New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman has been accused of hiding after he nearly sparked a mass brawl when he narrowly missed a Tampa Bay Rays player’s head, earning a three-game ban from MLB and scorn from coaches and pundits.
Disgraced Chapman did not speak to the press after he missed Michael Brosseau’s head by a whisker with an astonishingly ferocious pitch of 101mph in the ninth innings of the latest bitter contest between the two teams.
Players on both sides audibly sniped at each other in a row that almost came to blows, leading to a later mass confrontation that cleared the benches.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Rays manager Kevin Cash later thundered to reporters. “It was mishandled by the Yankees. Certainly the pitcher on the mound. It was mishandled by the umpires.”
“Somebody has to be accountable. The last thing I’ll say on it is I got a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph. Period.”
Yankees counterpart Aaron Boone called Cash’s words “pretty scary”, and both bosses were punished with a one-game ban for their part in the outrage.
Former Yankees All-Star Mark Teixeira was unimpressed at Chapman’s reported decision to appeal a penalty that he called “a little harsh”.
“We all know he did it on purpose,” Teixeira told ESPN analyst, adding that he thought MLB would “come down harder” on Chapman. “This is a guy who throws over 100 miles an hour and it was obviously on purpose.
“I don’t think it was right and I think it should have been more. Let’s look at the facts here. [He] didn’t talk to the media afterwards. If I had done that and it wasn’t on purpose…first of all, I don’t stare the guy down after.
“You say, ‘Hey, I am sorry. It shouldn’t have happened. I didn’t mean it.’ Apologies to Brosseau, to the Rays and it’s over with. But that’s not what happened. He hid.
“One thing that we learned as New York Yankees is we’re accountable after the games and we talk to the press.”
Chapman’s ban is due to begin on Wednesday.