Baseball doesn't need cops

The baseball season is only five weeks old, and fans of the Chicago Cubs are already looking ahead to October baseball.

After all, why not? Despite losing both ends of a doubleheader on Wednesday, the Cubs are a major league-best 25-8. Though they haven’t won it all since 1908, they appear to have the pieces in place to — in the words of the Nationals’ Bryce Harper — make baseball fun again.

But John Lackey didn’t join Chicago for fun. He’s all business. Don’t you dare forget that.

So when he allowed a homer to career .224 hitter Christian Bethancourt, a blast that landed somewhere on Waveland Avenue and turned out to be only run either team would score, Lackey yelled at Bethancourt because he had the utter gall and temerity to watch the ball he hit.

The nerve of him.

"How many home runs does he have?" Lackey asked sarcastically after the game, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

That would be three this season. Five for his career. But Lackey wasn’t finished and uttered this threat.

"I got a long memory," said Lackey, 37, who added that the 24-year-old Bethancourt will “learn.”

Learn what exactly? The unwritten code of faux sportsmanship in baseball? Stop it. Lackey has been a noted jagoff for much of his 14-year career. Anyone remember in 2012 when he and buddies Jon Lester and Josh Beckett would hang out in the Red Sox’s clubhouse with fried chicken, beer and video games instead of being a good teammate and staying on the bench.

Lackey is one a group of players in recent years who have taken it upon themselves to be baseball’s lawmen. Bud Norris, now with Atlanta, took Houston outfielder Carlos Gomez to task for his exuberance last season.

“I think it’s a culture shock,’’ Norris told USAToday in September. “This is America’s game. This is America’s pastime, and over the last 10-15 years we’ve seen a very big world influence in this game, which we as a union and as players appreciate. We’re opening this game to everyone that can play.

“However, if you’re going to come into our country and make our American dollars, you need to respect a game that has been here for over a hundred years, and I think sometimes that can be misconstrued. There are some players that have antics, that have done things over the years that we don’t necessarily agree with.”

I chuckle at the term “our American dollars.” Will Latin players have to build a wall and pay for it, too?

Then there was the infamous bat flip by the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista in Game 5 of the AL division series against Texas last season. That caused long-retired big leaguer Goose Gossage to call that a “disgrace” and fellow Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt said it showed “flagrant disrespect.”

Turn off the siren, officers. Baseball players today come from all Latin America, Asia, all over the globe. That means different cultures. If some players, past and present, have a problem with that, don’t watch. You won’t be missed.

Does anyone really care what Gossage or Schmidt have to say or have they become the old men wanting kids to get off the lawn? Is anyone rushing to buy a ticket to a Braves game to see Norris pitch before he’s cut? Having a 1-5 record and a 7.31 ERA on the worst team in the majors isn’t exactly good for one’s job security.

And as for Lackey, get over being embarrassed, and keep collecting your $16 million this season and next. If Lackey feels he’s been shown up by a kid with 91 career games in the bigs under his belt, don’t give him something to hit.

Don't be this guy. That only works in movies.

Problem solved. 

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