“You want him to not do that? Get him out.”
That was White Sox manager Rick Renteria last year, when Kansas City Royals pitcher Brad Keller intentionally hit Tim Anderson with a pitch in retaliation for Anderson’s bat flip heard ‘round the world.
Friday night, the shoe was on the other foot.
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras hit a three-run homer off Dylan Cease in the third inning and followed it up with a majestic bat flip.
Four innings later, by then losing 7-0, the White Sox saw Contreras again, and Jimmy Cordero hit him in the back with a pitch.
The Cubs’ dugout was loudly upset, shouting at the umpires, who conferred on the infield over what to do with Cordero. They decided to eject him, and Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper were even more upset than the Cubs had been. Cooper appeared to throw a water bottle onto the field, and both guys went out to yell at the umpires.
Renteria sent Cooper back to the dugout and stayed out for a long, unhappy chat with the men in blue. Both Renteria and Cooper were ejected, too.
Whether the White Sox were steamed because they were convinced Cordero’s hitting Contreras was unintentional or because no one received any warnings from the umpires will have to wait until the postgame press conferences.
But the White Sox, who hadn’t had anyone tossed through the vast majority of the season, have now seen Renteria ejected three times this week after he got the heave-ho twice during the team’s four-game series in Cleveland. Anderson was also ejected during that series for complaining about umpire Angel Hernandez’s strike zone.
For Anderson’s team — which adopted his “change the game” comment as their marketing slogan this season — to end up on the opposite side of the unwritten-rules debate would be pretty surprising.