Andrew Baggarly’s Gossip Column

WikipediaAndrew Baggarly, a San Francisco Giants beat writer who used to write for the San Jose Mercury News and is now reporting for CSN Bay Area, stirred the pot last night after the Toronto Blue Jays pounded Barry Zito and the Giants by the final score of 10-6.

Here’s Baggarly’s take after the game:

The ugliness continued after the game, when Zito left the impression – or tire marks, you choose –

that catcher Buster Posey wasn’t calling the right pitches.

‘They hit a fair amount of pitches tonight…It’s probably a (matter) of throwing a better pitch, a better selection maybe….When they hit the pitches you want to make, and it’s a good pitch, you look back and think, ‘Maybe it’s got to be better sequences.’ You’ve got to sequence them differently.’

This isn’t the first time Zito has questioned pitch sequences after a rough start. He did it in Houston last year, too.

So clip and save these quotes just in case Guillermo Quiroz is starting when Zito takes the mound Sunday at Coors Field.

Perhaps Baggarly was right in has assessment that Zito was throwing Posey under the bus for his struggles last night. However, Baggarly has access to Zito. He could have asked a follow-up question to confirm that Zito was in fact blaming Posey for the poor pitch selection and game-plan against the Blue Jays. What good is having access to the players if you aren’t going to use it?

Instead of asking the follow-up question, Baggarly fired off his column stating that Zito had thrown Posey under the bus. The other possibility is that Zito was blaming himself for the poor pitch selection, given that he has the right to shake off Posey and throw what he feels is the right pitch in each situation.

When Baggarly accused Zito of throwing Posey under the buss last year in Houston, here’s what Zito said:

‘Posey, he has a great idea for hitters, but you can’t always guess 100 percent of the time…I’m upset that I threw a couple changeups there. That’s my job to shake. It’s nothing Posey is doing wrong.’

Based on that quote, Zito clearly understands that he has the final say on what he throws and that he can shake Posey off when he feels that Posey is guessing based on his impression of what the hitter is looking for. Zito shouldn’t have said that Posey was a guesser to the media, but the rest of the quote makes clear who is ultimately responsible for pitch selection.

Last night, Zito should have made clear once more that the pitch selection ultimately is his responsibility in order to avoid another controversy. However, Baggarly or another member of the media should have attempted to make that clear with a follow-up question on the subject before firing off a gossip column.

Additionally, Zito’s problems seem to have more to do with stuff than his pitch selection. When you throw 82-85 miles-per-hour as Zito does, you just don’t have any margin for error. When Pablo Sandoval made a two-base error to open last night’s game and when Andres Torres muffed a fly ball in San Diego a few weeks ago, the wheels came off in both of those innings for Zito. A pitcher with his stuff has no margin for error, so when his defense forces him to get four outs instead of three, he just can’t do it—regardless of what signs Posey puts down.

In the end, incidents like these are why coaches like Bill Belichick and Greg Popovich are justified in being surly and short with the media. If you give them honest answers like Zito did, they’re going to try to create controversy. If it bleeds, it leads. A feud between Zito and Posey is blood in the water, and that attracts the eyeballs.

Giants announcer Mike Krukow reportedly had strong words for Baggarly on the Giants radio affiliate, KNBR, this morning. I didn’t hear what Krukow said, but he’s an employee of the team. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the organization has the same scorn for Baggarly’s reporting on the alleged spat between Zito and Posey.

In a chat this morning, Baggarly wasn’t backing down form his column. In response to someone who asked, “Zito’s comments about questionable pitch sequence – is there an implication Buster didn’t have his best day behind the plate?,” Baggarly replied,

Yes that was the impression, certainly. It wasn’t the first time Zito has volunteered comments on problems with pitch selection or sequence in a Posey start. In the past, he’s also said that it falls upon him to shake to the pitch he wants to throw. He has never blamed Posey for a bad outing, but he definitely did the worm-can opening on this one.

It seems to me that it’s Baggarly who is most responsible for opening this can of worms. Perhaps manager Bruce Bochy will have to give his troops a Belichickean lesson on how to keep the credentialed media at bay.

