Cincinnati Reds infielder Derek Dietrich likes to admire his handiwork. Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster John Wehner made it clear he does not at all appreciate it.
Wehner went on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan Morning Show ahead of Tuesday’s game at the Great American Ballpark and took the 29-year-old to task saying his grandfather, a former Pirates minor league coach, would be embarrassed of his grandson and be “rolling in his grave every time this guy hits a home run.”
Wehner: ‘I can’t stand’ Dietrich
As a quick recap, Dietrich does things like this: send shots toward the Allegheny River, watch it fall by the Roberto Clemente Bridge and only then begin his jog.
Dietrich, who spent the past six years with the Miami Marlins, has 11 hits and seven of them are home runs in nine games played against the Pirates. He hit three home runs against the Pirates on Tuesday.
Derek Dietrich sends a souvenir into the river. 😳 pic.twitter.com/BcZ4EJfreJ
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 7, 2019
Wehner’s comments came after Dietrich admired a home run to the top row of the right field seats during the second game of a Monday doubleheader.
“I can’t stand him. I just don’t see why – I don’t understand why you have to do that. It’s different if you’re a Hall of Fame player, you’re a 60-homer guy, you’re an established guy. Nobody ever heard of him before this year.
“I heard of him because of his grandfather [Steve Demeter] who used to be a minor league coach for the Pirates. He was the nicest, sweetest guy in the world. He’s rolling in his grave every time this guy hits a home run. He’s embarrassed of his grandson.
“... It’s just being arrogant. I don’t get it. I don’t get why you do that. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Demeter, a Pennsylvania native, played third base for 19 years in the minor leagues, 14 of which were at the Triple-A level, and was inducted to the International League Hall of Fame in 2009. After retiring from playing, he spent 30 years in the Pirates organization, mostly managing several of the farm teams. He died in 2013 at the age of 77.
Broadcasters ‘We have to adapt to change’
Fox Sports Ohio broadcaster Thom Brennaman, the longtime play-by-play man for the Reds noted during Wednesday’s broadcast that Wehner was a “nice guy, good guy” he enjoys talking to but felt he “really got personal” in his comments about Dietrich.
His broadcast partner, Jeff Brantley, noted that the game evolves and the older fans or members of the game need to adapt with it.
“As you get older and you look back, you want the youngsters to play the way that you did. Every young kid whether they’re 12 or 25 or 30, they want to make their own mark. Our game has changed. It really has. We’re the older ones. We’re the ones that have to adapt to the change that’s on the field. It’s not just Derek Dietrich. It’s pitchers, it’s position players, it’s other batters on other ballclubs. The issue at hand is do the fans love watching what they see on the field? I think Reds fans love to watch what they’re seeing with Derek Dietrich and really fans in baseball, in general, they like to see the swagger and they like to see the action.”
Dietrich told reporters Monday, per the Enquirer, he was going to keep “playing the way I play” and thinks everyone should play the way the Reds do.
“I’m just coming to play ball and hit the ball hard,” he said. “We’re having fun and trying to win. This is baseball.”
Dietrich’s 17 home runs are already a career-high, eclipsing 16 last season with Miami in four times as many plate appearances.
The Reds digital team has given its stance on the matter:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 28, 2019
Reds-Pirates feud concerns manager
Dietrich’s second-inning home run against the Pirates (27-27) on April 7 — the above souvenir he watched take a splash — sparked an on-going feud between the NL Central teams. Chris Archer threw behind Dietrich in his next at-bat and the benches cleared. Five players were ejected and Dietrich later added a second home run for the Reds (26-30).
Reds manager David Bell spoke of his concern after Wednesday’s game, a 7-2 loss to Pittsburgh in which Pirates reliever Clay Holmes pegged the Reds’ Eugenio Suárez on the hand. Bell told the media someone was “going to get hurt.”
“We need to take as many measures as possible,” Bell said.
The Pirates visit Cincinnati again in July.
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