Last week Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick called out Cincinnati fans for their lack of energy. Our own Craig Calcaterra noted that Ludwick had put himself in a no-win situation and, sure enough, a short time later he quasi-apologized.
And now Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has done more or less the same thing, calling out Texas fans for not packing the ballpark Sunday:
We’ve been to the postseason three years in a row. We’re fighting for our playoff lives. I’m just a little disappointed this place wasn’t sold out and rocking. You can’t say it’s the Cowboys because they were on the road. The fans were chanting “baseball town” and stuff like that, and we can’t sell out.
Todd Willis of ESPN Texas notes that the Rangers announced a crowd of 40,000, which meant there were about 9,000 empty seats. But the issue isn’t necessarily whether Kinsler has a point or not, but rather that players making millions of dollars per season ($13 million in Kinsler’s case, to be exact) calling out fans for not paying money to come watch them play baseball always comes across poorly.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.