Is Jesus Montero eating the ice cream, or is the ice cream eating him?
The former top prospect of the Seattle Mariners and Mariners’ national crosschecker Butch Baccala are in big trouble with the organization after they had a public confrontation Thursday night, according to the Seattle Times. Montrero, who was rehabilitating an oblique muscle injury with the team’s Class A Everett AquaSox in Boise, is now through for the season because of the incident, while Baccala has been sent home and will face an internal investigation from the team. Montrero had been in Class AAA virtually all season but spent six games with the Mariners.
Montero has had weight problems; he reported to camp this year overweight, admitting to reporters that all he’d done all winter was eat. News reports asserted that when Baccala attended Thursday night’s game at Memorial Stadium, he heckled Montero as he returned to the dugout between innings, then bought an ice cream sandwich and had the dessert sent to Montrero to eat in the dugout. When Montrero got the ice cream, he left the dugout and headed toward Baccala carrying a bat, then threw the ice ream at Baccala before he was restrained.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik announced on Friday that Montrero is through for the season and the team wants him to attend a program which would help him with his personal issues. Montrero said the team has ended Montero’s minor-league season and will put him in a program to help with his off-field issues. In addition to his weight, Montrero was suspended 50 games last season when the client list for Biogenesis included his name.
Zduriencik said of the two men:
This incident is of the magnitude that either party should have been more under control. Either party should have been more professional. You just don’t get to this point and say neither is to blame or who is to cast the blame. It doesn’t really matter. There are always two sides to every story. In the end, I would view this as saying both parties are wrong. We are going to separate the baseball part of Jesus Montero from the human element part of Jesus Montero.Our intent is to address Jesus’ issues. There’s a history here of things that have happened. We are very, very disappointed in him.
Baccala, 52, had no comment, though he had initially claimed that the incident was not a big deal, saying, “It’s not what is being portrayed.” When asked if he had tried to anger Montrero, he replied, “Of course I wasn’t. Why would I? I work for the Mariners. I’ve worked my ass off for the Mariners. Why would I do anything to hurt anybody? That wasn’t even close to the intention.” He said the reports revolving around the ice cream story were fabricated, then said he had no comment, daring a reporter to check and see if Memorial Stadium even sold ice cream sandwiches.
Todd Rahr, president and general manager of the Boise Hawks, said ice cream sandwiches are sold at the stadium.
Baccala said he wanted to speak to Zduriencik before he commented any further, allowing, “I don’t want to lose my job. I love my job.” Yet after he spoke to Zduriencik, he clammed up.
Baccala has a spotty history; in 1984, when he first scouted for the Mariners, he was scouting future major-leaguer John Orton in a high-school game and was ejected by the umpire for arguing a call from the stands. Later, he scouted for the Braves and Reds. In 2008, while he was working for the Reds, he started blogging about life on the road, prompting the Reds to force him to stop. They fired Baccala at the end of the season, leaving him open to be hired by Zduriencik and the Mariners for the 2009 season. Zduriencik and amateur scouting director Tom McNamara liked his work so much that they promoted him to national crosschecker last November.
Zduriencik concluded, “We are extremely disappointed in both of their actions. It is unacceptable. This organization doesn’t condone that type of behavior…it’s something that is extremely disappointing and embarrassing for the organization and for those two individuals.”