PITTSBURGH – A day after the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals had their on-field dust up, manager Dale Sveum wasn’t exactly embracing the root of the issue.
The teams emptied the dugouts twice Thursday in Washington, D.C., the first coming when bench coach Jamie Quirk shouted at Nationals’ third-base coach Bo Porter. Quirk’s issues were apparently about the National’s aggressive style of play in the fifth inning while the Cubs trailed by five runs.
Not only did the Nationals steal two bases in the inning, but Jayson Werth also swung at a 3-0 pitch from Cubs rookie pitcher Lendy Castillo. That was when Quirk gave Porter a piece of his mind and was eventually ejected for it.
Sveum, though, didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with Quirk.
“I didn’t have any problem with it,” Sveum said of the Nationals’ play. “It was the fifth inning. It was as if they were up 5-0 in the fifth inning. I don’t expect my team to stop playing in the fifth inning. There is a time when you stop. I mean a five-run lead, to me, I didn’t have any problem with anything they did.”
So was Quirk out of line?
“You have to talk to Jamie about that,” Quirk said. “But me personally I don’t want my guys to stop playing at that time.”
Quirk wasn’t talking for the second consecutive day. He said he might eventually talk about it but he wants to save his first words on the subject for the league office if somebody calls.
Sveum was asked if he expects bad blood to continue with the Nationals next season.
"There is no bad blood going forward even though there might be or something," Sveum said. "It was a strange occurrence how it all happened. ... There were certain things that happened but as far as bad blood … if it’s a constant thing, that’s when you talk about bad blood all the time. It was one quick incident, everything settled down and it was fine after that."
Cubs players were in unison on the field when the confrontation with the Nationals started, but like Sveum, not all saw an issue with what Washington was doing during the game.
“That’s a professional team,” Jeff Samardzija said. “They played great against us and they didn’t show us up. They didn’t do anything out of the norm and they came to play and they did their work and we need to learn from that and how you expect to gout playing every day and what you expect to happen in the end.”
Veteran David DeJesus, though, liked the moxie the Cubs showed in fighting back and not losing pride despite getting pummeled all week on the scoreboard.
“It would just be like letting down,” DeJesus said. “It would be like, ‘Here you go you guys, you just won this game so why don’t you stomp all over us.’ I think that’s part of being a team. We’ve been with each other since February so letting things like that slide, we don’t believe in that. When we come together like this, hopefully this can grow into something and understand we have each other’s backs.”
Sveum did believe that by collectively puffing out their chests, no matter the cause of the dispute, tends to have unifying effects.
“Yeah I’ve seen it happen before,” Sveum said. “It usually works for the better. You don’t want thinks like that to happen but it’s part of the game and it sometimes happens. Usually in 162 games something like that will happen. It’s just the way competition is. A lot of times in my career usually it has been a rallying cry for the team and the team starts to play better.”
As for any criticism the Cubs were getting for instigating Thursday’s problems, Sveum wasn’t going to concern himself about it.
“Whatever happens in something like that, whoever gets criticized it doesn’t matter,” Sveum said. “The fact of the matter is that it just happened so somebody is going to get criticized no matter what. That’s just how life is and that’s the way the media is. Whatever happens, it’s part of the game. That’s how it is and you move on. Today is a whole other day.”