Like I said this morning, it was likely that there would be some kind of response to Miguel Montero’s comments about Jake Arrieta and other Cubs pitchers’ contribution to the many stolen bases allowed on Montero’s watch, including seven last night, and it didn’t take long.
Anthony Rizzo was on ESPN1000 with Dave Kaplan, and he really didn’t hold much back.
“We win as a team and lose as a team,” Rizzo told Kaplan. “As soon as you start pointing fingers, I think that just labels you as a selfish player. And I just disagree … I think we have another catcher that throws out everyone who steals … and he has Jon Lester who doesn’t pick over. It’s no secret, so … Going to the media with things like that, I just don’t think it’s very professional.”
Unfortunately, this is the second time Montero has spoken with the media about something that the players undoubtedly believe should have been kept in house first. Recall, after the World Series, Montero expressed disappointment about his role in the postseason.
“[Montero is] frustrated, obviously he’s frustrated … [but] you know this is his second time barking in the media and not just going to his teammates. So it’s something that as a veteran like he is you would think he’d make smart decisions about it.”
Rizzo added that sometimes you are able to keep things – like his response today – in-house with a chat over coffee, but once it’s out in the media, it’s already out there.
“To call your teammates out via the press, what’s the point?”
Given the disappointment of this season, following a dramatic and thrilling postseason run, this kind of blowup was probably inevitable. You’d like to believe these Cubs are different and insulated, but we see it time and again with sports teams. It just happens.
It doesn’t mean the train is going off the tracks (any more than it already has, that is), and it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s going to be some fundamental roster change today or in the next couple weeks.
It does mean, however, that some leadership is necessary – whether from Rizzo or elsewhere – and Joe Maddon will have to do his part to sort out these issues and bring the team back together. The club is already playing shorthanded, is struggling, and is in the middle of a huge series against the Nationals.
Michael Cerami contributed to this post.