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Josh Donaldson fires back at Giolito, goes after Ozzie

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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The Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins might not be locked in a neck-and-neck race for the AL Central crown.

But how's this for a red-hot rivalry?

Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson is suddenly the least popular man on the South Side after his lengthy response to Lucas Giolito calling him "a f---ing pest" following Tuesday night's White Sox win, a response in which he suggested Giolito has been cheating, described a heated conversation between the two in the parking lot and went after NBC Sports Chicago analyst Ozzie Guillén for comments made on Tuesday's postgame show.

RELATED: Lucas Giolito: Josh Donaldson's smack talk 'classless'

This all started Tuesday night, when Donaldson homered off Giolito in the first inning and followed by referencing "sticky stuff" in comments to his teammates as he crossed home plate.

The comments certainly could have been read as an accusation that Giolito was no longer the beneficiary of a foreign substance and that prior to Major League Baseball's current crackdown, the All-Star pitcher was cheating.

Giolito responded by calling Donaldson "a f---ing pest" and "classless" during his postgame media session Tuesday night.

"He's a f---ing pest," Giolito said. "That's kind of a classless move. If you're going to talk s---, talk s--- to my face. Don't go across home plate and do all that, just come to me.

 

"It's just annoying. We won. The W's next to my name. They're in last place."

Well, apparently Donaldson did come at Giolito, the Twins third baseman saying Wednesday that he confronted Giolito in the parking lot after Tuesday's game.

"He said, 'I wish he'd said it to my face.' Right?" Donaldson said. "Well, I did say it to his face. We had a talk last night. Let's just be quite frank with this, he didn't have much to say.

"It happened after the game. ... He was walking in the parking lot, and I went and made sure he heard what I had to say to his face because that's what he wanted. That's what he wanted.

"He said that he thought I was annoying. I said, 'So what? I'm on the opposing team. What do you care about me?' I said, 'I'm in your face. I'm telling you what I think. What have you got to say about that?' And he didn't have any response."

During his pregame media session Wednesday, Donaldson alleged Giolito could have been cheating, as he's done with plenty of other pitchers during his crusade to get the league to enforce the foreign-substance rules. He was one of the loudest voices in the run-up to commissioner Rob Manfred's decision to institute in-game umpire checks and 10-game suspensions for pitchers caught using anything but rosin to improve their grip on the ball.

Donaldson said Wednesday that he has been tracking 150 pitchers and that he noticed differences in the short time since enforcement has been increased, going as far as to say that had Giolito not been a cheater, Tuesday's post-homer comments wouldn't have generated the same reaction.

"You look at what happened last night, Giolito had one strikeout. He had nine swings and misses. It was his lowest all year long, minus the game he pitched at 11 o'clock in the morning in Fenway," Donaldson said. "Hitting is still the hardest skill to do in the world. And Giolito can still pitch. He's got a good changeup and a good fastball.

"But without this, I think what you're seeing is — and what fans want in the game — is more contact. Guess what? There was more contact in the game last night, less swings and misses.

"Obviously, he showed offense to what I said, which I think kind of speaks more about the looming question that's going on, which is: Was he using sticky stuff before all of this happened in the first place? If he wasn't, then he probably wouldn't have cared about that comment.

"Let's go look at his numbers. What do the numbers say? And what do we know about the sticky stuff? What does it do? What does it help with? It helps with RPMs. It helps with spin rate. Guess what, Mr. Giolito? Your spin rate is down 200. Your curveball spin rate is down 400 or 500. Your slider is down 200.

 

"If we are going to talk about class, what side are you going to choose? Are you going to take the side of someone who is playing the game fair? Or are you going to take the side of somebody that was probably cheating before this happened?"

But Giolito wasn't the only White Sox person Donaldson reacted to Wednesday. He even called out Guillén, who suggested that he might intentionally hit Donaldson with a pitch if he were in Giolito's shoes.

"You've got a lot of people talking a lot of s--- about me, for somebody that's a three-time All Star and MVP. I'm not here to boast (about) myself, but people forget quick. And I've got Ozzie Guillén talking s--- on the air saying that, 'I'd let one go, hit him in the ribs.'

"Ozzie Guillén, you were under a career .700 OPS hitter, man. You were a three-time All Star, and you had an under .700 OPS. My worst season in the big leagues is 150 points higher than that. This is also coming from the man that said he loves Fidel Castro. That's who we're taking advice from? What are we doing around here?"

So Donaldson made no friends and made a whole ton of enemies on the South Side, where he'll be playing as a visiting division rival for as many four more seasons, thanks to the big free-agent contract he signed with the Twins ahead of last season.

More pressing than what the fan reaction might be for the rest of his deal, though, is what the White Sox reaction is in the immediate. The two teams have two more games this week on the South Side, then three more next week in the Twin Cities.

One thing's for sure: Independent of the standings, this rivalry isn't going anywhere right now.

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