During a series-sweeping win over the Houston Astros Sunday afternoon, Ramón Laureano charged the Astros dugout after being hit by a pitch in back-to-back at bats — and being taunted by Astros hitting coach Alex Cintrón.
It wasn’t being hit that made Laureano snap, it was Cintrón, who ended up receiving a 20-game suspension which is the largest penalty handed out as a coach. Laureano received six games and promptly appealed it, which allowed him to play in Anaheim.
MLB made it very clear that it will not condone any fights in this Covid-tinged season. Matt Chapman this week said that one positive about their walk-off celebrations is that the A’s do not have anyone positive, so is it a big deal?
The Astros came into 2020 with a lot of hate towards them after the cheating scandal. MLB already made a rule in advance of the 2020 season that intentionally hitting Astros players will result in punishment. The Astros did not have one single hit batter in the three-game series with Oakland. The A’s, though, had five batters hit. Laureano was plunked for three of the five.
Laureano spoke to the media before to the suspension was handed down and explained that he wasn’t mad when he was hit. He was just being himself, he is known to show when he is not happy at the plate. When he got to first base though, and heard Cintrón screaming vile things about his mother, he lost it.
Laureano, 26, is a single child from the Dominican Republic. He moved to the states to pursue his dream, and has not seen his family in ten years. He said he doesn’t take comments about his family, let alone his mother, lightly:
“I don’t think anyone would take that lightly. It is a tough situation. I reacted that way, unfortunately were in very hard times when it comes to social distancing and during the pandemic and stuff like that, obviously I look like a not very smart guy but when you’re pretty emotional, especially when it’s about your mother, it is always tough.”
He obviously regrets charging at Cintrón and said it was a waste of time. He said he has put it all behind him and is just trying to focus on getting wins for his team:
“Obviously whatever decision comes and hopefully it is not as many games as people think… I’ve never been through this process, so I guess today, tomorrow. Anyway, anytime.”
Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly was suspended eight games for intentionally hitting two Astros players but was reduced to five Wednesday after the appeal. Some argue only one was intentional while others say Kelly has bad command and it was an accident. Six games for Laureano is not as bad as many were expecting. Kelly’s suspension was.
Laureano was hit twice by rookie pitcher Humberto Castellanos, but said he didn’t take it personally. He explained the Astros have a lot of young pitchers who, though they may have been called up too early, were still talented MLB pitchers, and he wasn’t offended by the pegs:
“I wasn’t going to charge the mound or anything. I was normal.”
The umpire crew came out and make sure Laureano didn’t charge the mound before he made his way over to first. Laureano motioned, showing Castellanos how to throw a slider, and that was all he had in store for teaching the pitcher a lesson. Until Cintrón made it worse:
“No, he went too far. Then he told me like come get it and I’m like get out of here. Then he said it again and that is what happened.”
An unwritten rule about coaches says they are held to a higher standard. Laureano had some words about how he is better than what he did on Sunday:
“I guess it was fun for him to do that but hey, I am a man. I’m a freaking man. Whatever happens, happens. I will take it. I couldn’t keep my cool and I should have. I wasted my time with that guy.”
Laureano’s former teammate Dustin Garneau talked him before he made his way over to the coach. Garneau held Laureano in the pile and shared what how big of an impact Garneau had:
“Yes, huge credit to him. He protected me when we were in the pile down there. I thank him a lot for that because everything would have been worse.”
Laureano said he has no beef with Astros players and this was strictly about a coach crossing the line. Laureano has appealed his suspension, which makes him eligible to play the remainder of the Anaheim series, where the Angels are creeping in as contenders for first place in the AL West.