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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

For Dusty and Lowe, time to cool off

Justice: For Dusty and Lowe, time to cool off

For Dusty and Lowe, time to cool off
Just stop talking. All of you. Let it go. That means you, Dusty Baker. You, too, Derek Lowe.

This is beyond silly. It reflects poorly on every last one of you, and on the game you represent. Listen, I know all that stuff about baseball's unwritten rules and how every score must be settled.

But this has gone too far.

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So Lowe, currently pitching for the Indians, made a remark in 2008, then Lowe hit Joey Votto with a pitch two years ago. And then Baker ordered Mat Latos to throw inside to Lowe on Wednesday night. And Lowe retaliated by hitting Brandon Phillips.

If Cole Hamels was suspended for admitting to hitting Bryce Harper, might Baker also get a few days off for saying he ordered Latos to buzz Lowe?

Suddenly, everyone is focused on revenge. Dusty tells reporters he's not to be messed with.

Really? Don't mess with me? Is this the eighth grade?

Someone did something and then someone said something and then everyone is focused on revenge.

How silly.

How in the world do you guys keep all the insults straight?

Let's begin with Baker, the manager of the Reds. Here's hoping he had a really good reason for having Latos throw inside to Lowe on Wednesday.

If he was waiting two years to get revenge for a plunking of Votto, the statute of limitations may have expired. If he was getting back at Lowe for an incident he won't discuss, then he probably should have thought twice.

It's tough to imagine how dusting off Lowe would contribute to winning, especially since most of your players probably have no idea what it's all about.

If it was part of baseball's vague code about every action prompting a reaction, then maybe it's time to rethink the whole thing.

If there was something else involved, something intensely personal, something Baker is unwilling to disclose, it was probably unnecessary.

Dusty Baker has spent 45 years in baseball and is respected as both a player, manager and man. His comments about Lowe crossed the line, unnecessary and very close to unprofessional.

Regardless, it's time to move on. Nothing else can be accomplished by escalating or continuing the fight.

OK, Derek Lowe, enough. Even if you were right that there was no reason for Latos to be throwing inside, your comments crossed a line, too.

Give Joe Torre a call sometime. Ask him if he was ever livid after a game. Ask him how many times he wanted to torch someone to the media.

He will tell you he learned that things said in the heat of battle reflect poorly on everyone involved. Besides, if he really had something to say, he knew he had to be man enough to say it face to face.

Yes, there are going to be grudges. Players aren't going to like all other players. But why be so petty?

Besides, airing complaints and throwing insults in the media are meaningless. Anyone can spout off to someone with a notepad or a microphone.

Nothing has ever gotten accomplished by doing that. Maybe someone feels tough by doing it, but it's just childish.

No one is asking for them to shake hands, apologize and go to dinner. It's a competitive sport. Stuff happens.

But it still ought to be about winning the game and doing it a certain way. Both men are representing two iconic franchises, and the focus ought to be on the field instead of some grudge that almost certainly can't be that important.

No one is naive enough to believe that throwing at hitters is going to stop. It has been going on for more than 100 years and probably will go on 100 years from now. It's dangerous and frequently silly, but it's as much a part of the game as hot dogs and sunshine.

It's all about the unwritten code. There's another code of conduct, and that one involves representing the game the right way, doing things the right way, being a role model.

Even if Dusty Baker and Derek Lowe don't want to be role models, they are. They've got people watching them in a way most of us never will.

With that attention comes a responsibility. At this point, everyone has said and done things they shouldn't have said and done. So end it here. Now.

Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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