Alex Verdugo mic’d up is a recipe for good content. A golden opportunity for it was missed Saturday night.
The Boston Red Sox outfielder keeps things pretty light and tends to have fun interacting with opposing fans during games — either exchanging playful banter or getting them to root for him all together.
But in the second game of the series against New York, it was all fun and games until a fan threw a baseball back at Verdugo and hit him in the back. No one was hurt, but the Yankees and Major League Baseball since have banned the fan for life.
Certainly the league looked to set an example of zero tolerance after what the NBA recently dealt with in terms of fans harassing players. Regardless of intent, Red Sox manager Alex Cora believes there’s no place for that behavior at the ballpark either.
“If you go back to the (World Series) parade in ’18 some dude threw a beer to us and probably didn’t have intent of hitting us, but if it hits my daughter or hits somebody, you know, the kids there, and something bad happened, then what are we going to make out of it?” Cora said Sunday before the series finale.
Cora isn’t trying to make Verdugo change what he’s doing. The manager appreciates that Verdugo engages with spectators, and doesn’t think this extenuating circumstance should put an end to that.
“Yesterday was one incident, right?” Cora said. “You know, somebody made a bad decision throwing a baseball but I like the fact that he talks to them. The back-and-forth. One thing for sure, when I went out there it was loud and it got nasty, you know, and from both both sides. I just needed to calm him down.”
Unfortunately, we’ll never exactly know what choice words Verdugo used to instigate chants from Yankees fans and everything else that transpired, but at least ESPN will have him mic’d up when the Red Sox and Yankees battle it out again.
“He’s getting mic’d up today and it should be fun to listen to him,” Cora said. “We’ll see what happens.”
First pitch from New York is at 7:08 p.m. ET.