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March 14, 2011

McCutchen thought Wieters could have eased up

Young and talented Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen wasn’t happy with Orioles catcher Matt Wieters after a play at the plate in the fifth inning.

McCutchen attempted to score from second on a single to right, and Nick Markakis unleashed a throw was a bit up the third base line.

Wieters, 6 feet 5, 225 pounds, grabbed the ball and completely blocked the plate. McCutchen, 5-10, 188 pounds, slid into Wieters, causing a brief collision.

Afterward, McCutchen told the Pittsburgh media that he didn’t think Wieters had to make as much contact with him.

“I tried to avoid the tag. I don’t know what he was thinking,” McCutchen said. “It’s spring training. We’re not trying to get hurt. I wasn’t expecting that much contact. I’m OK, though.”

Wieters, as is usually the case with starters during spring training, left the game early and was out of the clubhouse by the time reporters entered. Orioles manager Buck Showalter avoided the specific complaint, but heralded his young catcher.

“I think Matty is one of the best taggers at the plate I have ever had,” Showalter said. “All the years I have been managing, he might be as good as there is tagging at home plate.”

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 4:58 PM | | Comments (20)


Maybe someone need advise McCutchen that they play checkers @the senior center.

Reporters later reminded McCutchen that this incident should not be of his concern, since he plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates and thus has much bigger problems to worry over.

Poor kid got his skirt all dirty.

Good for Matt - Tag out the All-Star! - Like your UA catcher's gear - "You Must Protect This House!"

Stop being a crybaby! You slid into his knees - don't be mad when it doesn't feel good. You can't initiate contact and then complain that the other guy should have taken it easy on you.

False...throw was up the line and MW was watching the ball and moved into cry babies path to field the throw.

here is a thought. if you cant make it home for certain dont try to stretch it in spring training

Good for MW, maybe some runners would think twice about heading into home plate given the physical punishment that is sure to ensue....

McCutchen is stupid then. The runners are almost always the ones to initiate the contact. Like the report says, McCutchen slid into Wieters. It's all up to the runner to slow down and avoid a monster collision. This report is really a non-issue.

I was at the game today and when McCuthen took off from 2nd, you could see he was intent on getting to home. Apperently he did not read the scouting report about the cannon the Orioles have in right field. Nicky came up throwing liek we all know his is capable of doing.. The play was clean. Weiters was in fact simply fielding the throw and McCutchen made NO attempt to go around him. Matt did his job. If McCutchen is not interested in contact, he shoulda stopped at 3rd.

Maybe slow pitch softball is more McCutchen's style. The Pirates are doomed once again with this sort of attitude from one of their top players. I saw the replay and Matt didn't go out of his way to hurt McCutchen. He simply didn't move and absorbed the impact. Of course he's not supposed to move and McCutchen should have tried to go around and reach out for the plate. Not only a clean play, but what we've come to expect from Matt. Markakis also performed true to form and gunned down yet another victim.

Buck Showalter said when he first came here last year, "Respect the game".

That is exactly what Markakis and Weiters both did on that play, they'd played the game like it's supposed to be played. Such conduct bodes well for the O's.

McCutchen on the other hand doesn't feel like he needs to respect the game during Spring Training. That attitude does not bode well for the Pirates.

As Michael K said, its the runner who decides if there is going to be a collison or not. This guy has reached the major leagues and hasn't figured that out yet.

This is all Andy MacPhail's fault. Like I keep saying, he ruins everything. And he should have signed McCutchen this winter and didn't do it. Typical Andy.

How has Wieters looked at the plate? Has he made any adjustments to cut down the length of his swing?

Jeff Z's reply: This is Jeff, not Dan. I don't look too much at spring training results, but I haven't seen many differences in Wieters' swing. He has struggled at the plate during the games. Again, I'm not going to get too worked up about it, but he hasn't hit too many balls hard. He looks stronger and he's acting like he's more confident, but that hasn't translated into the batter's box yet.

@Andrew - Easy solution. Go around him (or try) if you don't like the contact; Matty not standing there waiting to play patty-cake with you. Dude, aren't you playing in the same city as the big, bad Steelers? The act like it.

Will Wieters get his first Gold Glove this year? Wouldn't surprise me in the least. I listened to the Pirates' broadcast of the game on internet yesterday (I live in Cincy), and the announcers were raving about the absolutely perfect throw Matt made to gun down a would-be base stealer at second. I like his chances.

there is a great quote that I can't remember exactly from the movie "Rudy" that fits here....something along the lines..."if you had as much heart as"....something about maybe making all american or something llike that......this was during the practice sessions for games.....

yes it is practice, but if he doesn't practice that play during spring trg when can he practice?

I'd like to see the video, but if I'm a runner trying to avoid contact I'm going to run out of the baseline or stop. Like he said, it's spring training so who cares if you actually score?

Have watched the replay a half dozen times. McCuthen didn't try to avoid the tag and slid into Matt's knees.
McCuthen is lucky he wasn't picking horsehide out of his teeth. A lot of old-time catchers would have come down on him a lot harder than Matt did. A catcher not only has to protect the plate, but also his knees -- they're a big part of his livelihood.

I'm sure Matt made the play the way he would have made it during the regular season. You can't play spring training games one way and the "real" games another...that's only going to get you into bad habits, i.e. not properly blocking the plate when the runs really count. Sounds like he did what he was supposed to do. Shame about the Pirates franchise. I actually want them to do well as I REALLY want to have the O's face them someday in the World Series again--the "third's the charm"--so we can kick the butts and play that "We Are Fam-i-lee" song before 50,000 rollicking, laughing O's fans...

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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