2 nights ago, Kevin Kiermaier slid into home. He was called out. There was a minor collision, and on replay one can see a card come fluttering down and land in front of Kiermaier. He is then seen looking at it for a moment and then snapping it up.
Yesterday it became quite the thing that he had taken a scouting report from the Jays, with lots of folks acting quite incensed about it.
Today, he asserted that he didn’t realize it wasn’t his before he picked it up, but that he also wasn’t going to give it back once he did realize it. Many do not believe him. My opinion: so what?
It’s debatable how much advantage can be gleaned from a 5×7 note card, and zero doubt anything fungible like signs changed by last night’s game. Regardless—if the damn scouting report card is that important to you, either don’t take it onto the field or secure it so it doesn’t fall in front of an opponent. Kiermaier getting that card, for whatever it’s worth, is actually the Jays’ own fault.
Nonetheless, it’s completely unsurprising that the Jays felt they needed to send a don’t-violate-our-opinion-of-sportsmanship message by violating a written rule. In the bottom of the 8th Kiermaier was the first batter up. The Jays catcher set up outside, and the pitcher threw a fastball three feet inside, drilling Kiermaier in the back right between the numbers. It’s hard to imagine a more obviously intentional HBP. The pitcher got ejected. The Jays’ pitching coach went ballistic and got ejected too. Benches cleared, but the umps kept things under control.
No doubt there will be short suspensions coming (guessing three games for the pitcher, one for the manager because it’s automatic, and two for the pitching coach).
On the plus side, I’ve actually gotten to see two Rays games on TV here in OK—last night’s loss and today’s win. Today clinched a playoff berth for the Rays and lowers their division magic number to 4 over the Red Sox, the only team that can still mathematically catch them.