Two Major League Baseball pitchers were ejected and now face hefty fines after their ill-advised standoff on the diamond after the singing of the Star Spangled Banner Saturday.
Kutter Crawford, of the Boston Red Sox, and Matt Strahm, of the Philadelphia Phillies, both refused to leave the Citizens Bank Park field after the national anthem, instead staring intently at each other. The pitchers, friends who were teammates in Boston last year, apparently goaded each other into the stunt.
“Zero of it was planned,” Strahm told WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “Just, anthem was over, and I looked across, and Kutter kind of gave me a grin, and I knew exactly what that grin meant, so [I] just stood there.”
“If you know me, you know competition is everything to me, so kind of felt like I was being called out right there,” he added. “Looking back on it, probably not the wisest decision I’ve made in my big-league career.”
Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said both players ignored orders to get off the field.
“(The umpire) gave them a warning and they stayed there and they got thrown out of the game,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said later. “Both of them.”
Ejections come with automatic fines in Major League Baseball. Those fines are even steeper if a player who is on the injured list gets thrown out of a game. Crawford is on the injured list with a strained hamstring.
“If you get thrown out and you’re on the IL, you get crushed,” Cora said.
The amounts the players will be fined have not yet been announced.
Crawford, 27, is in his third year and earns a salary of $730,000, according to baseballreference.com. Strahm, 31, is in his eighth season and earns more than 10 times as much as his pal. But Cora predicted Crawford’s teammate, Chris Sale, would help his fellow Florida Gulf Coast alum out.
“It’s a big one because you’re on the IL,” Cora said. “I know there’s a guy that went to the same school as him that’s probably going to take care of that.”
Sale makes $20 million per year and has earned nearly $180 million during his illustrious career.