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.
One thought on “Scouting Report-Gate”
The juvenile nature of baseball comeuppance disappoints me. If the eight-year-olds won’t play nicely, then don’t let them play. If a slide into second with foot up, cleats out is outlawed, and a run-in to the catcher at home is not permitted, then it’s time to put an end to HBP. But the pitcher was trying too, no the batter was leaning in, screw it and eject them both. The umps can look at the tape and determine any additional punishment if necessary, like a free trip to FB or an out, if the ump sees fit. Otherwise, it’s a null pitch, The batting club replaces the batter, the defenders replace the pitcher, and the at-bat continues with the ball and strike count carried forward. No team gains a momentary advantage of a runner unless the ump sees clear intent on the part of the pitcher. If, on the other hand, it’s a Biggio/Baylor type who clearly leans in seeking a free base, the ump can call them out for, IDK, interference.
The point is, it’s a physically demanding job to participate in MLB games. But not in the way football is, so let’s try to keep the players safe from themselves. Apologies to Historio if this ends the always fun to watch HBPiB.
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