An inside-fastball controversy usually starts with some unwritten rules. Or with the unspoken references to the unwritten rules, which might have even been broken. Or with an unwitting manager unknowingly giving the appearance that he was appealing to the unwritten rules. With Derek Lowe and Dusty Baker, though, it looks like this is a tale of two dudes who loathe each other.
On Wednesday, Derek Lowe stepped up to the plate in the fifth inning for the Indians. The first pitch:
Lowe pointed to the dugout, where Baker reportedly shook his finger, as if to say, "No, no. Not me." Lowe isn't buying that:
This goes back to my last year with the Dodgers. (Baker) made up some [bogus] story. A lot of people got involved. People almost got fired over it. You can go ask him right now and he’ll say he has no idea what you’re talking about.
What an unbelievable tease. Dusty Baker made up something about Derek Lowe and spread it around, possibly with notes in class. Or Dusty Baker related something completely true, and Lowe has to pretend it's invented. What is it. Whaaaaaat. C'mon. Give us a hint.
"I have zero respect for the guy — not that it matters. I imagine he’d say the same about me. But the [stuff] that was being said and the denials that he ended up ultimately doing was pretty sad. I’ll just leave it at that."
Here's the point in the story where reporters shuffle over to the other clubhouse and see if they can get a quote from the manager in question. The manager will say things like, "Well, that's his opinion." And, "Look, I don't want to make an issue out of this. I wasn't trying to hit him." Right? Take it away, Dusty:
"He had some words for me. I really didn't want to make a public thing or a public spectacle. He's the one who brought it up. He had some choice words for me. I really don't care if he respects me. It doesn't matter."
See? Doesn't want to make it a thing. Everyone move on.
"I told (Mat Latos) to buzz him and make him uncomfortable. That's what happened."
"Man, I don't care," Baker said. "A lot of people don't respect me. He don't respect himself. The word was whatever he did and said probably there was a good chance he was drinking at the ballpark and he don't remember what he said or what he did. OK."
A phonograph needle screeches. The clubhouse gapes at Baker for a bit before feeling uncomfortable and avoiding eye contact. Did a major-league manager really say that?
And in the series of quotes, Baker continually references this event, or this rumor. All we have to do is guess. One time, my college roommate cheated during a game of Battleship by noting the spot of my destroyer in the reflection of my glasses. Might be something like that. But this sounds so damned juicy and salacious, and all we can do is guess.
Guess, and note that Derek Lowe and Dusty Baker don't like each other. As much as any manager/player combo from opposing teams haven't liked each other. Unfortunately, it'll be a while before Lowe starts against a Baker-managed team again, unless there's an all-Ohio World Series.
Until then, we'll spend far too much time wondering what Lowe thinks Baker made up about him. That's not an everyday bone of contention between a player and an opposing, folks. It's completely bizarre, and I demand answers. At least a hint? Here's a twenty. No, a fifty. Stomp your foot once if it has to do with the unwritten rules. C'mon.