Dennis Eckersley explains in detail criticism of Marcus Stroman

Gabby Guerard
June 25, 2019 - 12:27 pm

After criticizing Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman during the Blue Jays’ win over the Red Sox Sunday, NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley joined Will Flemming Monday during the WEEI Red Sox pregame show to discuss the backlash he received after the fact.

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Eckersley said that he was surprised at Stroman taking to Twitter, who called the 2004 Baseball Hall of Famer a “clown,” saying “his comments are always trash” and quote-tweeted a video of Eckersley celebrating back when he was an active pitcher, calling him a “hypocrite.”

“But when you get into how a player emotionally responds to stuff, you have to be careful,” Eckersley said. “This is a day and age when baseball, they want to promote that sort of thing you know, and let the kids play. And there’s a lot of emotion in this game and everybody handles it a different way.”

Stroman’s tweets were in response to Eckersley calling the Blue Jay tired after he celebrated striking out Eduardo Nunez to end the sixth inning by screaming loudly and looking to the Red Sox dugout. At the time, Toronto was up 5-0.

Given that Eckersley used to also celebrate on the mound while he was an active pitcher, Flemming asked Eckersley what the difference was between his and Stroman’s actions.

“Well it depends on your definition of it. Sometimes guys, players think any of that is off limits you know. And it’s a matter of are you taunting the other team? Something like that, and then it’s the sincerity of the situation. You know, is it real?” Eckersley explained. “I’ve always lived by the fact that it wasn’t premeditated what I did. It’s total reaction to big moments. 

“And it wasn’t necessarily a strikeout in the first inning. I mean for me, half of my career was late in the ball game, so there was, I mean, I like to say there was more reason to have that type of emotion.”

Eckersley also made it clear that he isn’t the authority on this subject.

In Stroman’s response, he reminded Eckersley of his actions back in the 1992 ALCS. But, both Eckersley and Flemming agreed that the situation was very different than Stroman’s actions during a mid-June game at Fenway Park.

“I agree, I agree, but I don’t know if I could necessarily go back in my career and remember every time I punched somebody out, what the situation was, because it was a long time ago,” Eckersley said. “I think the biggest thing is when you call somebody a tired act, I didn’t mean tired act, I don’t know, I just didn’t like it. And I’m sure after people probably didn’t like how I acted either, I mean so they probably thought I was tired too. But yesterday, he was tired.”

Eckersley added that Stroman had been taking more than two minutes between his pitches, which was another aspect that likely contributed to the “tired” comment. However, Flemming noted that it’s not just Stroman, and that members of the Red Sox also “take too long between pitches.” But in terms of a solution for the issue, Eckersley didn’t have one.

“Well first of all, they were talking about a clock and that’s just when nobody’s on base. The problem is guys get on base and they can take as long as they want… that’s not going to change anything,” Eckersley said. “And you’re taught as a pitcher, when guys get on base, to slow down, you’re trying to play on the anxiety of the hitter, so I get that too, but it just goes too far.”