So, here we go. The postseason series we’d get if there’s any justice in this world. Royals and Blue Jays, two newly resurgent franchises with big designs on October, and a sharp and abiding acrimony for each other that wasn’t satisfied by yesterday’s bench-clearing or name-calling.
The four-game weekend series—taken by Toronto 3-1—did feel a little bit like the playoffs. With the Royals firmly in control of the Central and the reloaded Blue Jays knocking on the door of the wild card, a rematch certainly isn’t out of the question, and now these teams know each other very well.
“I’ve been thrown at several times in my career, I know when it’s intentional. When a ball’s thrown right at you, you know if it’s intentional or not,” Donaldson said.
Donaldson had hit the Royals hard all series, and home plate umpire Jim Wolf gave warnings to both teams in a failed effort to keep this from getting out of control. That warning proved pointless when Donaldson was brushed back in the third:
In one of many excellent burns on the day, Donaldson would later say that Volquez should have been ejected, but “I thought he was pretty good hittin’, so I don’t want him out of there.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Troy Tulowitzki was hit on the elbow by reliever Ryan Madson. The very next batter, Donaldson, had to bail out from a ball high and inside. Donaldson yelled at Wolf, as did manager John Gibbons, who earned an ejection.“I don’t think he made a lot of the right decisions today,” Donaldson said of Wolf.
“Our guy loses a two-seamer and hits a guy in the knee when we’ve had four balls thrown at our neck the entire day and our guy gets ejected, it just doesn’t seem proper.”
In the eighth, Aaron Sanchez was tossed for hitting Alcides Escobar on the thigh. Intent or not, it was the first time a Blue Jays pitcher had come inside on a Royal all day, and given the timing, the Royals didn’t like it.
No punches were thrown and the Blue Jays would take the series finale 5-2. But the real fireworks came in the postgame quotes.
“He’s a little baby,” Volquez said of Donaldson. “He was crying like a baby.”
“He got mad at everybody like he’s Barry Bonds,” Volquez said. “He’s not Barry Bonds. He’s got three years in the league. We’ve been around longer than he has.”
Volquez went to the “baby” well during the game, though his timing could have been better:
Madson offered a more charitable dissection of Donaldson, but his sentiment was the same.
“For him to get upset, I don’t think he fully understands the game, or he just let his emotions get the best of him,” Madson said. “He thought that a warning means you can’t throw inside.”
The Blue Jays didn’t have to say anything. They won the game and the series, and were largely in the right when it came to the extracurriculars. But R.A. Dickey, who got the win on the day, couldn’t resist one last shot, pointing out that as far as the Jays are concerned, the Royals don’t run the AL anymore.
“I think they’re used to pushing people around,” Dickey said of the Royals. “So when they come onto the playground and there’s a kid that’s bigger than they are for a day, I think it probably pisses them off. And I can’t blame ‘em.”
That’s some good trash talk. Of course, the best revenge is to live well. The Royals are basically a lock for the postseason. The Blue Jays have some work to do, but given their bad luck so far this year and the additions of Tulowitzki and David Price, they’ve got to be favored to make it. Perhaps they’ll find the Royals waiting for them. We should be so lucky.