Pirates broadcaster criticizes Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. for ‘all the jewelry’ after hit by pitch
Longtime Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster Steve Blass tacitly criticized Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. for wearing jewelry Tuesday.
Blass' comments came immediately after Acuna, a 21-year-old Venezuela native who won last year's NL Rookie of the Year award, was hit in the elbow by a 2-2 pitch in the fourth inning. Blass implied on air that Acuna would have been purposefully hit by a pitch for wearing gold chains "back in the day."
"With a young player just doing all that stuff, and all the jewelry, all the stuff," Blass said. "Back in the day, I'm not saying it's right or wrong …"
"Or that that was done on purpose," play-by-play broadcaster Greg Brown interjected. "Hard to believe it was done on purpose on a 2-2 pitch."
"No, I'm not suggesting that," Blass continued. "That's why I qualified it (with) 'back in the day.'"
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The Pirates' television broadcast then showed a replay of the pitch, and Acuna looking at the mound shortly afterward.
"Give it a rest," Blass said. "Looking at him. You think he's trying to throw at you? Give me a break."
The Pirates’ broadcast is pretty gross when talking about Ronald Acuña Jr: pic.twitter.com/yD7GJgfP5b
Blass' comments immediately drew attention on social media, in part because of comments made on the Pirates' broadcast last week about Derek Dietrich and in part because of past remarks Blass had made about Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez. During a 2017 broadcast, Blass said Baez is "hard to root for" because of his "flashiness."
"That's a nice way to put it," Blass said then. "His flashiness."
Blass pitched for the Pirates for 10 seasons from 1964 to 1974, and he has been part of the organization's broadcast team for 34 years. The 77-year-old announced in January that he plans to retire at the conclusion of the season.
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
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