The Braves’ TV crew of Chip Caray and Joe Simpson will leave you no doubt as to who they want to succeed. They’re homers, for the most part. Simpson isn’t shy about taking digs at opponents and opponents’ cities (he’s looking at you, New York).
Still, his old-man, “Back in my day” tsk-tsking about the Dodgers not being in full uniform for batting practice Saturday in Atlanta was bad even for him.
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Simpson, 66, made a point of saying he “grew up in the Dodger organization” (he was a fringe outfielder in LA from 1975-78 after being drafted in 1973) and that the NL West leaders were “unprofessional” for wearing shorts, T-shirts and other gear that offended his sensibilities. He also said Dodgers fans should be “embarrassed” by how their team looked.
He mentioned, by name, Chase Utley, of all people. Utley is one of the most respected players in baseball, whether or not you like his hard-nosed style. Simpson said a few words of admiration about Utley, and then went on to bash him for his attire.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who played in 231 more games for the franchise than did Simpson, was right to be angry when he was asked postgame about Simpson’s dig:
Dave Roberts was legit pissed when informed about BattingPracticeTshirtGate.
“I take it personally when someone questions our professionalism,” Roberts said.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) July 29, 2018
“…because I’ll put our professionalism — the way we play the game, the way we prepare every day — up against anybody. I have to hear the audio but that kind of sets me off a little bit.”#Dodgers
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) July 29, 2018
He won’t like what he hears.
Sunday’s pregame should be really interesting.
A few other points:
1. If fans can’t recognize their teams’ players if they’re not in full uniform on the field, and especially Utley, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig and Cody Bellinger in the Dodgers’ case, then they aren’t paying attention the rest of the time or are less than casual fans.
2. Dodgers fans of all interest levels will take their ragtag-looking bunch leading a tough NL West after a lousy start to its season. LA stayed hot with a 5-1 win at SunTrust Park (gametime temperature was 82 degrees at 7:10 p.m. ET).
3. They’ll also take the Dodgers winning five consecutive division titles (and perhaps a sixth), plus a National League championship last season. The Braves are falling like a rock in the NL East.
Another point: Simpson ignored, or didn’t recognize, what Utley was wearing.
— A K For Cancer T-shirt.
— Which is produced to help further cancer research.
— And was dreamed up by former Braves pitcher Jason Motte.
#KCancer ? RT @TheRealJHair: Was always taught to worry about your own business and never worry about what another team is doing. Didn’t appreciate them pointing out Chase Utley, who was wearing a backwards K For Cancer T-Shirt. #LA #Dodgers
— Jason Motte (@JMotte30) July 29, 2018
Not a good look, Joe.