Macha reacts to ESPN criticism
Brewers manager Ken Macha must have heard that the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew was criticizing his relatively mild-mannered reaction to events in the seventh inning of Milwaukee’s series-ending loss to the Twins. On Monday, Macha offered a bit of a defense.
Here’s the background: The Brewers trailed, 2-1, in the bottom of the seventh when a Mitch Stetter pitch came high and tight on Twins catcher Joe Mauer and struck either his hand or his bat. Mauer reacted as if it hit his hand, but the plate umpire, Adrian Johnson, ruled it was a foul tip.
That prompted an animated argument from both Mauer and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who somehow convinced Johnson to change his call to hit by pitch. That, in turn, prompted a visit from an angry Macha, who wasn’t able to secure a similar reversal.
The next hitter was Justin Morneau, who blasted a grand slam. The guys in the television booth, particularly former Mets GM Steve Phillips, though Macha should have argued more forcefully.
“Basically, what I said to him was a bunch of words that I think if I say that normally, I’m thrown out immediately,” Macha said. “Regardless of what I said last night, I don’t know if I’m going to get thrown out because deep, down inside, I think the guy knew he made a mistake. So, what are you going to do? Yell and scream and kick dirt and act like a fool? I said my piece very loudly and emphatically. That’s it.”
As he told reporters Sunday night, Macha was not as upset about the call as how the call was handled.
“You see that a lot. A guy says, ‘I got hit by that pitch,’ and the ump says, ‘Take your glove off, let me look at it,’” Macha said. “They take a look, see a mark and send the guy to first base. That happens a lot.
“As I said after the game, everyone lives and dies with their decisions in the big leagues. If I bring in a pitcher and the guy gives up a grand slam, that’s my decision. I made it, and I’m going to live by that or die by that. That decision [in the Mauer at-bat] was made; it was a foul ball. You’re going to live and die by that, and [the umpire] should have done that.”