Robbie Ray wins anthem ‘standoff’ for Mariners, gets tossed for efforts

Sep 25, 2022, 12:29 PM | Updated: 10:24 pm
Mariners Robbie Ray...
Robbie Ray looks on before a Mariners game against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 7, 2022. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Leave it to Robbie Ray to provide a little levity for a Mariners team perhaps in need of it.

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Seattle’s star left-hander took part in a national anthem “standoff” with Royals right-hander Luke Weaver before the two teams’ series finale Sunday afternoon in Kansas City. The standoff went so long it actually delayed the game, which, yes, is a thing that happens sometimes.

The good news: Ray won the battle against his former Arizona Diamondbacks rotation mate, giving the Mariners – I guess (?) – a little extra momentum going into an important game as they try to lock up their first postseason berth since 2001.

The bad news: Ray got tossed, as did Weaver, because if there’s one thing umpires don’t stand for, it’s delaying a game.

(The really bad news is the Mariners blew a nine-run lead and lost Sunday’s game 13-12, but we won’t dwell on that here.)

The ejection was all harmless fun as Ray isn’t due to pitch again until Tuesday in the opener of the Mariners’ regular season-ending homestand.

So what exactly is a national anthem standoff? Well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. A player from each team stays on the field after the anthem is finished, remaining in the pose they usually strike for the pregame ritual. It turns into a game of chicken or something akin to a staring contest, and in this case it went all the way until the umpires forcefully told both Ray and Weaver to get off the field. Ray apparently is a little better at not taking orders, as Weaver finally flinched and headed for the dugout once the two pitchers were ejected.

If you’ve never heard of such a thing, well, anthem standoffs are one of those rare baseball quirks, with a few notable occurrences in the last decade. This article from has a pretty good summation of the phenomenon.

You can watch a clip of Sunday’s ordeal at Kauffman Stadium below.

Seattle ended the day in the American League’s third and final wild card spot with an 83-69 record, four games ahead of Baltimore, the first team on the outside looking in. Furthermore, the Mariners have the tiebreaker over Baltimore due to their head-to-head season record, so technically Seattle’s lead is 4 1/2 games with a magic number of six. The M’s are 2 1/2 games behind Toronto for the top wild card and a half-game back of Tampa Bay for the second spot.

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Robbie Ray wins anthem ‘standoff’ for Mariners, gets tossed for efforts