Cubs shortstop Javy Báez wasn’t upset with Reds reliever Amir Garrett for pounding his chest or pointing and shouting. Báez said he took issue with the display of emotion being aimed at Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs, rather than back at the home dugout.
“It doesn't matter what you do, just do it to your team, not to us,” Báez said Saturday. “Doesn't matter who does it, doesn't matter how good you are, how bad you are. Just don't do it to us, or to me.”
Benches cleared in the eighth inning of the Cubs’ 3-2 win at Cincinnati on Saturday after Garrett struck out Rizzo for the second out of the frame. Garrett nodded, pounded his chest and said a few choice words as Rizzo walked back to the dugout.
"I think that's just him trying to try to fire himself up, because he's not throwing well right now," Cubs manager David Ross said of Garrett, who had a 12.27 ERA entering play Saturday. "He did a good job against us, got us out when he had to. I see a guy that just wants to instigate something."
Ross added: "That's not celebrating.”
Báez, from the dugout, and Garrett, from the mound, jawed at each other before benches cleared.
“I really just appreciate Javy,” Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner said. “And he had Rizz’s back, and that was his entire intention, the whole time, it was about our team. And I love that he kept it that way.”
Báez jumped the dugout railing and motioned to Garrett. Reds infielder Mike Moustakas held Báez back. Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson pushed an animated Garrett out of the fray. The incident dissipated before escalating into a physical altercation.
"To be disrespected by another player on the field kind of challenges your manhood," Ross said. "... I think those are things that I wouldn't have stood for as a player, that's for sure. I would have been the first one in line for that.
"I can't do that anymore, so I don't fault any of our guys. That's not the way that I think baseball is intended to go. But I think that's (Garrett's) style. I don't agree with it. I think it's garbage. But he's not on my team."
Saturday wasn’t the first spat between Garrett and Báez. Their history includes a similar benches-clearing incident in 2018.
“He can be 6-7, he can be 10 feet, and we're not afraid of that,” Báez said. “We're here to play baseball and win games. We're not here to fight the other team. We are here to win the game and compete against the other team.”