In the sixth inning of the Rays’ eventual victory on Monday, Tampa Bay outfielder Kevin Kiermaier slipped into home plate, and during the action at home plate, a data card with, in part, information on how Jays pitchers would attack Rays hitters apparently fell out of receiver Alejandro Kirk’s pocket. Kiermaier retrieved the card and kept it.
Here’s a video and additional context from Arash Madani:
According to Madani, the Blue Jays are “not happy” that Kiermaier picked up and kept the card. Madani then tweeted Kiermaier’s somewhat rambling response when asked what happened:
According to Kiermaier, he initially thought maybe it was his positioning card for the outfield that he keeps in his pocket, but once he realized that was not it , he refused to hand it over.
As SportsNet’s Mandani and Shi Davidi later reported, the Jays sent a bat boy to the Tampa Bay canoe to request the return of the card, but the request was denied, albeit in a way. that seemed like a joke. This refusal to return the card, which most likely provided the Rays with actionable insight into the Jays’ approach to them, is likely what stuck in Toronto’s throat. Whether you think Kiermaier and the Rays are off limits on this probably depends on whether you think the Jays data card is fair play once it falls out of the receiver’s pocket.
It’s also worth noting that the Rays in a since-deleted tweet have apparently referred to the incident while noting that the team is on the cusp of winning the Division title:
The Jays and Rays meet Tuesday and Wednesday for the last time of this regular season. Perhaps this question will be revisited during these contests.
The Rays can clinch a playoff berth on Tuesday with a win over the Blue Jays, a loss for the Yankees to the Rangers (or a loss for the Red Sox to the Mets) and an A loss to the Mariners. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, enter Tuesday’s contest with a 1/2 game lead over the Yankees for the last place in the AL wild card.