There is no better feeling in October than knowing that you can leave your dusty golf clubs in the closet for just a little while longer, and that's exactly the case for eight MLB teams, for in the next few days baseball's elite clubs will square off with World Series aspirations as their driving force.
At that point, leaving those clubs in the closet for as long as possible becomes the goal, and the first team to 11 wins can say, at least for an entire year, that there is not a team in baseball better than it is.
Such strong emotions draw the best out of us, as fans, and the players as competitors, but there are two sides to every coin. Be it in the longstanding tradition of sportsmanship or its nastier sibling, unsportsmanlike conduct, trash talking figures to be one of the most entertaining parts of this coming October.
Be it Cliff Lee's calm, cool confidence, Nyjer Morgan's alter ego or the gritty style of those Arizona Diamondbacks, there figures to be no shortage of trash talk going around this fall. After all, that's what helps to make each fall a new "classic."
That got us to thinking, however: What are some of the best trash-talking moments caught on tape? Sure, some moments live through the years as glorified tales of rhetoric, but for me personally, I want the stone-cold facts. Show me the proof.
So while there are plenty of trash-talking myths and rumors to be found on the Internet, we'll only be talking about those caught on film here. Let's jump right in and discuss some of the craziest MLB trash-talking moments caught on camera.
This one is kind of like a bonus because of the cheesy, lighthearted music in the background, but it was just too good to pass up.
We already know that Billy Martin was one of the most animated people to ever be involved with the game of baseball, and some of his confrontations with umpires, opponents and even his own players as manager of the New York Yankees are among the most memorable baseball moments of all time.
This clip is "crazy" for one reason—Martin manages to inspire kids to do some trash talking while giving an inspirational speech!
In the video, Martin says, "If you lose today, come back and say, 'I'm gonna beat you tomorrow.' That's what it's all about," and, "When they push you down, you're gonna push back, and that's when you become a competitor."
Not the full-fledged style of trash talking that Martin was known for in his younger days, but entertaining regardless.
Nyjer Morgan kind of gets under Wes Helms' skin, according to the former Florida Marlins third baseman. Don't worry, Wes. You're not the only person that Morgan has managed to tick off over the last couple of seasons.
The incident in question here is that memorable fight between the Marlins and Washington Nationals during the 2010 season, when Morgan, then a Nat, charged the mound after nearly being plunked by a pitch for a second time.
Right before he managed to land a good shot on pitcher Chris Volstad, Morgan was hit with a "Clothesline from Hell" straight out of Gaby Sanchez's WWE playbook. That was the highlight of my night.
Anyway, about the trash talking: After the game, Helms, who was somewhat of a veteran clubhouse leader for the Marlins, spoke to reporters, letting them know he wasn't happy with Morgan's antics.
"I can't stand when a guy shows somebody up," said Helms. "There's no place in baseball for that. You're going to get what's coming to you if you do that and tonight, I think it was time to show him we weren't going to put up with the way he was treating us. The way he tried to take the base when we're down 10 runs, you know he did it for spite."
That was probably the most entertaining moment from either of those franchises in 2010.
If fingers could actually talk, Nyjer Morgan would probably never be quiet.
After a few mediocre seasons with the Washington Nationals, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired the speedy center fielder for next to nothing, and a bit of a breakout season has followed. That hasn't stopped Morgan from using controversial antics and cheap trash talk to get the people talking.
"Two outs," Morgan said, trying to ease the mind of inquisitive journalists. "But then I started going overhand because I heard something said because they thought I flipped them off. I don't know."
When asked about the San Francisco fans in general, Morgan responded with, "It's nothing." After all, he is from the Bay Area and grew up cheering for the San Francisco Giants, and there were certainly some rowdy fanbases on the West Coast.
The gem of this clip comes towards the very end when, with a smile on his face, Morgan said that he loved the fans' trash-talking, and when asked if he "feeds off of it," he quickly retorted with a simple, "(Expletive) yeah."
Let's face it—there are just some players in this game that know how to get under the opposition's skin.
Nyjer Morgan is one of those guys, but you know that you're at the top of your game, in terms of trash talking, of course, when you're able to get under the thick skin of Albert Pujols, into the head of Chris Carpenter and onto the postgame press conference of St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
When La Russa starts off his presser with, "Rarely do I comment on another player, because it's not appropriate," you know he's going to comment on another player. Said player was Morgan—center fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers.
