If you insult one of Mike Rizzo's players, you're going to have a problem.
If you insult one of his players while under his roof, you're really going to have a problem.
And that's exactly what happened when Atlanta Braves announcer Joe Simpson questioned whether or not the Nationals' 19-year-old phenom Juan Soto was actually a teenager during Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader.
“He is ... If he’s 19, he has certainly got his man growth. He is ... big and strong,” Simpson said.
His questioning behind whether or not Soto is 19 generates interest because players from Latin American countries have long dealt with rumors and accusations of lying about their age.
However, age fraud hasn't been a thing in almost a decade.
Simpson's quote started to make its way around the Twitter-sphere and eventually to Rizzo's ears. And as you would expect, the GM made his way to the broadcast booth at Nats Park to have a word with the broadcasting veteran.
" There was not much to it. It was just an uninformed and unfortunate comment by Joe," Rizzo said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington. "He's been in the game too long. He's a player, been an announcer for a long, long time. Uniformed, not in touch and he made a mistake."
"Like we handle most of the problems in Nationals land, we went up to the booth and we had a man-to-man discussion about it," Rizzo added. "And he apologized for it and I'd much rather be talking about the 19-year-old that's tearing up the league and one of the best players, not only on the Nationals team, but in the whole league.
"The stuff this guy's doing is remarkable. He's truly one of the great players currently in the league right now and it's unbelievable that we're talking about an age thing when we should be talking about a performance thing."
Soto is having one of the most impressive seasons by a teenager in MLB history.
Since May 20, he's hit .315 with 14 home runs and 39 RBI. During Tuesday's doubleheader, he hit his 14th home run and got on base five times.
(Nationals phenom Juan Soto/ USA Today Sports Images)
But this isn't the first time in recent memory that Simpson has made a questionable remark during a broadcast.
Prior to the Braves' matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Simpson took issue with the team sporting "K Cancer" shirts during batting practice, calling it an unprofessional look and that Dodgers fans should be "embarrassed." Anything involving fighting cancer should not be looked at as "embarrassing," no matter how long one has been been around the game.
Rizzo said the discussion took "all of about 10 minutes," but what it really comes down to is Rizzo not wanting the 19-year-old to have to answer silly questions regarding his age.
"The worst thing about this is that the poor kid may have to answer questions about it when it's so unfair and just out of touch and just not accurate," he lamented.
"That's the unfortunate part of it. You know how we handle things and you've discussed things with me before. It's very black and white, there's no gray area. I told him that I had a problem with it, he said that he apologized for it and he said he will make it right in Game 2 and I believe he did that also."
Once Game 2 got underway, Simpson made an on-air apology saying, "If you were with us in Game 1, you might have heard me make a comment off the top of my head about if he's 19. Well, he is. He’s bona fide 19. And he is a full-grown man. He is strong. And he is one heck of a player. You might well just write his name in on the Rookie of the Year award right now."
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