In the 9th inning of the Victoria Day game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays, former Blue Jay Yunel Escobar hit a 9th inning home run to cut the Jays lead to 7-5. After making contact he flipped his bat as he headed toward first, slowly trotted around the bases, and finally finished with an overly enthusiastic safe signal as he crossed home plate.
After the game everyone was saying the right things….Joe Maddon in an attempt to diffuse the situation says he is unhappy and will speak to Escobar about the gesture, Escobar innocently says he didn’t mean anything by it and that he does it after all of his home runs, and Casey Janssen says it’s no big deal and that they were good teammates and that Escobar has a lot of buddies still on the team. Even with all the pleasantries one has to wonder if this won’t result in some sort of retribution by the Blue Jays pitching staff against a Rays player at some point either this series or in the future. Which begs the question – Did Yunel Escobar go to far in his home run celebration?
After the game Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he was not happy with Escobar’s actions and will talk to him about it (Marc Topkin Tampa Bay Times):
“I’m sure that was an emotional moment for him,” Maddon said. “The booing probably promoted the reaction that he had and I’m going to talk to him about that tomorrow. I loved the fact that he competed like he did. We’ve been talking about how well he’s been doing. He’s been doing great. I love him on this team, I love him in the clubhouse, I love everything about this young man. But I still want to talk to him about the reaction after the home run. And I’m certain you’re not going to see that again.’
Using Joel Peralta as a translator Escobar said:
“What I do at home plate I always do every time I hit a homer,” he said, with Joel Peralta translating. “I don’t want it to be something more than that. It’s something that I do every time I cross home plate.”
Toronto pitcher Casey Janssen had no issue with Escobar’s antics saying:
“I don’t think it was directed at me,” he said. “We were good teammates, I had no problem with him, he had no problem with me. I did hear the chorus of boos and I’m sure he was a little frustrated at times. He’s an emotional guy, he’s a prideful guy. It was his moment to shine and he did his thing.’