With less than two weeks remaining in the MLB regular season, some bad blood is boiling between two teams who could very well meet again this postseason.
The Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly angry with the Tampa Bay Rays after outfielder Kevin Kiermaier apparently took a card with Toronto’s game plan on how to pitch to the Rays’ hitters in the sixth inning of Monday’s game.
Kiermaier was circling the bases after reaching on an error and tried for the Little League home run only to be thrown out at home plate.
That’s when Kiermaier noticed a card on the ground, which belonged to Blue Jays catcher Alejandro’s Kirk, and decided to pick it up.
According to Arash Madani of SportsNet, Toronto attempted to retrieve the missing card from the Rays’ dugout last night by sending a bat boy over, but the Rays scoffed at it.
“If there’s one card we wouldn’t want any opponent to have, it’s that one,” a source told Madani.
Rays manager Kevin Cash reportedly spoke to Blue Jays skipper Charlie Montoyo about it prior to the game. Meanwhile, Kiermaier also spoke with Madani and explained he has no intent on giving the card back.
“When it was there, I saw a piece — the play happened so fast, honestly, play happened so fast. I picked it up, didn’t know what it was, whether it was mine or not,” he said. “They’re all pretty similar and then as I picked it up I realized it was that. I never even looked at it, I’ll say that. But at the same time I’m not going to drop it or hand it back.
“…Everything was so quick and after I did it, I was like, ‘dang, their scouting reports or whatever it was, was on the ground and I grabbed it.’ Like I said, it got to the point that I’m not going to return it or do that. It’s September, whatever. I didn’t know what was going on.”
Kiermaier said he thought it could have been his outfield alignment card and eventually handed the card to one of the Rays’ personnel in the dugout and has no idea what happened to it from there.
“I didn’t have a conversation, but I told one of our players: ‘I think I grabbed something form them,’” Kiermaier said. “I don’t even know. I just know it wasn’t mine. But, again, it got to a point that I picked it up and I wasn’t going to return it or give it back. That was definitely weird. Everything happened so fast.”
The Blue Jays are in the midst of fighting for a wild-card spot, holding a half-game lead on the Yankees.
Toronto plays Tampa again on Tuesday and Wednesday, so the fact the Rays had the card and did not return it seems to be pretty significant.
It also may be significant if these two teams were to meet in the playoffs. Right now, should the standings hold and the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox in the one-game wild card, they would likely play the Rays in the ALDS.