Tim Benz: Broadcasters shred Derek Dietrich as he shreds Pirates | TribLIVE.com
Tim Benz, Columnist

Tim Benz: Broadcasters shred Derek Dietrich as he shreds Pirates

Tim Benz
Cincinnati Reds’ Derek Dietrich points as he rounds the bases with a two-run home run off Pirates starting pitcher Jordan Lyles during the fourth inning Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Cincinnati.

It appears the “grandpa shaming” of Derek Dietrich has backfired.

As we documented following Cincinnati’s Tuesday night victory over the Pirates, Dietrich decided to strike a pose after homering against the Pirates.


That got former Pirate and current team broadcaster John Wehner talking. He was on 93.7 The Fan Tuesday morning. He didn’t stop with a mild rebuke of Dietrich’s actions. It was a little harsher than that.

Well, if you consider “hey, kid, your family, including your dead grandfather, should be ashamed of you” harsh.

“I can’t stand him,” Wehner said on Tuesday’s “Fan Morning Show.” “I don’t understand why you have to do that. It’s different if you’re a Hall of Fame player, you’re a 60-homer guy, you’re an established guy. Nobody ever heard of him before this year. I heard of him because of his grandfather (Steve Demeter) who used to be a minor league coach for the Pirates. He was the sweetest guy in the world. He’s rolling in his grave every time this guy hits a home run. He’s embarrassed of his grandson.”

Wehner and play-by-play man Greg Brown doubled-down during the AT&T SportsNet broadcast Tuesday night.

“I can’t imagine, if (Demeter) were alive today, he would approve of it,” Brown said after Dietrich’s first at-bat.

“I’d like to think Steve Demeter would slap him upside his head,” Wehner said. “I guarantee he would tell him it was uncalled for.”

Brown then pointed out how Dietrich had his grandfather’s words, “Let it fly,” tattooed on his arm as well as the dates of his grandfather’s birth and death. And then Brown passed along how Dietrich tells the story that the biggest lesson his grandfather told him was how to respect the game.

“That’s not respecting the game, the way he goes around the bases,” Wehner quipped.

After Tuesday’s game, Dietrich spewed some sort of quote about how hitting coach Turner Ward told him to slow down his approach, and that’s why he was slow getting out of the box and around the bases.

“That had nothing to do with how he went around the bases,” Wehner retorted. “Zero.”

What did Dietrich do after that?

How does three home runs in his next three at-bats grab you? On the first one, he gave a little elbow shimmy.

On the third one, we got the Michael Jordan palms-up shrug.

I think there was a flying head-pat of third base coach J.R. House after the second homer. And his curtain call after the third one took longer than Pavarotti at the Kennedy Center.

Grandpa must’ve gotten dizzy from rolling around in his grave so much.

I grow fatigued over the debate of such matters. It’s nothing but local politics, honestly. If your guy does it, it’s OK. It’s energy. It’s enthusiasm. If their guy does it, it’s bad.

Dietrich is a disrespectful hot dog. But when Chris Archer moonwalks after a strikeout, that’s just a man having fun playing a kid’s game.

Tom Wilson and Vontaze Burfict are demons. But Matt Cooke and James Harrison were “targeted by the officials.”

That’s how it works. I get it.

But the next time Starling Marte or Gregory Polanco or Josh Bell watch a homer or flip a bat, I’m going to wonder if their grandfathers are available for comment.

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Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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