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Mark Madden

MORTON = REAL MAN

 
MORTON = REAL MAN

Finally, a real man.
 
Females should henceforth swoon at the sight of Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton. Morton took a big step toward shrugging off months of Cincinnati oppression by plunking Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds’ first hitter. First pitch, too.
 
Morton took a chance. The Pirates had rallied in the first inning, scoring three runs – which made Morton the leadoff hitter in the Bucs’ next at-bat.
 
Morton erased Choo via dishing up a double play to the next batter. When Morton stepped to the plate, retaliation was not forthcoming. RESPECT.
 
Best of all, Morton won the game: 5.1 innings, 3 hits, no walks, two strikeouts. Pirates 4, Reds 0.
 
Morton didn’t go headhunting, or ooze malice throughout his outing. Morton just stuck up for his teammates and showed the Pirates wouldn’t be bullied.
 
Morton earned a lot of cred. Standing up for your team and your teammates is a big part of winning. Twenty straight losing seasons have doubtless scrambled priorities. But Morton showed the way.
 
The Pirates didn’t get even with the Reds. Far from it. Aroldis Chapman has a receipt coming. Someday, somehow.
 
But the Pirates stood and delivered. They’re just a half-game back of the Reds, three games behind St. Louis.
 
When you punch a bully in the mouth, he usually whines. Cincinnati pitcher Matt Latos is no exception.
 
“I just think it’s time for someone to step up and stop the team that’s drilled the most guys in the league,” Latos said. “They’ve hit a lot of guys, whether it was intentional or by accident. Something’s got to be done about it.

“You’ve got a team that’s drilling people over and over again. Something’s got to be done. The league needs to step in and say something and end it.”
 
Pirates pitchers do lead the league in hitting batters, having plunked 39. But it’s random. There’s no pattern. Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker, meanwhile, has systematically targeted Pirates star Andrew McCutchen.
 
The Pirates merely responded. That’s baseball. Baker knows that as well as anybody. He should tell Latos to shut up.


Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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