By Matt Furtado/KHTK Sports 1140
The old saying is “an eye for an eye,” or in baseball terms, “you hit my guy, I hit your guy.”
At some point during this past weekend, the Kansas City Royals misinterpreted this age old saying in a three game series against the Oakland Athletics.
Granted, baseball is a unique sport with just as many unwritten rules as there are official rules.
The problem with an unwritten rule is that there are always going to be different interpretations of how that rule should be handled.
On Friday, A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie slid hard into second base to break up a double play. The slide injured Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar, and from that moment on, the bad blood started boiling.
You can say whatever you want about the slide, whether he went in with the intention to hurt the shortstop or just trying to break up the double play, but the instant Lawrie hurt one of Kansas City’s players, payback was inevitable.
That payback came in Saturday’s game when Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura hit Lawrie with a 99 mph fastball.
Lawrie understood what was going on. He didn’t push up his chest or yell at Ventura. He took it like a professional and walked to first.
Tensions flared, dugouts and bullpens cleared, but at that point, the bad blood between the two teams should have been over.
Not only did the bad blood between the teams not stop, it reached a whole new level on Sunday.
In the first inning of Sunday’s ball game, Scott Kazmir of the Athletics hit Royals star Lorenzo Cain with cutter in the foot.
The hit by pitch was obviously bad timing considering everything that happened in the days prior, but it was pretty clear that it wasn’t intentional.
At no point in the series did any of the Athletics players look as if they were trying to fight with the Royals, so an intentional hit by pitch from Kazmir seems out of the question.
But, of course, the Royals looked at it differently. They took offense to the beaming and argued the call with the home plate umpire leading to a coach and manager Ned Yost to be ejected from the game.
Fast forward to the eighth inning, the Royals threw more payback at the Athletics, and it came Lawrie’s way once again.
Oakland had the lead 2-1 with nobody on and two out when a fastball from Kelvin Herrera brushed Lawrie off the plate. Nobody really reacted to the pitch. He probably just lost control of it, not a big deal, right?
Not a big deal until the next pitch goes flying behind Lawrie at 100 mph.
Benches cleared, Herrera was thrown out of the game, and tension was flaring once again.
There was pushing and shoving but Lawrie was calm through the whole thing, until Herrera pointed to his head telling the A’s third baseman that he was going for his head.
Is it okay to throw at a hitter to stick up for your teammates?
Of course it is.
Is it ever okay to throw at a hitter’s head?
Whether he meant it or not, throwing at a hitters head is never acceptable to do, or even joke about.
With how hard Herrera throws, if he made contact with Lawrie’s head, it could have done some very serious damage.
Naturally, Lawrie got a bit steamed when he saw the Kansas City pitcher motion to his head. He tried to get over to the Royals side of the field but was held back by an umpire.
The Royals had another coach and player ejected from the game putting the total at five on Sunday.
The game went on and the Royals came back to beat the Athletics 4-2.
After the game, Lawrie had some strong words for Herrera and said the reliever should face some sort of punishment.
Oakland pitcher Sean Doolittle weighed in on twitter saying what Herrera did was “Bush league,” and “hot garbage.”
The bad blood between the two teams should have been over after Lawrie was hit on Saturday, but the actions by Herrera has lit the match for a feud the next time these two face off.
The Royals looked like they were trying to prove something to the Athletics and the rest of the American league, but it’s not needed. Kansas City is the reigning American League Champions and even beat the Athletics in the Wild Card round last year.
If they were trying to prove something, it was unnecessary. If they were just mad about Lawrie’s slide in the first game, it should have been over on Saturday. Either way, the next match up between the two teams will be heated once again.
The two teams play each other again at the end of June in Oakland and you can count on some retaliation from the Athletics.