After benches cleared during Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays, players from both teams continued to fight on Twitter, with Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura calling Toronto rightfielder Jose Bautista "a nobody" and accusing him of stealing signs before later apologizing for his remarks.
Tempers between the teams boiled over in the eighth inning on Sunday after Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez hit Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar in the leg, prompting the bench clearing and subsequent scrum. That followed Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson getting hit by a pitch in the first inning and seeing two pitches up-and-in in the third and seventh innings. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf had warned both benches after Donaldson was hit, leading to Sanchez's ejection in the eighth for plunking Escobar. Two Royals batters had been hit by pitches in Saturday’s game as well.
In his postgame comments, Royals manager Ned Yost denied that his pitchers were intentionally throwing at Toronto's hitters, but Bautista responded critically to Yost’s comments on Twitter.
Ventura, who earned the win after starting Saturday’s 7–6 Royals win, responded to Bautista on Twitter in tweets that were later deleted, but which Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan captured before they were erased.
In those tweets, according to two people who read and translated them, Ventura said to Bautista: "We'll meet again later and if you do that with me, you'll see what I'm about. I don't care about anybody. I used to respect you, but you're a nobody.… You got lucky this time, but MLB doesn't get canceled after this season. Keep running your mouth.… You need to stop giving signs. You're gonna get it from me for being fresh and you really are a nobody."
In a subsequent tweet that was not deleted, Ventura said in Spanish, “I take responsibility for my words. I’m not scared.”
Sportsnet columnist Shi Davidi got a response from Bautista on Tuesday, with 12-year veteran saying he wouldn’t speculate on Ventura’s motivations and that he was not aware of any history between himself and the Royals' pitcher.
Later on Monday, Ventura took to Twitter once again to issue an apology to Bautista, retracting his comments and asking for forgiveness.
Bautista responded in Spanish, telling Ventura not to worry and wishing him good luck with the rest of his season.
The Blue Jays won three games of the four-game series, climbing to 54–52, six games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East. The Royals are 62–42, still eight games up in the AL Central.
- Mike Fiammetta