According to the rules of etiquette, it’s impolite to stare at someone. According to Major League Baseball, it’s now an ejectable and finable offense.
Prior to Saturday’ night’s Phillies-Red Sox game, Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm engaged in an epic staredown with Boston’s Kutter Crawford. Strahm pitched for the Red Sox last season and remains friendly with Crawford.
After the national anthem was over, the two remained on the field, each in front of their respective dugouts, staring at one another for over two minutes.
We have an old fashioned standoff between Kutter Crawford and @mattstrahm … pic.twitter.com/InglMFjufR
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) May 6, 2023
Both were ejected from the game and fined by MLB for not leaving the field after the umpire’s warning. There was no real animosity and the episode was entirely unplanned.
“Anthem was over and I looked across and Kutter kind of gave me a grin and I knew exactly what that grin meant so just stood there,” Strahm told WEEI’s Rob Bradford, “There was zero plan on that. Just locked eyes after the anthem and both still had our hat over our heart and neither of us were moving.”
The 31-year-old left-hander blamed his competitive nature for the incident while acknowledging the silliness of the whole thing.
“Looking back on it, probably not the wisest decision I’ve made in my big league career,” Strahm said, “I guess I should’ve known better with how strict they are with pitch clock.”
Crawford’s ejection was no problem for the Red Sox. He’s on the 15-day injured list anyway, but with Ranger Suarez expected to rejoin the team soon, Strahm was recently moved to the bullpen. The Phillies could’ve used him in what turned out to be a 7-4 loss.
No one knows exactly how much money each player lost for their friendly prank, but baseball fans will have to look long and hard to find a weirder story this season.