A good, old-fashioned national anthem standoff between Boston Red Sox reliever Kutter Crawford and Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Matt Strahm not only resulted in an ejection but hit both players in the bank account as well, with MLB fining both pitchers for their role in the stand-off.
Crawford and Strahm, former teammates and current friends, were doing what is done so often in other sports; see who can get off the field last after the anthem. Is it childish? Yes, of course, it is. Is it malicious? Not in the case of the two friends. So, why eject and fine both players?
Major League Baseball instituted a much-needed pitch clock to help move games along this season, and both players had to be off the field in order to accommodate the clock and start the game. They were warned, and when they didn’t leave the field, both pitchers were tossed. For good measure MLB told them to get out their check books.
Strahm, who used to be a Boston Red Sox, explained to WEEI’s Rob Bradford. Via Breitbart, Strahm had this to say: “Zero of it was planned,” he said. “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. Looking back on it, probably not the wisest decision I’ve made in my big-league career.”
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) May 6, 2023
Considering Strahm is closer to the MLB minimum salary than he is to the maximum, he is probably right. However, the fine for the injured Crawford is much higher, and he isn’t a superstar either. He does, however, have a benefactor likely to assist with his fine payment.
Being that Crawford is on the 15-day injured list at the moment, his fine for being ejected is much higher than Strahm’s, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that he’ll be getting help from a certain teammate.
I know there’s a guy that went to the same school as him that’s probably going to take care of that,” he said.
Chris Sale and Crawford both attended Florida Gulf Coast University, so that’s where the help could be coming.
Chris Sale is, of course, a superstar pitcher for the Red Sox. The former All-Star can certainly afford to kick in a few dollars to assist his friend with the fine. Especially considering it was all in good fun between friends.
Yes, both pitchers violated the new rule that the MLB instituted to help facilitate gameplay. So by the rules, both players should have been fined and ejected. That being said, a harmless prank between friends is a welcome change in a sport decidedly lacking in color and personality. Worst case scenario, they could have been kneeling or sitting for the Anthem. That would have been much worse and likely wouldn’t have drawn a fine and ejection.
Let’s just take a minute and enjoy two grown men having fun playing a child’s game and not taking themselves too seriously for a change. It is kind of nice to see.
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