Cubs’ Maddon fires back at Pirates skipper for criticizing Baez’s bat flip

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 10: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs is greeted in the dugout after hitting his second solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the Opening Day home game at Wrigley Field on April 10, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 8-5. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Cubs manager Joe Maddon fired back at Pittsburgh Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle for criticizing Chicago star Javier Baez’s bat flip on a popup.

Maddon says he was “surprised” and didn’t “really understand” why Hurdle criticized Baez.

“Whenever you want to be hyper-critical of somebody, just understand you’re pretty much revealing yourself and what your beliefs are more than you are evaluating somebody (when) you have not spent one second in that person’s skin,” Maddon said prior to Friday’s game against Atlanta

Baez homered twice for the second straight day in Chicago’s victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday. But he also flipped his bat high into the air on a popup in the seventh.

The 25-year-old Baez acknowledged after the win that it was a mistake and that a teammate had talked to him about the display. According to the Chicago Tribune, Baez said he felt bad about “the way I looked in front of the kids and anyone who follows me.”

On Thursday, Hurdle questioned Baez’s “respect for the game.”

“The guy hits four homers in two days, so that means you can take your bat and throw it 15, 20 feet in the air when you pop up like you should have hit your fifth home run? I would bet that men over there talked to him, because I do believe they have a group over there that speaks truth to power,” Hurdle said.

Baez brushed off Hurdle’s comments.

“To be honest, I got a lot of things I can say right now, but I don’t control what’s out there, what people talk about me,” Baez said. said. “I’m just going to keep playing my game. Last year was a player talking about my game style and now this year, it’s a manager.

“Like I said, I don’t control it. However it gets to me, I learn from it, learn from that bat flip last night. That’s all I got to say. If anybody got stuff to say, they can save it,” he said.