Macha still upset over Brewers’ players being hit
The manager of the Milwaukee Brewers was still upset after one of his star players, Prince Fielder, was hit in the back by Atlanta Braves left-hander Jonny Venters on Saturday night. This was after Venters threw a breaking ball over Fielder’s head with the previous pitch. Fielder had hit a game-tying home run in his previous at-bat.
After that game, Macha called for Major League Baseball to look at the situation and suspend and/or fine Venters. His mind set didn’t change Sunday morning during his pregame media huddle.
“I cannot read intentions. I don’t know,” Macha said. “But you just put the evidence out there. That’s not my decision to make.
We’ve got two guys that have been hit an inordinate amount of times (Rickie Weeks and Fielder). That’s a basic fact. I try to play the game the right way, and hopefully appropriate action is taken, and if not we’ll have to make an adjustment.
“I try to treat the game with respect. If appropriate action is taken ... then so be it. If appropriate action is not taken, then I’m probably handling the situation as a manager.”
Braves manager Bobby Cox asked to meet with Macha before the game, and the two spoke during batting practice for about five minutes. Not much was revealed about the conversation, but benches were warned in the sixth inning after Manny Parra hit Jason Heyward. David Riske hit Troy Glaus later in the inning but was not ejected.
“Bobby and I are friends,” Macha said. “We talked about the situation. Bobby understands his side, and Bobby understands my side.”
The Brewers have been hit 46 times—the next closest team entering Sunday was Philadelphia with 35—and it’s fair to say the manager and players believe a decent amount of those involved malice.
Macha believes baseball should take a cue from the National Football League, whose policing system has officials reviewing game tapes weekly to determine if punishment should be doled out regardless of whether a penalty was called or not.
“The NFL is so many miles ahead of us as a sport it’s unbelievable,” Macha said. “There might not even have been a (penalty) called, but you’re fined $20,000 for spearing. They take a look at the evidence and they say, ‘We gotta put a stop to this,’ then they fine these guys a bunch of money.
“The (MLB) players association should be on board with this because Kirby Puckett ’s career ended because of this.
“You’ve got to get rid of this type of stuff. … Take a look at the film and hit the guy hard and then that stops, and I don’t have to worry about guys yelling at me because I’m protecting my players.”
or not protecting my players. I want to protect my players. If we have a fight, I’m going to be right in the middle of it. That’s all there is to it.”
Macha believes some of his players are possibly being targeted. He understands that pitchers have to pitch Weeks and Fielder inside and that both players tend to dive over the plate. Weeks has been hit a league-leading 17 times and Fielder is tied for second at 14.
As a reaction to Weeks being hit twice in two games during the last Pittsburgh series before the break, Macha asked Bruce Froemming, the special assistant to the vice president of umpiring, to take the incident to MLB vice president of rules and on-field operations Bob Watson . Macha has not heard back from anyone .
Macha and the players don’t understand why opponents might throw at the Brewers purposely, especially since many of the acts that angered teams in the past have been absent this year, such as players untucking their jerseys and the bowling pin home run celebration. Among the few incidents have been Carlos Gomez preening after a home run in a blowout loss and some players untucking their shirts after Saturday’s victory.
“Has there been any shenanigans this year?” Macha said. “No. OK then. So I think we should get that respect from the other clubs.”