and talk trash about someone.”

“To be honest, I have a lot of things I could say right now,” he continued. “I don’t control what’s out there, what people say about me. I’m just going to keep playing my game.”

In recent years, baseball has had a problem of players (many of whom are of Latin decent) perceived as being disrespectful to the game because of on-the-field actions. Yasiel Puig has had that criticism directed at him on more than a few occasions. So has Bryce Harper.

Oftentimes those who play the game with a youthful exuberance or flair are seen as not taking the game seriously. Rarely is that actually the case. Baseball prides itself on its participants policing themselves. Chipper Jones alluded to it regarding Joe Kelly hitting Tyler Austin with a pitch after a spikes-up slide.

It’s not surprising Baez came out and said he’s going to continue playing the way he always has. It’s what makes him an exciting and entertaining player to watch. It may rub some (like Clint Hurdle) the wrong way, but it sounds like Javy Baez is gonna be Javy Baez regardless.

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