After yesterday’s 9-1 loss to the Phillies – again, the Cubs lost by eight(!) runs – Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade openly derided his young middle infielders, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney in the media for an early game mistake that led to a run. In the first inning, the duo was confused about who would take a one-out popup, which dropped. The Phillies subsequently scored two runs (did I mention that they Phillies ultimately won by eight runs?).
“I look back at this whole game and look at that play,” Quade angrily said after the game. “The sun’s been in the same damn spot for however long Wrigley Field’s been here. And those are the kind of mistakes [that you can't accept]. There are certain ones you’ll accept, and there are other ones that have to be taken care of.”
Setting aside the cosmological mistake in Quade’s statement (the Earth moves, both spinning and orbiting around the Sun, thus changing the Sun’s apparent position in the sky on a day to day basis), this is the kind of mistake that happens to even veteran players. It’s rare, but it happens. And it didn’t even cost the Cubs the game. Still, Quade believed that the play was a tone-setter for the rest of the game.
“The sad part is, as mad as I was, there was communication,” Quade continued. “They talked. Cassie decided he had it, so Barney backed off, as he definitely should have done. But the bottom line is, we’ve got to catch that ball, and if there’s any question in Cassie’s mind, then he’s got to let Barney take it, period.”
You’ll note, this is at least the third time Quade has publicly called out his 21-year-old shortstop for a mistake and/or a perceived lack of effort. The first two times, it really grated on me, and this time is no different. Why exactly Quade continues to set a double standard of expectations for his “young” players and his “veterans” is unclear, but it can’t make for a particularly comfortable clubhouse.
In some ways, I suppose I can understand where Quade is coming from. What’s he’s (poorly) trying to communicate, is that, with a young player, you want to nip bad habits in the bud. With a veteran player, a bad play is either indicative of a momentary hiccup, or an old dog to whom you can’t teach new tricks. I’m not saying I agree with Quade, but I can understand it.
But even that doesn’t mean you go to the media and openly advocate one set of rules for your “young” players, and another for your “veterans.”
Here’s the video of Quade’s rant, if you’d care to see it: