There couldn’t more relaxed baseball environment than Spring Training. Maybe it’s the warm weather, maybe it’s the relatively low stakes at hand, but Spring Training is a much-less intense baseball experience compared to the regular season.
That is, unless, one player does something to set off another teammate.
If you were listening to the 10:00 am hour of the Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan, something may have perked your ear. It was Ken Giles absolutely losing it on David Paulino. Hat tip to @BVHJays for pointing this out.
Clarifying, since the RTd tweet from Blair looks to be deleted: The radio broadcast caught Ken Giles unleashing on David Paulino for wanting to sit out on a first-base-play drill, questioning if he wants to be on the team and using several F-bombs.
— BVH (@BVHJays) March 14, 2019
There’s no video footage of this, so we’re going off audio and first-hand testimony of the altercation, but according to Blair and Stephen Brunt, Paulino refused to participate in a fielding drill … and that’s when the Blue Jays’ closer stepped in spoke up with some harsh words.
If you listen to the 1:25:00 mark of the Jeff Blair Show just before they throw to break, you can hear a lot of yelling in the background from one party (Giles) and his tirade filled with several audible f-bombs. Here’s my amateur transcription of what was said:
“Then [expletive] do it. That’s right, I [expletive] went there and I [expletive] went and did it. If you [expletive] don’t like it, then get the [expletive] out of here, now.
Later in the show, Brunt revealed it was Marcus Stroman who stepped in and separated Giles and Paulino. Apparently, after the dust settled on the field, nobody was in Paulino’s corner in the aftermath of the altercation.
One thing of note; both Giles and Paulino were teammates with the Astros roster last year, so there may be a bit of a history there. This may have been a behaviour that Giles has witnessed in years past with the Astros. It’s not as though Giles chewed out a rookie player he just met for not participating in a fielding drill.
Yes, in-season, an altercation between two players would be cause for concern. I can’t recall the last time two Blue Jays players yelled at each other on-camera or in front of microphones, but John Gibbons ripped Kevin Pillar in the dugout last season and had a public dust-up with Josh Donaldson the year prior.
While it may not have been the most tactful approach, the Blue Jays coaching staff was probably relieved to see a veteran like Giles step in and remind Paulino that these drills apply to all players. If it wasn’t Giles, it would’ve been Charlie Montoyo; someone who has repeatedly emphasised he wants the Blue Jays to play hard.
Refusing to participate in an infield drill is the exact opposite of that.
This altercation was troubling for Paulino because he’s still fighting for a spot on the Blue Jays Opening Day roster. We shall see whether his refusal to run this drill will put him in the manager’s doghouse or not.
Shortly after the Giles-Paulino dust-up was caught on-air, Sean Reid-Foley hilariously defused the situation by suggesting the altercation stemmed from a disagreement about bookbags.