It seemed appropriate that as manager Ned Yost was addressing the U.S. Bill of Rights while meeting with reporters in the Royals dugout before Wednesday’s game, the evening’s crooner, contemporary Christian recording artist Matthew West, was belting out a practice version of the “Star-Spangled Banner” over the stadium loudspeakers.
Yost had to speak over the anthem to get his point across.
“The great thing about this country is you get to listen to the national anthem … and to have freedom of speech,” Yost said. “They can say whatever the heck they want to say. It doesn’t matter to us.”
That’s a reference to the latest sound track from Oakland Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie, who said the recently completed series with the Royals “wasn’t baseball,” and called out Royals fans for “antagonizing everything.”
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The Royals and A’s engaged in a baseball feud throughout the three-game series, and it started with Lawrie’s hard slide into Alcidies Escobar in Friday’s opening game.
Before the weekend was over, benches cleared three times. Saturday, Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura plunked Lawrie and on Sunday reliever Kelvin Herrera threw behind Lawrie. Both Royals were ejected.
Ventura was fined by baseball for his actions and Herrera was handed a five-game suspension, which he has appealed.
“Shame on their fans for antagonizing everything that went on there, because that had a lot to do with it,” Lawrie said. “Shame on the players and their team that went with it.”
Yost responded by figuratively waving the Constitution.
“I revert back to the Bill of Rights,” Yost said.
The same message was delivered in the Royals clubhouse.
“We’re not worried about what teams are saying,” outfielder Lorenzo Cain said. “We’re worried about winning ball games. That’s all we care about.”