Rob Parker introduces Gen X fans to Hall of Fame pitcher Lee Arthur Smith, one of the most intimidating and productive closers of all-time. Smith played 18 seasons for eight squads and had a whopping 478 career saves. The Black Ace of relief pitchers took the ball whenever, wherever and for as many innings as needed.
Amir Garrett won’t be intimidating any batter from the mound in the here and now.
Amir, the Cincinnati Reds’ intimidating closer, will begin to serve a five-game suspension Tuesday for his role in a bench-clearing incident in a recent game against the Chicago Cubs.
He finally found his groove after struggling to begin the season and will look to continue his strong pitching once he returns.
Batters see a monster when they look up at a 6-foot-6 left-handed reliever toeing the rubber in the late innings. He throws flames and will let you know how he feels after getting you out every time. A few times in his career, teams have taken exception to this, but Garrett has never been the type to back down.
This was the case during a game a few weeks ago against the Cubs. It was a 3-2 game in the top of the eighth when he struck out Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Garrett then began pounding his chest and yelling at Rizzo as well as the Cubs’ dugout: I am not the best at reading lips and won’t try this time, but whatever he said the Cubs took extreme exception to it. Their entire team came out of the dugout and both benches emptied.
No punches were thrown, and although Cubs second baseman Javier Baez was the first one out of the dugout and could be seen on camera flipping the bird in Garrett’s direction, Garrett was the only player from each team to be suspended. Baez was only given a fine.
His original suspension was scheduled for seven games but after appealing it Major League Baseball decided to reduce it to just five games.
Five games, without even a punch being thrown, does seem a little excessive but this is not Garrett’s first rodeo when it comes to being involved in a benches-clearing incident.
We have to flashback to July 2019 in a game between Garrett’s Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. There was obvious animosity in the air between both teams as a reliever was ejected just an inning earlier for hitting a batter. Garrett was on the mound talking with his catcher and pitching coach during the ninth inning of a blowout game. Garrett, who heard chirping from the Pirates dugout, finally had heard enough. He began going towards their dugout and once he crossed the third base line all hell broke loose.
Garrett was a lone soldier against the entire Pittsburg roster but that didn’t faze him. He neared their dugout and connected a left hook to a Pirate player as both teams would then begin to scuffle.
Garrett was remorseful after the situation. “When I see kids, I don’t want to set that kind of example,” Garrett told MLB.com. “That’s not the kind of person I am. I don’t condone violence. I don’t like for stuff like that to happen and for kids to be amazed by stuff like that and think it’s cool- because it’s not.” He would serve an eight-game suspension.
The no-nonsense mindset of Garrett is sort of a throwback to the attitude of Hall of Famer Lee Smith, who is third all-time with 478 saves during his 18-year career. Similar to Garrett, Smith stood 6-foot-6, weighed 265 pounds and was one of the most respected and feared pitchers in the game during his time.
“Always being positive, he had a lot of confidence in himself and was just a big guy that was overpowering and ahead of the game,” said Patrick Mahomes, Sr., when speaking on Smith getting into the Hall of Fame.
Garrett got off to a slow start this season but has seemed to find his stride in his last few appearances. In his last four games, he has thrown four innings allowing two hits, no runs, two walks and struck out six batters.
He’ll have some time to relax and unwind during this mini-break he is getting. But we need Garrett back on the mound as soon as possible. He brings a flair and charisma to the mound that we are not used to seeing in baseball and the sport needs more of it.