It looks like we may have another ethics discussion brewing in baseball.
With the memory of the Astros’s sign-stealing scandal still very fresh in the minds of players and fans alike, the Rays and Blue Jays have themselves mired in a conflict centered on gaining the upper hand. This time, it’s Tampa Bay’s Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Kiermaier who’s the focal point of the discussion.
During Monday’s game, Kiermaier scored in the sixth inning after sliding to avoid the tag of Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk. On the tag attempt, a card fell out of Kirk’s armband and landed directly in front of Kiermaier, who was still on the ground. After looking at it for a beat, he picked it up and took it into the dugout.
The card contained Toronto’s game plan on pitching to Rays hitters, and the Blue Jays are “pissed” at the situation, according to Rogers Sportsnet’s Arash Madani, who spoke to Kiermaier on Tuesday for his perspective on the incident.
“The play happened so fast … I picked it up, didn’t know what it was, whether it was mine or not. They’re all pretty similar, and then as I picked it up, I realized it was that,” Kiermaier said. “I never even looked at it, I’ll say that. But at the same time, I’m not going to drop it or hand it back.
“Everything was so quick and after I did it I was like, ‘Dang, their scouting reports or whatever it was, was on the ground and I grabbed it.’ Like I said, it got to the point that I’m not going to return it or do that. It’s September, whatever. I didn’t know what was going on.”
Madani reports that Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke to Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo about it Tuesday afternoon. The Blue Jays quickly realized what had happened and sent a bat boy to the Rays’ dugout to ask for the card back, a request that Tampa Bay reportedly scoffed at.
“I handed it to one of our other personnel in the dugout. I couldn’t even tell you what happened from that point on,” Kiermaier said. “I didn’t have a conversation, but I told one of our players: ‘I think I grabbed something from them.’ I don’t even know. I just know it wasn’t mine. But, again, it got to the point that I picked it up and I wasn’t going to return it or give it back. That was definitely weird. Everything happened so fast.”
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