CHICAGO -- One day after being suspended for a game, Chicago Cubs manager David Ross sounded off on MLB's punishment for him and his team.
"It's a little confusing, to me, from my seat," he said Friday, clearly annoyed. "I have a hard time understanding it."
Ross was suspended, along with pitcher Ryan Tepera and game-planning coach Mike Borzello, after Tepera threw a pitch at the feet of Milwaukee Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff during Tuesday's win over the Brewers. The pitch came in response to Cubs catcher Willson Contreras getting hit by a pitch from Milwaukee for the third time in the young season.
"This is a ball that got pulled down around a guy's [Woodruff's] calf," Ross said. "We're talking about a middle-of-the-order bat, for us, that got hit in the head, hit in the hand and up around his face. Since I've been here we lead the league in getting hit, and it's not even close, and we've never intentionally retaliated."
The league deemed Tepera's pitch intentional, while even the Cubs admit the ones that hit Contreras were accidental. Their argument is simply that Woodruff did not, in fact, get hit, so three suspensions along with the fines aren't warranted.
Tepera said on Friday he has noticed a cultural shift in the game.
"I believe over time, baseball has changed. To be blunt, today's game of baseball has become a bit soft," Tepera said. "Back in the day, matters were settled on the field. That's one of the unwritten rules that's changed over time. It (the pitch) was a message that we had enough."
The Cubs have been involved in warnings to the benches so far this season as well as harsh words between teams, along with one bench-clearing moment after Contreras was hit at Wrigley Field.
"You have to draw the line at some point," outfielder Jason Heyward said. "More shame on us if we don't do something."
Ross and Borzello will serve their suspensions on Friday afternoon when the Cubs host the Atlanta Braves, while Tepera is appealing his.
"We got warnings in Pittsburgh," Ross said. "We got warnings after we got hit, and our catcher was fined a really big amount of money for being upset for getting hit in the head and hit in the shoulder, and then he got hit in the hand the other day and our pitcher got thrown up and in, and we threw one behind a guy's calf and we got suspensions and fines everywhere."