CHICAGO -- On the first pitch he threw after being called upon to get out of a bases-loaded jam on Monday night, Amir Garrett watched a fly ball land in deep center field for a walk-off, 6-5 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It was a frustrating end to the game for the Reds, but the story surrounding Garrett’s one-pitch outing didn’t consist of just the base hit itself.
Javier Báez was the one who sent the Reds packing with the RBI single, a player with whom Garrett has had multiple run-ins in the past. Given their history, Báez walked to the plate already talking to Garrett, and after the hit, Báez took his time walking to first base while shouting a bit more in Garrett’s direction.
Garrett wasn’t made available to the media following the display but spoke on the field prior to Tuesday’s game, explaining why he didn’t react to Báez on the field on Monday.
“He got me. That's all there was,” he said. “He hit a nice little popup to center. It was a walk-off. Good for him. Right now, we're focused on winning ballgames. We're gonna play our best to keep them in fourth place. I understand that every little thing that gets them excited right now because they're in the trenches right now. We just got to come back today and beat them. That's the best revenge that we can get.”
Garrett was suspended for five games by MLB for an incident with Báez on May 1, when Báez took issue with Garrett celebrating a strikeout of Anthony Rizzo and jumped the railing to confront him. Both benches cleared, and Garrett was levied what was initially a seven-game suspension for his role in the situation.
Garrett did take issue with Báez’s display this time around, but rather than risk any more punishment from MLB, he left the field without challenging Baez’s celebration (though he did appear to say something back from the dugout steps).
“I'm all for the [trash] talk and stuff like that,” Garrett said. “That's fine, that's 100 percent fine. But my whole thing is with the Cubs, I remember Javy saying that I need to react towards my team more so [than] them. Last night was directly towards me, which is fine, but whatever you preach, you should stand on that, you know what I mean? He didn't, and that was fine.
“He should thank me, because I didn't react because we'd have both lost money and got fined and got suspended and hurt our teammates. I wasn't gonna react.”
Cubs manager David Ross said before Tuesday’s game that he’d heard from MLB about the episode, noting that though a suspension wasn’t definite for Báez, it was possible. Garrett and Reds manager David Bell didn’t call for a suspension when asked about the incident, instead opting to allow MLB to do its own due diligence on the matter.
“I don't wish anything on people,” Garrett said. “I don't wish people to lose money, I don't wish people to have to sit out games. Whatever they're gonna do to him, that's what they're gonna do. I don't really wish bad on him. I don't really care what happens.”
“It's not my job to rule on things like that, but I am confident that whatever is fair, I know Major League Baseball is always to keep things fair and do the right thing,” Bell said. “That's what I would expect. What that means, I have no idea. It's just not my area or my job.”
To his credit, Garrett said he actually enjoys the emotion Báez plays with -- “He's still a joy to watch in the field,” he said -- and he doesn’t feel like the situation is anything more than just competitive battles between division rivals. However, Garrett also noted that if he were to come out on the winning side in ensuing battles, he would expect the same response from the Cubs that he had on Monday.
“Next time, if I show some emotion, pump my fist or whatever, they can't get upset about it,” he said.