How’s this for weird baseball:
Benches cleared in Los Angeles after the final out on Friday night because the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks felt the home team was disrespecting a save opportunity playing out at Dodger Stadium.
This is what happens when you combine the dog days of August with the psyche of professional athletes playing an extra-inning game — and it somehow ends with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts fuming about wearing shorts on the field.
This all started with Los Angeles’ A.J. Pollock arguing that he was hit by a pitch. The outfielder had tried to check his swing on an Archie Bradley fastball in the 11th inning when — depending on which team you root for — the ball either hit the knob of the bat or slammed into Pollock’s wrist. The impact sent the ball soaring straight up into the air for an easy out by catcher Carson Kelly.
Pollock walked to first base grabbing his arm and showing off a bruise while the play went under review. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the umpires didn’t have enough evidence to prove that the ball didn’t hit the bat first and had to maintain the call of Pollock being out. It’s a tough situation on its own, let alone in the bottom of the 11th inning with a man on, no outs and Arizona up 3-2. Not done pleading his case, Pollock walked slowly back to his dugout shouting at home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus and this is what set Bradley off.
“I don’t know what he was doing,” Pollock said later. “Honestly, I’m walking, just got smoked in the wrist. I’m not going to go sprinting off and be all giggly. He didn’t like that. Tough. Whatever.”
The pitcher just wanted to get to the next batter already and yelled at Pollock to get off the field, later arguing the Dodger wasn’t respecting the situation.
“I got him out,” Bradley told the media after the game. “That was my whole thing, that’s where it all started, like, you’re out. And you’re sitting there arguing while I’m trying to pitch to the next batter in a save situation in the 11th inning in Dodger Stadium. This is a hostile environment, I’m trying to win and you’re still standing arguing after you’ve been called out twice. It’s nothing personal to A.J. at all. It could have been anyone in the big leagues.”
Two batters later, the game had ended but the drama refused to. After striking out Will Smith to end the game, Bradley immediately pointed to the Dodgers’ dugout and began shouting in their direction again.
Before anyone could even make out what was being said, pitcher Clayton Kershaw was climbing over the railing to confront Bradley. Both dugouts wasted no time following suit.
“The game ended and they kept talking,” Bradley said. “As a competitor, you’re only going to take so much before you kind of chirp back.”
As if the situation wasn’t already whacky, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had to be restrained at one point because he was being yelled at by someone on the field who was wearing shorts — which is apparently the ultimate disrespect move.
“I see somebody in shorts, wearing an Arizona t-shirt, that looks to me like staff.” Roberts said after finding out that the man who refused to wear full-length pants was Friday’s starter for the D-backs, Robbie Ray. “After you’re out of the game, in shorts, doesn’t need to be out there.”
Fortunately, this was all settled without any punches being thrown and both teams retreated to their clubhouses. The Diamondbacks with a 3-2 win, and the Dodgers with a few bumps and bruised egos.
Even more fortunate: The two teams will face each other again Saturday and Sunday so there’s a strong chance this beef isn’t over yet.
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