When you’re on a team, you have responsibilities to your teammates. As a pitcher, my areas of responsibility are defined by my role. Without a bat, I can’t drive in the runner on third. Nor am I expected to run to deep center field, climb the wall, and rob the opposition of a home run. I do get to make pitch selections. It is also my job to keep the baserunners’ leads short. But it doesn’t stop there. Sometimes, I need to pitch a guy inside.
There are a lot of euphemisms for it. “Chin music” etc. but the important thing is, if someone in the other dugout shows us up, it’s my job to remind him that we can defend ourselves.
Why am I talking about this all now? Because of the new book out about EJ. I was asked for my opinion of the incident where he took out Jeremiah Taylor. And I’m on record, forever, as saying, “As a pitcher, I don’t care.” That little snippet was taken out of context and it makes me look like, well, I’m not sure what it makes me look like. And I do care what I look like.
If someone had done that to one of my catchers, I’d take care of him. It’s part of my job, remember. Pick the pitches, hold the runners and throw inside. But it didn’t happen to my catcher. It happened to someone else’s catcher. It is not my place to get involved.
“But Ryan, he’s on your team…” So? I haven’t run the bases in a long long time, so I can’t really speak to how I’d react if the catcher had me dead-to-rights. He scored the run. Were I on the mound, I might have some positive things to say about plating a run, but I wasn’t involved. I don’t really have an opinion.
As for my personal opinion of EJ, I think he’s a very hard-nosed player. I don’t think he was looking for trouble but he saw a chance to make a name for himself and he took it. He did something that very few people have been able to accomplish. He made JT drop the ball. Taking JT out of the lineup for a couple months was the icing on the cake. And I wouldn’t be surprised if EJ smiles every time he thinks about that moment.
As for me, I don’t really care.