For about three-quarters of the MLB season, it seemed like the Seattle Mariners were a lock to make the playoffs. In fact, fans were already moaning at the All-Star break how boring the American League playoff race was, with Boston, New York, Houston, and Cleveland all but assured a postseason berth, and the Mariners seemingly locked into the second Wild Card spot.
Then the Oakland Athletic started a remarkable charge. Combined with a stunning Seattle choke job, the two teams have swapped places in the Wild Card standings. With a month of the season to go, the A’s have a 5.5 game lead over the Mariners for that final AL playoff spot. Tensions are high, especially in Seattle, where players are increasingly frustrated as the their playoff hopes slip further away every day.
The result? A locker room fight between Dee Gordon and Jean Segura before Tuesday’s game, which they ended up losing to the lowly Baltimore Orioles. According to reports from the assembled media, it started with Gordon asking the media to step out of the clubhouse for a minute. Perhaps he wanted an impromptu players only meeting that baseball clubhouses are famous for. Unfortunately, it quickly turned into a full-on melee.
Here’s Ryan Divish’s account of the altercation, from The Seattle Times:
As the media stood near the doors of the Mariners’ clubhouse in Safeco Field, waiting for a 3:20 p.m. media availability with manager Scott Servais, Gordon approached the group and said quietly, “Could you guys clear out of the clubhouse for just a few minutes, please?”
After asking the media to leave, Gordon basically remained in the same spot. But then just a few minutes later, there was the sound of yelling, bodies moving and commotion. The once-closed doors to the clubhouse crashed open, showing an altercation between two players and about six players, including Cameron Maybin, Mike Zunino and Nick Vincent trying to break it up. Robinson Cano and others could be seen coming over to help defuse the situation. The actual participants couldn’t be seen in the mass of bodies. And the doors were shut again. But Gordon could be heard screaming obscenities.
There is speculation that the argument started over Gordon dropping an easy fly ball during Monday’s game, although Seattle would eventually win that game regardless. Players are refusing to comment on the fight, with Robinson Cano telling reporters “what happens in here, stays in here.” Perhaps he should ensure the clubhouse doors don’t have windows before the next donnybrook.
Mariners manager Scott Servais tried to downplay the incident, suggesting players are just frustrated and basically shrugging his shoulders and giving the cliche “these things happen” answer.
“Things happen in a clubhouse,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Our guys are working through it and talking through it. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. It happens a lot more than you know. Almost every year you see it. Sometimes it brings teams together. Things reach a boiling point and you have to get it off your chest. With how our season has gone, the frustration mounts. Along the way, there are bumps in the road.”
RIP to the 2018 Mariners.