Javier Baez's bat flip sparks criticism from Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle

The Cubs second baseman flipped his bat after popping out in Wednesday's game against the Pirates, leading teammates to talk to him.

Javier Baez had a great three-game series against the Pirates with four home runs, but all anyone talked about Thursday before the finale was "The Flip."

Baez flipped his bat after popping out to the infield in the Cubs' 13-5 win over the Pirates Wednesday. A day later, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle questioned the move.

"You watch [Baez] flip that bat in the air last night — where's the respect for the game?" Hurdle said. "The guy hits four homers in two days, so that means you can take your bat and throw it 15-20 feet in the air when you pop up like you should have hit your fifth home run? I would bet that men over there talked to him, because I believe they've got a group over there that speaks truth to power — and the kid's showing physical power."

Baez took offense at Hurdle's comments.

"No one plays this game harder than me," Baez said, "but you don't go out there and talk trash about someone. To be honest, I got a lot of things I can say right now. But I don't control what's out there, what people talk about me. I'm just going to keep playing my game.

"We won [Wednesday], and it got to him. ... People that talk about me, they can save it. I don't control it. I don't really care about it. I'm going to play hard every day. Whoever likes it, fine. Whoever doesn't like it, that's you."

Baez probably didn't need Hurdle's input on the matter, because he'd already had teammates tell him it was not a good look.

“What I learned about was how ugly I look on that (popup),” Baez said. “I tossed the bat very high. I didn’t run to first base. One of my teammates came up to me and said it in a good way, and I learned from it.

“Especially me, I don’t take the at-bat before to the plate. After I hit that (popup) I was mad about it. Not about the (popup) but the way I looked in front of the kids and anyone who follows me. That’s not a good look.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon chalked it up as a learning experience for Baez, and a sign of the Cubs' clubhouse maturity.

"That's actually a proud moment," Maddon said. "If the players feel strongly that they're free that they can have these kind of conversations independent of us to galvanize the culture even further, that's wonderful.

"In practice, here comes a guy, 'Javy, we don't do that here.' Javy [says] 'You're right, I made a mistake.' What else could you ask for?"