In case you weren't tuned in to last night's controversial second inning of the game between the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals, allow me to fill you in.
Reds rookie Elly De La Cruz stepped to the plate and Nationals' manager Dave Martinez had a problem. Apparently, De La Cruz maintains the plastic housing of a swing tracking device on the knob of his bat.
This was called into question by the Nats skipper and, after a lengthy delay, De La Cruz was asked by the umpiring crew to remove the plastic housing before his at-bat against former Cincinnati farmhand Josiah Gray. De La Cruz struck out in his first at-bat.
Outrage over Elly De La Cruz's 'antics' is rich coming from Juan Soto's former manager.
Fast-forward to the top of the fifth inning, and after Major League Baseball had a discussion with the umpires, we learned that Elly De La Cruz had approval to use the plastic cover so long as the electronic swing tracking device was not part of the equation.
De La Cruz then launched his fourth home run of the season over 450-feet into right-center field and as the Reds rookie jogged toward first base, he gestured toward Cincinnati's dugout and to the knob of his bat.
Apparently that didn't sit well with Dave Martinez. Here's what the Nationals manager had to say after the game (via MLB.com):
"I love the way he plays the game. I didn't like his antics after he hit the home run. We could do without that. He's only got [a couple] weeks in the big leagues. But he's going to be a good player."- Dave Martinez, Nationals manager
Really, Davey? This is the same manager who presided over Juan Soto's first four years in the major leagues. Yes, the same Juan Soto who enjoys staring down rival pitchers, shuffling in the batters' box after taking a ball, and any number of other obscure gestures toward the opposition.
So forgive me if I find Martinez's pearl-clutching comments a bit hypocritical. The game has shied away from the traditional "act like you've been there before" era and has embraced the new idea of "let the kids play".
If Dave Martinez doesn't like Elly De La Cruz's "antics", perhaps he should instruct his pitcher to throw a better ball next time. In fact, since the Cincinnati Reds' star has gone 8-for-14 in the series against the Washington Nationals, perhaps Martinez should just hold up four fingers before De La Cruz even gets in the batters' box.