Nowadays, strategy cards are commonplace for every player on a field in Major League Baseball. Fielders have them to show where they must shift for specific players. However, no players have more important cards than the pitchers and catchers, which show their set of signs, as well as how to pitch to batters. These are precious secrets that every team holds dear to them. So what happens when a team can take one of those cards?
It happened this week, as on Monday, the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier started an ethics discussion. Trying to score on an already crazy play, Kiermaier was tagged out at home by Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk. But unbeknownst to Kirk, his card fell out of his wristband, and right next to Kiermaier. Without hesitating, the center fielder picked it up, put it in his pocket then handed it to a coach in the dugout.
The Blue Jays would later figure out what exactly happened, and were understandably upset. The Rays knew exactly how they would be pitched to in a massive series with playoff implications. When asked about the fiasco, Kiermaier’s excuse was that he originally thought that it was his card, but later realized that it was not. At that point, he wasn’t going to return it. Meanwhile, the video clearly showed that Kiermaier never actually looked at the card before handing it off.
This seemingly only angered Toronto more. As the rubber match of the series started on Wednesday, the Rays got things cooking in the third inning. A three-run homer by Austin Meadows was the exclamation mark on a six-run inning in a game that ended up being a 7-1 final.
Old Fashioned Baseball
In a mop-up role, Toronto let southpaw Ryan Borucki start the bottom of the eighth inning after a clean seventh. With Kiermaier leading off, Borucki knew exactly what he was doing. He threw a heater right between the numbers to the back. It didn’t take long for the benches to clear. Like most bench-clearing incidents in baseball, the results were pretty lame. Surprisingly, Borucki was not immediately ejected. He stayed in the game until the end of the commotion when ol’ Cowboy Joe West told him to leave. Rays manager Kevin Cash was not happy with the treatment of his player. Pete Walker, Toronto’s pitching coach, was even angrier. After arguing, he was ejected as well.
Sparking on a Debate
The social media arguments were clear: should Kiermaier morally have taken the card? On one hand, Kirk should’ve kept it in his band. Finders, keepers, sucker! The other side of the coin (or card, in this case), is that Kiermaier just stole something, and as we all know, stealing is bad.
The one thing that no one argued against (besides maybe Walker), was that Borucki was rightfully ejected. The league offices agreed. Borucki was suspended for three games, though that is currently being appealed. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo was struck with an automatic one-game ban.
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