Kansas City relief pitcher Luke Weaver and Seattle starter Robbie Ray had a little standoff before the Royals and Mariners played Sept.25 at Kauffman Stadium — one that got both of them ejected.
Unlike the events that usually precede ejections, however, there were no fights, punches or heated words, according to The Kansas City Star.
It was just some playful fun between Ray — last year’s AL Cy Young winner — and Weaver.
The two men, who played together with the Arizona Diamondbacks, were goofing around after the national anthem. They stood on the warning track with their hats off, as they would when the anthem was playing.
“Luke Weaver and Seattle’s Robbie Ray had themselves a good ol’ fashioned standoff before the game,” Bally Sports KC tweeted.
Luke Weaver and Seattle’s Robbie Ray had themselves a good ol’ fashioned standoff before the game.
— Bally Sports Kansas City (@BallySportsKC) September 25, 2022
The announcers were laughing at the pitchers’ antics.
“The national anthem concluded a long time ago but we have a standoff now as to who is going to depart the edge of the warning track in front of each dugout first,” one said.
“This is really amazing,” the other said. “I have never seen one this long. The teams are already on the team. The two guys are trying to stand each other up and who’s going to … blink first.”
“This is one of the best standoffs I’ve ever seen.”
MLB’s official account described it as a “lighthearted showdown.”
But home plate umpire Adrian Johnson eventually had enough of the shenanigans, the Star reported. He ejected Weaver and Ray as their standoff threatened to delay the 1:10 p.m. first pitch.
The game started three minutes late, according to the Star.
In spite of that, Weaver said it surprised him that Johnson went so far as to eject them.
“I was very surprised that it did happen. I thought [there would be] some type of warning, or a little bit of, ‘Put it into Mike’s hands to get me off the field,'” he said, referring to Royals manager Mike Matheny. “That kind of happened pretty quick. When they told me I was out, I was pretty shocked.”
Weaver said it wasn’t planned and they were just trying to have some fun, particularly since it was Kansas City’s last home game of the season.
“Me and Robbie Ray have known each other for a while. We’re pretty good friends. It wasn’t anything planned. It was just that we looked across the line. [We] both saw each other stay for an extra second,” he said, according to the Star.
“We’ve seen this thing done before, try to have fun. It’s the last home game,” Weaver said. “The fans were coming out loud and proud. The teammates were rallying behind me, so it was just trying to have a little fun. Definitely didn’t have an intention to try to hold up the game in any severe way.”
Matheny said players had been warned about this kind of tomfoolery before.
“They’ve sent out a memo before. It’s boys kind of being boys. I’ve had it happen before and umpires have come over and say, ‘Listen. Get them off the field or somebody is going to get thrown out.’ But the next thing you know, he’s ejected,” Matheny said, according to the Star.
While Ray’s ejection didn’t mean much, since he wasn’t scheduled to start until two days later, Weaver’s did affect the Royals as they wound up their three-game home stand against the Mariners.
Kansas City won the game 13-12 but had to come back from nine runs down. An extra arm in the bullpen could have helped.
“It kind of hurt our bullpen a little bit today,” Weaver said, according to the Star. “That’s what bothers me the most, not being able to have a hand in that game if need be. Luckily we did what we needed to do, so it worked out.”
While the Royals won the game, Ray was declared the “winner” of the standoff.
“The sheer force of will and determination,” the Mariners said on Twitter.
The sheer force of will and determination. pic.twitter.com/d1W8NckoMO
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 25, 2022
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