Cardinals, Brewers bicker over ribbon board
The Cardinals and Brewers engaged in a bit of off-the-field gamesmanship between the first two games of their National League Central showdown over the brightness of LED “ribbon” boards at Miller Park.
Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa brought the issue to third base umpire Bruce Dreckman’s attention several times during the Brewers’ 6-2 win on Monday night. According to sources in both clubhouses, the Cardinals contended that the long, thin board, which hangs on the façade of Miller Park’s club level, shone brighter while the Brewers were at-bat.
Crew chief Gary Darling told a pool reporter that he emailed a report late Monday to Major League Baseball’s vice president of baseball operations, Joe Garagiola Jr., who in turn spoke Tuesday with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. But MLB did not request any changes to the Brewers’ game day entertainment.
Melvin declined to discuss the matter with reporters beyond saying it had been “handled.”
“There’s no cheating,” said Melvin, referring questions to Garagiola. “I’m not going to comment on it.”
MLB spokesperson Michael Teevan confirmed that Garagiola and Melvin spoke, and said the Commissioner’s Office was not anticipating further issues.
Asked to clarify what he meant by “handled,” Melvin said, “We didn’t change anything. There’s no reason to change anything. There was nothing to be changed.”
LaRussa would not publicly acknowledge his concerns about the lighting. At least one Cardinals player said that it seemed darker on the field while St. Louis was at bat than it was when Milwaukee was at bat.
“Like I told [LaRussa] last night, we just don’t pay that much attention to it,” Darling said. “Nothing really jumped out about it. I told him I would report it to the league, and that’s what I did. They just called me back that they had spoken to both general managers and they were handling it from that end.”
The series continued with another night game on Tuesday.
“We’ll pay attention to it, but there’s nothing there as far as we’re concerned,” Darling said.
So, add the Cardinals to the list of teams trying to answer a question that has dogged the Brewers themselves. How can a team with the second-most road losses in baseball (35) also have the second most home wins (40, entering Tuesday night)?
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was asked directly on Tuesday afternoon: Are the Brewers cheating?
“If we are, I know nothing about it,” he said. “I would think I would be [in the loop], yes.”
Said Melvin: “We’re happy with our home record. We’re not as happy with our road record. It’s got nothing to do with anything other than the game on the field.”
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