SEATTLE MARINERS

What They Said: Mariners, Angels, umpire crew chief on Sunday’s brawl

Jun 26, 2022, 6:59 PM | Updated: 7:07 pm
Mariners Jesse Winker...
The Mariners' Jesse Winker and Justin Upton following a brawl with the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Mariners’ series finale in Anaheim against the Angels got messy.

Angels top Mariners 2-1 after lengthy brawl gets eight ejected

Eight people – six players and both managers – were ejected for their roles in a lengthy brawl that took place during the second inning of what would eventually be a 2-1 Angels win. What led to the brawl – Angels opener Andrew Wantz throwing the first pitch that Mariners phenom Julio Rodríguez saw in the first inning over his head (watch), then hitting Mariners cleanup hitter Jesse Winker to start the second inning – appeared to be telegraphed by the Angels.

Why?

Late in the Mariners’ 5-3 win Saturday night, a 1-0 pitch from Seattle reliever Erik Swanson went up and in to Angels superstar Mike Trout (watch). The Mariners then intentionally walked Trout, who represented the tying run, with two outs and a runner already on second base.

After the game, Trout made comments indicating he was not happy with Swanson’s pitch.

“I get that you are trying to throw up and in, but not at the head,” Trout said. “If you can’t pitch inside, don’t pitch inside. If you’re gonna hit me, hit me in the ribs, don’t hit me in the head. I don’t know if that was the intent, but anything at the head, you don’t do that.”

On Sunday morning, Angels interim manager Phil Nevin opted to start Wantz, a reliever, over scheduled starter José Suárez. Putting that together with Trout’s comments, it seemed pretty clear that the Angels intended to throw at a Mariners hitter, most likely Rodríguez. In fact, it was even the subject of the roundtable segment on the Mariners pregame show on Seattle Sports.

After the brawl, Mariners manager Scott Servais, Winker, Rodríguez and shortstop J.P. Crawford were ejected. On the Angels’ side, it was Nevin, Wantz, and relievers Ryan Tepera and Raisel Iglesias, the latter of whom threw a tub of sunflower seeds on the field after the teams had gone back to their dugouts.

So what did those involved have to say after the game? Read the collection of quotes below.

Scott Servais, Mariners manager (ejected)

Main statement:

Certainly, a lot of stuff that probably shouldn’t happen in the game happened out there today. Emotions running high, but it’s pretty clear what was going on. You know, they switched, put an opener in, they’re gonna throw some balls at us – got out of hand from there, and kind of a black eye on (what had) been a very good series, competitive series. It kinda got crazy there in the second inning, but I’ve often said that (when) people show you who they are, believe them. And I’ll leave it at that.

Any injuries for the team stemming from the brawl?

The guys are OK. I’m pretty sore. Old guy in the middle of it, not a good spot to be.

Is the issue over after Sunday?

Keep playing baseball. Play the game the right way. I don’t think there’s any point in getting to that level in the game today. This is not the 1960s and 70s.

Phil Nevin, interim Angels manager (ejected)

Main statement:

Look, you play eight games in a matter of a week against the same team, things like this happen. The scheduling, tensions, that’s baseball sometimes, unfortunately. There’s some ugly incidents once in a while. I think that’s just what happened today.

Andrew Wantz, Angels pitcher (ejected)

Main statement:

I was pretty amped up for my first start, and the first one just got away from me. It was sweaty. I was sweating. First day game I’ve pitched in (in the majors), and that’s that. Second one to Winker was a cut fastball inside and (I) just yanked it. That’s all I’ve got to say.

Adrian Johnson, umpiring crew chief

*Note: Johnson was not the home plate umpire for Sunday’s game

Main statement:

I’m not aware of the incident with Trout from last night. You’re talking about the pitch that went over his head. That was nothing for us to issue warnings today. What happened today was a guy got hit. We had warnings in.

Why was Julio Rodríguez ejected?

That will be in the incident report to Major League Baseball.

Jesse Winker, Mariners LF (hit by pitch, ejected)

On if he regrets making gestures to the crowd:

The only thing I’m going to apologize for is flipping fans off. That’s it. As fans, they’re spending their hard earned money to come watch us play a game and they didn’t deserve that. So I apologize to the fans, especially the women and children.

Was there tension coming into the game following Swanson’s pitch over Trout’s head?

There was no intent behind Swanson’s pitch yesterday, so I came to work today just ready to play a baseball game.

Julio Rodríguez, Mariners CF (thrown at, ejected)

Main statement:

I was just expecting to play a fun baseball game today, but you guys all watched the game so you guys saw what happened. … I’m just trying to beat everybody with baseball. That’s why I step on the field, to be the best baseball player. I’m not trying to fight nobody. If we’re gonna play baseball, we’re gonna try to beat each other with baseball, not with anything else.

Did he do anything in the brawl worthy of an ejection?

I was trying to pull people away.

J.P. Crawford, Mariners SS (ejected)

Did he think the issue was over after the Angels threw at Rodríguez?

We all know what they’re doing at that point. You know, we’re not dumb, no one’s dumb. You don’t need to be using the opener, especially with a good starter like Suárez. We all know what’s going on.

What does he say to his teammates at that point?

I always tell them I got them. I’m not the chirpy type of Chihuahua type of guy. Just know I got your back. When stuff hits the fan, I got you. I’m gonna be the first one out there every time.

Marco Gonzales, Mariners starting pitcher

Was the tension different at all before Sunday’s game?

I don’t think so. I think the tension was on their side. We didn’t feel like there was anything that should have carried over. We were trying to win a game last night in the ninth inning, and the comments after the game last night on their side probably flared them up. But we’re trying to win a game. I don’t understand the tension from their side, really.

Did he think the issue was over after the Angels threw at Rodríguez?

Yeah. That’s usually how it goes. They sent their message, and I thought that message was more than enough. It was very unnecessary, and then to hit another guy after that just shows where they’re at. They showed us who they are.

On the ugliness of the incident:

My only comment is it’s classless. To throw at Julio, who’s a kid, over something that happened last night, we’re trying to win a ballgame in the ninth inning (and we) put the tying run on base. I mean, it’s just classless to change your pitcher before the game. It’s clear, the intention’s clear – they called down to the bullpen right after the first pitch is thrown. They knew what they were doing. And, you know, we stayed within ourselves. I feel like we handled the situation well and stayed within ourselves and just tried to go win a ballgame. That’s where we’re at – we’re trying to win. I can’t say the same for what they’re doing over there.

Mariners fan sends Jesse Winker pizza after ejection

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What They Said: Mariners, Angels, umpire crew chief on Sunday’s brawl