Fri May 28 09:30am EDT
The Dodger infielder got no satisfaction from first-base ump John Hirschbeck, who wouldn't move for a better look, wouldn't encourage other umps to make a call and wouldn't warn the pitcher.
Still frustrated after the game (a 1-0 Cubs victory), Blake called Lilly a cheat.
Via the L.A. Times:
"I know he doesn't have an overpowering fastball," Blake said. "I know he's trying to get as much of an edge as he can. But he moved in.
"That's cheating. You've got to stay on the rubber."
Video isn't 100 percent persuasive, though it doesn't need to be in this case. Unlike Smoky in the above scene from "The Big Lebowski," Lilly admitted he was off the rubber — just innocently so.
"I might have done it a couple times, just trying to gain my footing," Lilly said.
Further, Lilly says, pitchers aren't the only ones who sometimes step outside of the lines.
"Sometimes a batter will get in the box and he'll step out, and behind the box, and on the lines," Lilly said. "I don't think he's trying to cheat. It might not be intentional."
Oh, I see where he's going. Not only is Lilly saying Blake can't call him a cheater because he lacked intent, but he's also implying Blake should stay out of pitcher's business. Along the lines of, "I don't bitch when you batters gain an extra couple of inches by obliterating the batter's box, so shaddup about me being away from the rubber."
Former pitcher C.J. Nitkowski watched all of this unfold and Tweeted his opinions, which were collated nicely by Rob Neyer at ESPN.com. Oh, this behind-the-curtain stuff is great!
Further, Lilly is subtly counter-suing Blake for — wait for it — breaking another of baseball's unwritten rules: Calling another player a cheater without having incontrovertible proof.
Breaking a rule is one thing. But to be a "cheater," you must be trying to cheat. Lilly says he wasn't trying to cheat.
I don't know that I believe Lilly, but Blake could have handled this better than calling him out. And adding the part about Lilly not having an "overpowering fastball" was unnecessary trash talk.
Saying it's unfair is fine. Saying the umpires should have done something is also fine.
But calling another player a cheater? Not too cool, Casey. I'm disappointed he shaved his beard and I'm disappointed in his choice of words.
Lilly might have stepped over the line — literally — by pitching in front of the rubber. But he's not the only one out of bounds here. And Blake will be entering a world of pain the next time he faces Lilly and gets plunked on the hip for speaking out of turn.
That's the Chicago way (entirely different film reference)!