"He's had a good year for them. He's a talented guy. But he's close to the edge as far as creating problems and trouble. It takes away from the player that he's been for them—or wherever he's been—with his fuse being so short and actually looking for things to instigate, so I hope he gets a clue," said the Cards skipper.
With the sheer number of members of each uniform having gone at it this season, this has all the makings of a longstanding rivalry.
Milton Bradley has never been known for his sportsmanship, so it shouldn't be too surprising to see his name mentioned in this type of slideshow. A talented player, his career has been overshadowed by various instances of fighting, having to be restrained and distasteful comments to the media.
When this video was taken, Bradley was playing for the Chicago Cubs, and he made a huge mistake. You can talk trash about anyone in the game, be it another player, coach or whatever—but one of the biggest mistakes you can possibly make is ticking off your own fans, which Bradley seems to do wherever he goes.
Bradley was asked in the video if he "feels more love from the fans" and quickly responded with, "I feel...love for me. I love me. I look in the mirror, go out there and play and feel the love from my teammates; feel the love from my coaching staff and from myself. I go out there and try to do things. That's what I do."
To take the fan-bashing trash talking a step further, Bradley would go on to elaborate about a specific incident, where he made a naughty hand gesture to the fans. "That's what I do. People always have something to say," said Bradley. "Keep talking. It ain't stopping nothing. You know, what are you trying to prove? You're not proving anything but that you're an idiot."
He also name-drops Eddie Murray. My, what different careers.
The only question about getting a Lou Piniella moment into this slideshow was "which one?" I searched for hours (OK, it was more like minutes) trying to find the one where he tackles one of his own guys as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds and had to peruse quite a few ejections before settling on this gem.
Piniella, who is sitting down with the media here, is known to be quite animated, and this is no exception. He questions the media's integrity and at the end blasts Steve Stone, broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox organization, who frequently criticized the former Chicago Cubs manager.
About the media in general, Piniella called them "ridiculous" before going to town on Stone.
"Steve Stone. He's got enough problems doing what he does with the White Sox," said Piniella. "What job has he had in baseball, besides talking on television, or radio. What has he done? Why isn't he a farm director, and bring some kids around. Why isn't he a general manager? Why hasn't he ever put the uniform on and been a pitching coach? Why hasn't he been a field manager? There's 30 teams out there that could use a guy's expertise like that."
Has sort of a celebrity death-match feel to it, except no one really cares.
Wes Helms isn't alone in saying that Nyjer Morgan has a tendency to get under his skin. In fact, he happens to do that a lot to the competition. Just ask the St. Louis Cardinals, who have feuded with the Milwaukee Brewers center fielder on more than one occasion.
After an altercation with both Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter, Morgan took to the media to kick the Cards while they were down.
"He felt like he had to say something, so, if he felt like he had to say something, let him say it. But then as soon as he said it, he turns his back and runs away," said Morgan. "We're still in first place. Believe it."
The Brew Crew would remain in first place for the rest of the season, thanks to a little foreshadowing from Morgan (and they're a good team too.) He wasn't done talking on that day though, adding, "There's nothing more to say than except for we're still in first place and they're still chasing us."
The Brewers never looked back.
This clip is great for so many reasons. I'm still trying to figure out who won this argument—St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa or the beat reporter who managed to throw a ton of verbal gut punches on the skipper but actually accomplishes nothing in regards to his job.
I don't have a complete understanding of how this altercation transpired, but the gist of it is that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a newspaper based in St. Louis (in case that wasn't obvious), had run a story that held the Chicago Cubs in a particularly dim light.
Unwilling to let that story be a reflection of his opinion or that of the Cardinals organization, La Russa chose not to field any questions from reporters with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
I'm sure you can see how that was going to be a problem.
The argument itself is particularly entertaining and worth watching, but the trash talking is well conceived. La Russa called the piece about the Cubs a "cheap shot" and would go on to say, "What I care is that I don't put my stamp any way, shape or form on a cheap shot like that to a major-league organization."
Of course, the whole argument was set ablaze when the reporter so obviously noted that La Russa doesn't "control the world." After no other reporters had anything to add, La Russa let loose a cheap shot of his own, blatantly calling the cheap shot what it was, saying, "It's a cheap shot," before exiting the stage, where the confrontation continued.
