Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman fired back at NESN’s Dennis Eckersley for comments he made about him during his latest start against the Boston Red Sox.
Marcus Stroman continues to add to his reputation as a villain in Boston. After dominating the Red Sox over six shutout innings on Sunday, the Toronto Blue Jays starter looked to humiliate Dennis Eckersley on social media.
Stroman’s criticism of the Hall of Fame pitcher was ignited by comments made by Eckersley from the NESN booth during the game. Stroman’s animated celebration and glare into the Red Sox dugout following a strikeout of Eduardo Nunez to end the sixth inning led to a discussion with fellow analyst Jerry Remy in which Eckersley called the Toronto starter’s actions “tired.”
The comments clearly ruffled Stroman and his supporters, many of whom fired back at Eckersley by calling him a hypocrite because he was well known for his enthusiastic reactions on the mound during his playing days. Stroman retweeted several of these types of comments and replied to a couple of them, calling Eckersley a “clown” and stating that “his comments are always trash.”
That’s a fairly strong reaction to Eck’s relatively tame words. He’s not wrong about Eckersley’s comments being a bit hypocritical, with some of his retweets providing video evidence of Eck fist-pumping and hollering in celebration of big moments. Maybe Eck isn’t the ideal choice to scold Stroman for doing the same but as an analyst, it’s his job to react to what happens on the field. Is it that hard to believe that Eck regrets his actions in retrospect and wants this generation to learn from his mistakes?
There’s also a history here that adds context to this feud.
This isn’t the first time that Stroman has been involved in a bit of controversy when facing the Red Sox. When these teams met last month in Toronto, Stroman’s quick-pitch to Michael Chavis when the rookie tried to call for a timeout wasn’t well received by the Red Sox. Chris Sale yelled out from the dugout in defense of his teammate. Alex Cora mentioned Stroman’s antics after the game, to which Stroman suggested that the Red Sox manager needed to “get over it.”
Stroman is also close friends with David Price, who spent half a season with Toronto in 2015 prior to signing with the Red Sox. Price had a well-documented confrontation with Eckersley in 2017 that stemmed from the analyst blurting out “Yuck” in reaction to the results from Eduardo Rodriguez‘ rehab outing. Price mocked Eckersley as he boarded the team plane and cursed him out when he attempted to respond.
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Price has since put his squabbles with the Boston media behind him and his postseason heroics have silenced most of the critics who once wanted to run him out of town. Stroman, who pitches for a division rival, isn’t as eager to move on. If anything, he’s looking to pour gasoline on the fire.
Baseball players don’t like it when anyone shows them up. Pitchers hate it when a hitter flips their bat while admiring a home run and hitters get irked when a pitcher gets excited about striking them out. Analysts aren’t allowed to have an opinion either way without ruffling some feathers. Honestly, they are all being too sensitive. You should get excited if you make a great play! Showing a little emotion might actually help players connect to the fans. Expecting them to act like robots in order to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings is why MLB struggles to find charismatic stars.
That being said, there has to be a limit to expressing those personalities. There’s nothing wrong with Stroman fist-pumping after striking out a batter. Verbally taunting the batter may push the boundary but it’s mostly harmless as long as they don’t make things personal. Publically bashing Eckersley was uncalled for and puts Stroman on the verge of crossing that line.