I didn’t *think* David Ross would fall into the category of baseball players and managers who think Fernando Tatis, Jr. swinging at a 3-0 pitch in a seven-run game with TWO innings remaining was some grievous sin. But, well, given how much that whole thing really pissed me off, I was hoping to hear his perspective. And I was hoping he’d say the right things.
I asked #Cubs manager David Ross if he, as a former catcher, has a problem with someone swinging 3-0 and a “big” lead.
“If a guy wants to swing, I don’t have a problem with it, especially when they’re one of the best players in the game.”
Full quote below. pic.twitter.com/YaQEWyMozh
— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) August 18, 2020
Overall – and I watched video to get his tone, too – Ross doesn’t seem to be super into any of the unwritten rules stuff, and I like that he underscored it by pointing to the fallacies in what counts as “bush league.” Teams still shift when they’re way down in the game, so shouldn’t the hitter still be going all out?
Moreover, it’s not like it was an obscene blowout. A seven-run lead is definitely healthy, but there were still two innings left for the Rangers to bat against one of the worst bullpens in baseball (that just lost their closer, Kirby Yates). Don’t tell your guys not to compete in that situation – Ross wants his guys sticking with their plan at the plate, even if that includes swinging at a 3-0 pitch.
The mention of Tatis, a young superstar, as “one of the best players in the game” also made another subtle point: why would we want to limit what baseball can be? Let the best players do their thing, even if they’re young. Don’t act like you have to “teach them the ways” of baseball.
Dollars to donuts says the players on the Cubs appreciate Ross’s perspective here, as suggested yesterday by Anthony Rizzo, and emphasized in no uncertain terms by Steven Souza, Jr.:
If you gonna get mad at me swinging 3-0 you better throw me an automatic ball when it’s 0-2 and you’re up. I spit on 3 pitches it’s my choice to swing or not, don’t tell me when I can swing because you can’t throw strikes. @tatis_jr don’t let anyone bully you like that.
— Steven Souza Jr. (@SouzaJr) August 18, 2020