This might have been the most Seattle thing ever.
Mariners center fielder/second baseman Dee Gordon walked over to members of the media who were waiting outside manager Scott Servais’ office Tuesday afternoon.
“Could you guys clear out of the clubhouse for just a few minutes, please?” Gordon said, quietly and politely.
A few moments later, Gordon could be heard screaming obscenities as a dogpile briefly pushed open the clubhouse doors. Several sources indicated Gordon and shortstop Jean Segura were scuffling over a ball Gordon misplayed the previous night.
Hey, at least the Mariners still have some fight left in them.
Baseball brawls happen. Sometimes even between teammates – or players and managers.
Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers, two-thirds of the Chicago Cubs’ famed “Tinker to Evers to (Frank) Chance” double-play combination in the early 20th century, once fought on the field over a taxi fare. New York Yankees star Reggie Jackson and manager Billy Martin went toe-to-toe in the dugout at Fenway Park after Jackson was pulled from a game. The New York Mets’ Darryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez came to blows because of seating assignments at the photo shoot for the annual team picture. Lou Piniella, then the Cincinnati manager, and Rob Dibble got into it in the clubhouse after the reliever suggested “Sweet” Lou had lied about how he planned to use the “Nasty Boys” in the Reds’ bullpen. San Francisco Giants stars Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent had a shoving match after Kent criticized teammate David Bell. And Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and reliever Jonathan Papelbon tried choking each other in the dugout after Harper popped out.
“Things happen in the clubhouse when you are talking about 25 guys, and in this case now 35, of the most competitive of guys you are ever going to be around, and they spend what seems like every waking moment together,” Servais said. “I’ve been on a number different of teams and it’s something you will see at some point. Our guys are working through the situation. … It’s unfortunate, but it’s something that happens.”
Perhaps more than the other major professional sports.
Major league teams play 162 games from April through September, plus six weeks of spring training. During the regular season, they average about three days off per month and some of those are travel days.
Basketball and hockey seasons are half as long, with two or three games per week. On off days, players in those sports might have a two-hour practice but then get to go home to their families.
And football teams? They play once a week and generally get to sleep in their own beds even on days they have road games.
“We’re with each other every day for eight months. It’s one of those things where when you’re all grinding and all that and tensions run high,” Mariners catcher Mike Zunino told the Athletic. “We’re fortunate to be able to walk out of there with everyone healthy and everyone on the same page after.”
Whether any resentment lingers between Gordon and Segura could have an impact on the future of the franchise. With Robinson Cano seemingly destined for first base and/or designated hitter, Gordon and Segura would likely make up the Mariners’ double-play combo for years to come.
But as Tinker and Evers showed more than a century ago, maybe that doesn’t matter.
Just hope Gordon and Segura don’t try to share a cab.
Edgar Martinez might be a future Hall of Famer (which, of course, is still debatable).
But that doesn’t necessarily make the Mariners legend the right man for the job of hitting coach.
With third baseman Kyle Seager (.215) and Zunino (.189) entering the weekend not even combining to hit their weight – for the record, Zunino is listed at 220 pounds and Seager 210 – the Mariners might need to consider a change in the offseason.
With Seager signed through 2022 and Zunino, a strong defender, not eligible for free agency until 2021, chances are a coaching change is more likely than getting rid of the players.
Left-hander Marco Gonzales (12-9), the pride of Gonzaga, will be activated from the 10-day disabled list Tuesday and start that night against San Diego, Servais said.
Gonzales, who missed two starts with a strained cervical muscle in his neck, threw 35 pitches off the mound Friday.
The 26-year-old was 12-5 with a 3.37 ERA in his first 21 starts before going 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA in four August appearances.
“I was dealing with some fatigue, some neck aches, some things I was battling through and trying to push through, hoping it would get better,” Gonzales told MLB.com. “So putting that aside, I think there’s not going to be anything stopping me from returning to what I was doing before.”
After concluding their series with the Yankees on Sunday, the Mariners get a day off before a two-game set at Safeco Field against the Padres. Then it’s four games in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels.
If there’s ever a week for the M’s to make up some ground, this is it.