Robbie Ray wins anthem ‘standoff’ for Mariners, gets tossed for efforts
Leave it to Robbie Ray to provide a little levity for a Mariners team perhaps in need of it.
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 MLive.com has a pretty good summation of the phenomenon.
You can watch a clip of Sunday’s ordeal at Kauffman Stadium below.
"It's a TKO! Robbie Ray, the heavyweight champ!" pic.twitter.com/u9gBwgrglr
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 25, 2022
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.