The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have had a ‘lively’ rivalry of late, especially in 2013, but D-Backs GM Kevin Towers has decided to try and take things to the next level by saying a bunch of dumb stuff, including chastising his pitchers for not hitting enough players, inferring Kirk Gibson and the coaching staff was soft, and that Charles Nagy was fired partially because he wouldn’t retaliate enough.
Towers has pointed to many instances where his pitchers did not hit a member of the other team after a perceived slight or beaning of a D-back.
Look, I get that it’s part of baseball to retaliate, but the key here is ‘PERCEIVED’ slight.
Toward the end of the season, the L.A. Dodgers clubbed six home runs in an 8-1 drubbing of the D-backs, which was a game that saw the eventual NL West champs look a little too comfortable in the dugout.
“I was sitting behind home plate that game and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag,” Towers told Arizona Sports 620′s Burns and Gambo Tuesday. “Literally, if I would have had a carton of baseballs I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate.
Hanley Ramirez has nicknamed Juan Uribe ‘King Kong’ this year, and so in the dugout the duo and Yasiel Puig do amusing in-house jokes. Everybody else laughs along but stays away, probably so they don’t get called racists. Either way, I’m not sure how one can take that as an affront to the opposing team when it’s done in their own dugout and clubhouse … or on Twitter/Instagram.
But Towers perceives their joke among friends to be a gigantic slight to the D-Backs and baseball, so much so that he specifically mentioned it to the hosts and admitted that he wanted to physically throw stuff at everybody involved because of it.
This is the GM? This is the organization’s decision maker? Unnerving to say the least.
“That’s not who we are as Diamondbacks, that’s not how — I mean, it’s a reflection on Gibby, on myself, on our entire organization. They slapped us around and we took it.”
Gibson — yes, Kirk Gibson — is somehow soft to Towers because he didn’t get pissed at an in-joke, in-house celebration that was done in the opposing dugout, one that Gibson probably didn’t even see because he was WATCHING THE GAME.
A grit war or a discussion on how to play the game between those two? Seriously? Comical.
Towers said that has to stop, and following the game he had “a few choice words for the (coaching) staff.”
“You’d think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently,” he said. “Probably a week later Goldy gets dinged, and no retaliation. It’s like ‘wait a minute.’
“Not that I don’t take any of our guys from a lesser standpoint, but if Goldy’s getting hit, it’s an eye for an eye, somebody’s going down or somebody’s going to get jacknifed.”
Arizona's batters were hit by 43 pitches this year. Arizona's pitchers hit 60 batters. But that ratio not good enough for the Gunslinger!
— robneyer (@robneyer) October 9, 2013
Besides that hilarious misstep over a little thing called facts, it’s interesting that Towers feels completely comfortable admitting that he mandates hits on players to his coaching staff.
Towers said the responsibility to protect teammates used to to be taught early in a player’s career, but things are a bit different nowadays. The players should know what needs to be done, but sometimes someone has to tell them what to do.
And when that doesn’t get done, change is in order, which is part of the reason why the team parted with pitching coach Charles Nagy Tuesday.
So Nagy got fired partially because he didn’t get his pitchers to hit more batters. I imagine Nagy’s reaction to being told he was fired for not employing the logic of a 10-year-old was something along the lines of, “Welp, cya.”
Besides, isn’t that attitude exactly what the Diamondbacks did when they hit Puig in the face and then tried to hit Zack Greinke in the face?
But wait, that angle gets better:
It won’t be as simple to get rid of any offending pitchers, though.
“Some of them, contractually, it’s tough to move,” he said. “But I think come spring training, it will be duly noted that it’s going to be an eye for an eye and we’re going to protect one another.
“If not, if you have options there’s ways to get you out of here and you don’t follow suit or you don’t feel comfortable doing it, you probably don’t belong in a Diamondbacks uniform.”
But that logic doesn’t exactly follow since he got rid of Ian Kennedy, who was the one that ‘retaliated’ against the Dodgers by beaning Puig, because Puig … uh … did what? I don’t even know what he did.
At the time it happened, I thought the beanball was incidental, but after all this has come out about mandated hits and what not? I don’t anymore. Even if I’m wrong, that’s the kind of speculation Towers has opened himself and his pitchers up to, and it’s completely sane to now speculate on it given what Towers just spelled out in his own words.
Just to be clear, Towers threatened to trade players who don’t abide by his wannabe mafia BS. His version of ‘protecting’ D-Backs players is throwing at anybody that pisses him off while he watches the game in his luxury box.
Ironically, by trying to sound like a tough guy, I don’t think Towers could come off as any more of an insecure joke. Is he the one that’s going to be down on the field fighting with Mark McGwire and Puig? No, so even if he was correct, it’s only easy for him to say because he’s on his safe perch far away from any physical harm.
Unfortunately for him, he’s not correct. Not only was what he said factually wrong given what the D-Backs actually did in 2013, but it goes against how the MLB has attempted to police beanball wars (you know, like not having a GM publicly say to hit players).
But maybe us Dodger fans should thank Towers, really. Because no celebration the Dodgers do will ever be as bad as Towers calling for physical violence to resolve his anger issues, and then also threatening to fire members of his staff or trade members of his team if they don’t literally fight for him on the field. It’s such a ridiculous stance by him that I had to check to make sure this wasn’t all a parody.
Luckily it’s not, so even if nothing ever comes of this, it’ll all be worth it for the visual image of Towers marching down into the clubhouse to berate Gibson, Don Baylor, and Matt Williams about how to play the game the right way.
Good luck with that.