During last night’s game, Fernando Rodney and Miguel Cabrera had a memorable at bat that included a lot of staring, some gesturing, one pitch that buzzed the tower, and Miggy crying all the way back to the dugout (see video of at bat here).
After the game, Jim Leyland went off on the up-and-in pitch and seemed to promise revenge (via mLive.com; emphasis is ours)…
“I don’t care about throwing inside, but I don’t like it up there…We will not tolerate that. You can take that to the bank. We won’t tolerate that up at the head, with anybody, not (just) Cabrera, but anybody. I’m not accusing anybody of anything, but we won’t tolerate that. If you’re going to just rare back and throw it, you can’t throw it there. If you throw it down at the legs in or something for a purpose, I don’t have any problem with that. But not upstairs…That’ll cause a lot of problems for people. That’s as simple as it is. That’s not a good idea. That’s not acceptable. If you want to throw inside, I have no problem with that. The old (expletive) about the one getting away, he’s pitched long enough that they don’t get away up there in that area, in my opinion. That won’t be tolerated. You can take that to the bank. That’s not acceptable. Like I say, if you want to throw down at the legs, or you’re throwing, trying to come in there. And I’m not saying he was trying to hit him or anything, but you’re going to throw head-high in there, that’s not acceptable…I don’t have any problem pitching inside. It was a great challenge with two — Rodney’s a very good pitcher — and a great hitter. It was a great confrontation, which Rodney won, and I don’t have any problem with anybody pitching inside, that’s none of my business, you have to do that. I agree with that 100 percent. But not up around the head. That’s not acceptable…I’m not going to speak to Rodney about it. Rodney and I are still friends. But what he did tonight is not acceptable, and there’s a price to pay for that. You just don’t do that. … Up in that area, that’s just not acceptable, friend or no friend.”
Leyland is one of the great managers of the last 50 years. But he is also one of baseball’s biggest hypocrites, and always has been. Pitching up-and-in has always been a part of baseball. What you don’t do is aim for the head. And you don’t throw behind the head. And Leyland knows that.