"You're lowering yourself," said the reporter to La Russa, "Putting on a big show." The Cards skipper didn't take kindly to that, expressing his need to let the world know that he didn't agree with the story run in the Post-Dispatch.
My favorite line of the clip goes to the reporter, where I so dub him the winner, is at the end where he said, "Why do you have to let the world know? This is grandstanding."
This is great—the epitome of trash-talking perfection.
For those of us who aren't aware (which I hope for the sake of your entertainment is a relatively small number), the incident that spurred these fighting words from Dallas Braden came in a game where his Oakland Athletics were taking on the New York Yankees.
Alex Rodriguez, who had already reached first base, took off for the races on a ball that was scorched down the third-base line and later ruled foul. Rodriguez, who had by this time reached third base, decided to take the easy route back to first base—over the pitcher's mound.
Needless to say, Braden was not happy. He accused A-Rod of breaking one of baseball's infamous "unwritten rules," going so far as saying that Rodriguez not understanding that what he did was wrong was right next to "terrible."
But Braden wasn't finished. He would go on to issue a threat to Rodriguez and the Yanks, saying, "I'm not a speck on his radar and that's fine, but he will know I was out there and he will know not to do that again or there will be repercussions if it happens again."
Now that's what I'm talking about!
A-Rod's reply? "I thought it was pretty funny actually."
The greatest of all time is quite the pat on the back, Rickey Henderson.
That said, there's certainly a case to be made for the "Man of Steal." The 2009 Hall of Fame inductee retired in 2003 with 25 major-league seasons under his belt and is the all-time leader in runs scored and stolen bases, and when all was said and done, Henderson had collected 4,588 total bases.
But does that make him the "greatest of all time?"
Some people will view his comments in a different light, using the common argument that he was the greatest base stealer of all time, which is largely true. But let's be real here, people—Henderson was doing what he does best: talking trash.
Every time I look at this video, it says one thing to me: "I'm Rickey Henderson, and you're not as good as me. Period." In my case, that is a fact of life, written in stone. Compared to the rest of the players in the history of baseball, well, I'm not so sure. To them, I think Rickey was saying, "I know I'm good. I don't care how good you were. I'm the best."
One of the best trash talkers the game has ever seen, and this is just one moment.
Say what you want about the man. He's an old-school manager stuck in his days with the Oakland Athletics. He's lost the touch for his winning ways. Whatever. But you can't deny that Tony La Russa, in his most simplistic form, is a fiery baseball guy.
If you've never seen this clip before, I won't spoil it for you, but the argument starts around the 1:10 second mark, as La Russa squares off with reporter Bob Glass on the night that A's player Terry Steinbach is beaned in the head with a pitch.
A classic confrontation unfolds where the two grown men fight with each other like raging six-year-olds. La Russa, who doesn't want to talk about the on-the-field altercation, winds up yelling at Glass, who tells the A's skipper not to yell. La Russa responds with an "I'll yell if I want to!" to which Glass responds, "Then I'll yell back too!"
Glass tells La Russa to "be a man," which sends the manager into a tirade, only part of which is audible, the gem of which is, "You've got about as much sense as a kid who was just born."
I'm sure we've all seen the highlight by now. Pedro Martinez, then of the Boston Red Sox, decides to plunk Karim Garcia, then of the New York Yankees, with a fastball square in the back. The only problem was that Garcia did not take kindly to the beaning and began to make his way towards the mound.
Martinez didn't think very highly of Garcia in hindsight, saying, "Karim Garcia. What? So what. Who are you? Who are you Karim Garcia to try to test Pedro Martinez, a proven player for 10 years?"
Here's a deep answer for you: Karim Garcia is Karim Garcia. Pedro Martinez is Pedro Martinez. We are who we are, but who are we?
I'm going to end this slideshow with a bit of a disclaimer. Thanks to MLB's bizarre copyrighting policy, it is extremely hard to find clips about players jawing off at each other, especially if the shot was filmed in association with MLB. With that in mind, it was fairly challenging finding clips to be featured on this slideshow.
I'm sure there are a ton of great clips out there that I haven't mentioned, so if you have a favorite that immediately comes to mind that I missed, drop a link in the comments section below and I'll keep a running update in another slide. After all, I'm far from perfect.
As always, thanks for reading!