Baseball ethics: The Jim Riggleman way

On Saturday, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen played a great game, hitting three home runs and driving in six runs.

After the game, I asked Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman the following question: Were there any thoughts of backing McCutchen off the plate?

Here is the great answer Riggleman gave to me and the rest of the Washington media:

“That’s a touchy area. You don’t like to see a guy up there swinging freely. I’ve always been of the opinion that there are no free shots [at the hitter]. The damage is already done. You decide to hit somebody, it’s not like it goes unnoticed. [Ryan] Zimmerman or [Adam] Dunn is going to take one off the head, back or wrist.

“I’ve been accused of being a little soft on the issue. I’ll tell you, … I don’t think we can afford to have Zimmerman or Dunn get one off the wrist if we hit somebody. …

“I go back to my days with Sammy Sosa. In 1998, he hit 66 home runs. Our team gave up a lot of home runs. I was told to knock somebody down. Sammy doesn’t hit 66 home runs if we are out drilling people.

“The solution is to throw better pitches. You pitch better, you don’t get into the situation. As my mentor George Kissell said, ‘[Hitting a batter] went out with World War II.’ … It doesn’t operate that way anymore.” 

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