Andrew Baggarly, a San Francisco Giants beat writer who used to write for the San Jose Mercury News and is now reporting for CSN Bay Area, stirred the pot last night after the Toronto Blue Jays pounded Barry Zito and the Giants by the final score of 10-6.

Here’s Baggarly’s take after the game:

The ugliness continued after the game, when Zito left the impression – or tire marks, you choose – that catcher Buster Posey wasn’t calling the right pitches.

‘They hit a fair amount of pitches tonight…It’s probably a (matter) of throwing a better pitch, a better selection maybe….When they hit the pitches you want to make, and it’s a good pitch, you look back and think, ‘Maybe it’s got to be better sequences.’ You’ve got to sequence them differently.’

This isn’t the first time Zito has questioned pitch sequences after a rough start. He did it in Houston last year, too.

So clip and save these quotes just in case Guillermo Quiroz is starting when Zito takes the mound Sunday at Coors Field.

Perhaps Baggarly was right in has assessment that Zito was throwing Posey under the bus for his struggles last night. However, Baggarly has access to Zito. He could have asked a follow-up question to confirm that Zito was in fact blaming Posey for the poor pitch selection and game-plan against the Blue Jays. What good is having access to the players if you aren’t going to use it?

Instead of asking the follow-up question, Baggarly fired off his column stating that Zito had thrown Posey under the bus. The other possibility is that Zito was blaming himself for the poor pitch selection, given that he has the right to shake off Posey and throw what he feels is the right pitch in each situation.

When Baggarly accused Zito of throwing Posey under the buss last year in Houston, here’s what Zito said:

‘Posey, he has a great idea for hitters, but you can’t always guess 100 percent of the time…I’m upset that I threw a couple changeups there. That’s my job to shake. It’s nothing Posey is doing wrong.’

Based on that quote, Zito clearly understands that he has the final say on what he throws and that he can shake Posey off when he feels that Posey is guessing based on his impression of what the hitter is looking for. Zito shouldn’t have said that Posey was a guesser to the media, but the rest of the quote makes clear who is ultimately responsible for pitch selection.

Last night, Zito should have made clear once more that the pitch selection ultimately is his responsibility in order to avoid another controversy. However, Baggarly or another member of the media should have attempted to make that clear with a follow-up question on the subject before firing off a gossip column.

Additionally, Zito’s problems seem to have more to do with stuff than his pitch selection. When you throw 82-85 miles-per-hour as Zito does, you just don’t have any margin for error. When Pablo Sandoval made a two-base error to open last night’s game and when Andres Torres muffed a fly ball in San Diego a few weeks ago, the wheels came off in both of those innings for Zito. A pitcher with his stuff has no margin for error, so when his defense forces him to get four outs instead of three, he just can’t do it—regardless of what signs Posey puts down.

In the end, incidents like these are why coaches like Bill Belichick and Greg Popovich are justified in being surly and short with the media. If you give them honest answers like Zito did, they’re going to try to create controversy. If it bleeds, it leads. A feud between Zito and Posey is blood in the water, and that attracts the eyeballs.

Giants announcer Mike Krukow reportedly had strong words for Baggarly on the Giants radio affiliate, KNBR, this morning. I didn’t hear what Krukow said, but he’s an employee of the team. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the organization has the same scorn for Baggarly’s reporting on the alleged spat between Zito and Posey.

In a chat this morning, Baggarly wasn’t backing down form his column. In response to someone who asked, “Zito’s comments about questionable pitch sequence – is there an implication Buster didn’t have his best day behind the plate?,” Baggarly replied

Yes that was the impression, certainly. It wasn’t the first time Zito has volunteered comments on problems with pitch selection or sequence in a Posey start. In the past, he’s also said that it falls upon him to shake to the pitch he wants to throw. He has never blamed Posey for a bad outing, but he definitely did the worm-can opening on this one.

It seems to me that it’s Baggarly who is most responsible for opening this can of worms. Perhaps manager Bruce Bochy will have to give his troops a Belichickean lesson on how to keep the credentialed media at bay.

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