Baker-Lowe feud may have gotten divine intervention

Published 2:11 am Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One of the readings at Mass on Monday morning referred to the famous phrase, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” With the Cincinnati Reds visiting the Cleveland Indians that night and Father David Huffman an Indians’ fan, I couldn’t help but wonder if he manipulated the readings.

Father Huffman and some other priests went to the Reds’ game last Thursday’s afternoon and he saw Cincinnati administer some penance to the Indians by a 12-5 count. There wasn’t a prayer or a pitcher who could stop the Reds’ offense.

It also happened to be the day after the Dusty Baker-Derek Lowe feud reared its ugly head.

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As the story goes, Lowe hit the Reds’ Joey Votto in the back with a pitch in the first inning during a game in 2009 when Lowe pitched for Atlanta. Since the Indians were at Cincinnati for an inter-league game, which means the pitcher must bat. When Lowe came to the plate, Baker instructed Reds’ pitcher Mat Latos to buzz Lowe with a high and tight fastball. Don’t hit him, just make him uncomfortable and send a message.

Lowe yelled at Baker who wagged his finger in a “no, no, mustn’t do that” manner at Lowe. But later in the game Lowe hit the Reds’ Brandon Phillips. After the game tempers rose, words were said, and people were scratched off this year’s Christmas card lists.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Well, Father Huffman said that the pre-Moses biblical times were a bit drastic with their retaliations. If you slapped someone, they cut off your arm. Oooh. So if Lowe hit Votto, then the Reds really should have taken a baseball bat and broken his legs.

Now that sounds more like a mafia reaction than baseball.

Father Huffman said that at some point you have to stop the anger. Since there was no problem Monday night when Lowe and Latos squared off again in Cleveland, maybe someone managed to play mediator and settle things down.

Being an Indians’ fan and still stinging from the three-game sweep last week, maybe it was Father Huffman who stepped in.

Naw. He’s also a Browns’ fan and as a fellow Browns’ fan we’re used to torture and disappointment.

As a Reds’ fan — hey Indians fans, we’ve actually won a World Series in the past 60 years or so — the whole thing was somewhat amusing. It’s the way I remember baseball when I was growing up.

Charlie Roberts played at Ironton and Rio Grande and may have been the best high school hitter I’ve seen. He once hit a 440-foot home run to dead centerfield off Tim Belcher who was pitching for Mount Nazarene.

Roberts came up a second time and gingerly stepped into the batter’s box. He knew what was coming. Sure enough, Belcher — who went pitched 14 years in the major leagues — zipped a fastball toward Roberts’ head forcing him to become horizontal in a life-saving move.

Roberts got up, dusted himself off, got back in the batter’s box and got ready to hit. That was just the way it was. No charging the mound. It was just a matter of re-establishing territory. The inside of the plate belonged to Roberts, the outside corner to Belcher.

But that was then and this is now, and right now there is some tension between Baker and Lowe. Still, it’s nothing a cold beer or a lightning bolt from above can’t resolve.

So if there are no more bean ball wars over the next two games of this series, maybe we can thank Father Huffman for his intersession.

And if that works, maybe we can get him to talk to Reds’ fans who are becoming Latos intolerant after yet another sub-par performance by the pitcher.

Our Father, who art in heaven…


—— Sinatra ——

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.