New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman took the mound last night and before the final out, threw an 0-0 pitch that nearly decapitated Rays infielder Mike Brosseau. No one was more pissed off than Rays manager Kevin Cash who had plenty to say about the pitch.
“It’s poor judgement, poor coaching, poor teaching…” The @RaysBaseball Manager Kevin Cash on the Yankees aiming at the Rays players.— FOX Sports Sun: Rays (@FOXSportsRays) September 2, 2020
Watch the postgame FOX Sports Sun & FOX Sports Go!#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/2YA8YE689E
Understandable that he would be frustrated, but is this the same coach that enables his players to do this?
No question on the intent of that fastball, but understanding the situation in last night’s incident can help us unpack Chapman’s intent. Aroldis Chapman is being accused of intentionally throwing at a player to put the tying run at the plate in a must-win game against the first place Rays? Doubtful. Every other head hunting pitch you’ll see in baseball will come in a situation like the one above: 7-0 with the game all but over.
Here’s Chapman’s pitch for you to see yourself:
When a guy like Chapman has about as little control over his 4-seamer as he does over his temper, intent in a situation like this is pretty tough for onlookers to determine pic.twitter.com/vj6c3MdyQQ— Emily Nyman (@EmSheDoesIt) September 2, 2020
Other than the 101 MPH fastball at Brasseau’s neck, one of the first details to the naked eye is that Chapman walks toward home plate. This gives off the impression he has no remorse in his body, but digging into Chapman’s past debunks that (bottom video).
Not sure that Chapman walking toward home plate after the pitch is evidence of intent. pic.twitter.com/7EvNCkG5LQ— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 2, 2020
Kevin Cash took it to the media to let the Yankees and fan bases around the world exactly what to expect tomorrow.
“I got a whole damn stable of pitchers that throw 98 mph. Period.”
Yankees Manager Aaron Boone and star second baseman D.J LeMahieu responded to that post-game.
Aaron Boone on Kevin Cash’s “I have a whole damn stable of pitchers that throw 98 mph” comment:— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) September 2, 2020
“That’s a pretty scary comment. I don’t think that’s right at all” pic.twitter.com/Y3sJiL9cTT
“Sounds like they’re gonna try to throw at us tomorrow. We’ll be ready”— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) September 2, 2020
DJ LeMahieu on Kevin Cash’s comments pic.twitter.com/QsDVxt2gwN
No one can prove intent and if you really want to psych yourself into believing a team was acting reckless, you’ll find a way. Deescalating a situation like this looks difficult when a player on your own team was in danger, but it doesn’t seem like this ended last night. Two teams fighting for first place arguing about intentionally hitting players is baseball’s next great rivalry.
The Yankees have a roster filled with what should be linebackers for the Pittsburgh Steelers, so picking a fight doesn’t look like the move. As long as no one gets hurt at the hands of a pitch, tonight’s Yankees-Rays matchup at 7:05 ET should be a spectacle.
Athletes hating each other to their core instead of taking each other to dinner? What year is it?