John Lackey Is Exactly What's Wrong With Baseball


John Lackey has had a great career renaissance over the past few years. This season with the Chicago Cubs, he has had a really nice start going 4-2 with a 3.54 ERA in seven appearances. But on Wednesday night, the 37-year-old showed why he’s exactly what’s wrong with baseball right now.

Lackey was cruising against the San Diego Padres, having retired the first 14 batters he faced, when catcher Christian Bethancourt stepped to the plate. The veteran righty proceeded to hang a 1-0 pitch that Bethancourt absolutely annihilated to left field. The ball sailed beyond the bleachers and out on to Waveland Avenue.

Bethancourt, probably shocked at what he had just done, watched the ball fly out of the stadium as he started into his trot to first base. Lackey noticed that and, being a notorious red ass, started barking at Bethancourt, clearly saying “You better f***ing run!”

After the game Lackey responded to questions about the incident by sarcastically asking, “How many home runs does he have?” Well John, he definitely has one off you.

Then Lackey proclaimed, “I got a long memory.” That’s a bummer, guess that means giving up that enormous homer, to a guy you seem to be implying sucks, will stick with you for a while.

Seriously dude? A 24-year-old kid just broke up a perfect game being tossed by a former All-Star, and did so by launching a 450-foot monster of a home run out of Wrigley Field. It was just the fifth home run of his career and you’re pissed he happened to watch where it landed? Bethancourt wasn’t trying to show anyone up, he was watching something he may never see again and relishing the moment. He didn’t stare down Lackey or talk to him or even gesture in the veteran’s direction, he just watched. It was completely acceptable given the situation.

Hey John, if you don’t want guys admiring their work against you, pitch better. Don’t hang curveballs to hitters capable of sending them into the stratosphere. Just a suggestion.

Meanwhile, Lackey is apparently unaware that his teammates Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber (before he got injured) and especially Javier Baez, routinely admire their mammoth blasts. It’s just part of the game these days. But wannabe badass dinosaurs like Lackey can’t evolve and take offense to even the smallest perceived slights.

I don’t agree with Bryce Harper on everything, but he’s completely right about needing to “Make Baseball Fun Again.” Guess what, guys should celebrate when they hit home runs. Home runs are awesome! We all love them. I mean, chicks dig the long ball.

Lackey and his ilk are a relic of the past and if baseball is going to survive into the future, their collective attitude needs to change.