(CBS) The second game of the Crosstown Classic on Tuesday at Wrigley Field featured five hit batsmen, the first four by Cubs right-hander John Lackey before White Sox reliever Chris Beck retaliated by plunking Ian Happ below the waist.
While not advocating beanballs, the manner in which matters were handled also made two veteran coaches smile. Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper each thought it was good old-fashioned baseball.
“Our guys are going to pitch inside,” Bosio said on 670 The Score on Wednesday morning while being joined in studio by Cooper and hosts Brian Hanley and Barry Rozner. “Yesterday, we got an an old veteran out there who tried to run some two-seamers in on the body. A couple got away. One of them, was it up and in? I don’t know. Questionable, whatever. But you know what? The thing I admired the most honestly was the game policed itself and nothing got out of hand. That’s the way it used to be. It was fine. We were all fine with it. We got a young kid (in Happ) — we told him before he went out there (to lead off the fifth inning), ‘Look, you’re probably going to wear one. Just go to first.’ That’s the way the game used to be played.”
Amid the chaos, the White Sox were displeased but didn’t lose their cool in an eventual 7-2 loss. Cooper didn’t take any offense to the drama either, and he emphasized that in today’s game, with home runs skyrocketing, pitchers must establish the inner half of the plate.
“The game policed itself,” Cooper said. “I knew media people were going to make something more out of it than it was. You always do. It’s a beanball war, you know?
“Listen, if you don’t pitch in, you’re not going to win. My saying is, ‘In, miss in.’ Because if you don’t get it in and you leave it over the plate, you’re going to pay the price. The pitcher shouldn’t pay the price. The hitter’s got to pay the price. Get it in there, miss in there. If you’re going to be down, you’re hitting the glove or missing below.
“If you miss in when coming in on the hands, if you miss low, you’re eliminating the stuff that goes up on Sportscenter every night.”
Bosio echoed those comments.
“We talk about it in the meeting, not being afraid to go in there,” Bosio said. “Especially in the year of the flying opposite-field home run, you’re either going to take your beating or you might be out there for a decision.”
You can watch and listen to the interview with Bosio and Cooper below, as they discuss many other topics, including what it’s like to work with left-hander Jose Quintana, who was traded to the Cubs recently after spending six seasons with the White Sox.