Derek Dietrich has done a lot of damage against the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, hitting seven home runs in nine games against them. He drilled three homers to right field during the Reds’ 11-6 victory on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.
The celebrations after the home runs, including standing in the batter’s box for a few seconds to watch homers, upset Pirates broadcaster John Wehner. Appearing on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan Morning Show before Tuesday’s game, Wehner ripped Dietrich for admiring his home run during Game 2 of Monday’s doubleheader and taking a slow trot around the bases.
“I can’t stand him,” Wehner said on the radio show. “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.”
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Cincinnati Reds left fielder Derek Dietrich (22) celebrates after hitting a home run in the seventh inning of the MLB National League game between Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Monday, May 27, 2019. (Photo: Albert Cesare / The Enquirer)
Did Wehner think Dietrich was showing up pitchers when he watched home runs?
“It’s just being arrogant,” Wehner said on the radio show. “I don’t get it. I don’t get why you do that. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Dietrich hit two home runs that bounced into the Allegheny River when the Reds played in Pittsburgh on April 7. In the at-bat following his first home run, Pirates starter Chris Archer threw a pitch behind Dietrich’s butt. The pitch sparked a benches-clearing incident and led to five ejections. Archer received a five-game suspension.
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On Monday, Dietrich crushed a solo home run that bounced to the top row in the right-field seats. He immediately dropped his bat and watched his home run from the batter’s box for a few seconds.
"I’m going to keep playing the way I play," Dietrich said Monday night. "I think everyone should play the way they play. I’ve got no problems with it. … I’m just coming to play ball and hit the ball hard. We’re having fun and trying to win. This is baseball.”
Fox Sports Ohio broadcasters Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley discussed Wehner’s comments from the radio show during Wednesday’s broadcast.
“John Wehner, former Pirate player, nice guy, good guy. Always enjoy talking to him, really good guy, but really got personal saying Dietrich’s grandfather would be ashamed of the way his grandson stands there and watches home runs,” Brennaman said. “And that he’s rolling over or turning over in his grave. Those were the quotes from a local radio show (Tuesday).”
Brantley added: “Well, the game evolves in different ways. I can remember a good friend of mine, Buck Showalter, made the comment about Ken Griffey Jr. when he had his hat backward. 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.”
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