On a day where the Oakland Athletics bested the Texas Rangers’ newest prize in order to stretch their lead in the AL West back to 3.5 games, the result of the game has become an afterthought because of the actions of said prize. Matt Garza isn’t exactly known for being a level-headed, mild-mannered kind of guy. The word “fiery” comes to mind when I think of Garza on the mound. He’s the type of player who will brush back a hitter, bark at the umpire, and suffer a complete meltdown when his frustration boils over. Think Gio Gonzalez turned up to 11.
Matt Garza joined a rather exclusive fraternity this afternoon though. His dust up with Eric Sogard and the Athletics today has elevated him to the level of Alex Rodriguez (recall his “get off my mound” incident with Dallas Braden), and C.J. Wilson (“lawyerball”) as ultra-hated opposing players. The incident today took place in the bottom of the seventh as the A’s were leading 3-2 and looking to add an insurance run. Now, a team looking to give themselves a little cushion should not be considered out of line, and I don’t think that was the case. But the manner in which they went about getting that run needless to say got Garza all fired up.
Coco Crisp and Eric Sogard each laid down bunts to start the game, leading to three runs crossing the plate in the first inning. Garza is not about to be compared to Greg Maddux or Kenny Rogers anytime soon when it comes to his fielding prowess. Opposing teams, especially division rivals like the Athletics know this fact; so they can, will, and should exploit that. Eric Sogard laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt that pushed across their fourth run of the game, giving them that all important insurance run in the bottom of the seventh.
Garza fielded the ball to his right, and underhanded the ball to the first baseman as he jogged in that direction to retire Sogard. Garza had a few choice words for Sogard, and was visibly upset about the bunt play that was executed. It’s hard to say exactly why this play set Garza off, but it undoubtedly did and it showed. But Garza’s frustration lasted far beyond the final out of this afternoon’s game.
He took to Twitter, directing his tirade towards Eric Sogard himself as well as his wife Kaycee. Garza’s Twitter account is protected, and I can only imagine his agent advised him to do that because he simply doesn’t know when to bite his tongue. Kaycee had come to her husband’s defense, and Garza responded by telling her to tell Eric to speak up for himself so she didn’t have to defend him. He continued to diminish Sogard, and quite simply act like a childish buffoon. There are numerous screen caps of his Twitter rant, a simple search will get you all of the details of what he said.
Sogard took the high road, simply taking a subtle jab by celebrating the fact that his bunting practice was finally paying off. Now, I know I haven’t been the biggest Eric Sogard supporter this year, and I stand by my proclamations about him from earlier in the year. That said, he’s turned things around and has become a much more useful player in the Athletics lineup. Something like this changes everything though. Whenever anyone acts like Garza did towards someone on the Athletics, I will throw my full support behind the Athletics player.
Matt Garza has shown himself to be a classless, immature, sexist person who I would never want to be on my team. The Athletics got involved in the sweepstakes for his services a few weeks back, but in all likelihood it was all in an effort to drive up the price for the Rangers. And it worked.
Garza will be a free agent at the end of this season, and figures to get a healthy contract. I would be very apprehensive about adding a person like Garza to my organization on a long term contract. Someone will sign away a lot of dollars for his services, and they will end up regretting that decision. Garza showed his true colors today, and he should seek a team that has a big bright yellow stripe down the middle of their backs.