For the second time this month, there was nearly a benches-clearing brawl in a baseball game that had already ended.
First, it was the Angels getting upset at a dirty slide by Rougned Odor of the Rangers on the final play of their June 1 game.
Tuesday, it was Sergio Romo holding onto a three-week grudge which caused players to spill out of both dugouts in a getaway game between the Rays and Nationals.
Romo entered the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and his Rays leading 1-0. He came in with the bases loaded — a high leverage situation and emotions were running high.
Romo, who ranks second on the team in saves, came through for the Rays, recording the last two outs to pick up his sixth save and give Tampa its fifth consecutive win.
But it was what he did after the last out which has some people up in arms. After striking out Michael Taylor to end the game, Romo walked toward home plate while barking at Taylor, who had a confused look on his face.
The taunting from Romo continued and that led to the benches clearing on both sides, but there was more posturing than anything as no punches were thrown.
Benches clear after Sergio Romo starts chirping at the Nationals. pic.twitter.com/GM3C8u7z2m
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) June 26, 2018
So what was it about Taylor that ticked off Romo? Apparently the pitcher’s beef stems from Taylor stealing a base in a game on June 6 in which the Nationals had a big lead.
So while most baseball fans (and likely many baseball players) don’t care much for the game’s unwritten rules, Romo is doing his best to uphold them to the nth degree.
Romo confirmed after the game that the stolen base was the reason for the spat and that the Rays aren’t a team “to pad stats.”
“I think everybody knows what that was about,” Romo said, according to MLB.com. “Even the guys on their side. Among all of that, I got told a couple of things by guys that I know very well on that team, and they know I’m not that kind of person. I’m not going to start something over nothing.
“I’m the smallest guy out there, to be honest. But I will defend my team. I will put myself out there for this squad, for this team, for the guys that strap on those spikes every day. I’m just here for them. Just letting them know that we aren’t going to be a team you can pad stats on. That’s pretty much it.”
The reason why Taylor had a “What is going on?” look on his face is because he didn’t know what was going on. He wasn’t aware that Romo was even barking at him until his teammates poured out of the dugout.
“I turned around and realized he was saying something,” Taylor said. “I understand the situation, that they were upset I stole a base. In my mind, you saw how many runs they scored with nine outs yesterday, so the game’s not over. Obviously, they think differently, but I’m not worried about that. We lost the game and that’s the only thing that upsets me. The talking and things like that, I’m not big on drama, so it’s whatever.”
This was the last matchup between these teams this season, and since this was an interleague matchup, any chance for retaliation is three years down the road.
That is, unless, they meet in the World Series — which looks doubtful considering Tampa Bay is 14 games out of first in the AL East and 9.5 games out in the AL wild card race.
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