Fox Sport’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports Kansas City skipper Ned Yost recently ordered his players to put the kibbosh on friendly chit-chat with members of the opposition while on the basepaths. If you’re surprised to learn this is the biggest concern facing the last place Royals, perhaps your mind will be equal blown upon discovering Yost’s edict was provoked by complaints from the club’s Fox Sports mouthpieces, Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler.
Lefebvre reiterated his pet peeve again last Monday night after Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales delivered a three-run single in the eighth inning to seal a 6-3 win over the Royals. Moments later, Morales advanced to second, where Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar and second baseman Yuni Betancourt suddenly began smiling and exchanging in conversation with him.
That sight prompted Lefebvre to say: “I don’t want to get on my soapbox again, but if I’m a pitcher, I think it would really burn me to see my middle infielders laughing and joking with a guy who just hit a three-run double off me as he stands on second base. I don’t get it.
“And I’m not saying the Royals are the only team that does it. You see it a lot more these days. If I’m a pitcher, I wouldn’t want to see my guys doing it. I mean, what could be so urgent that you’d have to talk to the guy on the other team who just hit a potentially game-winning hit?
Hudler then chimed in, “You’re not old. Age has nothing to do with it. It’s something I see as well. But it’s a culture that’s not going to change unless some of the veteran guys see to it. Or management says something about it.”
Hudler commented on Kansas City radio station WHB: “You can stand 10 feet away from a player and smooth out the dirt and still talk to a player without giving the appearance that you’re in his back pocket. When you’re in uniform out there, respect the game of baseball and respect your teammates. And stay out of the back pockets of opponents when people are watching. It makes me want to vomit.”