Ian Kinsler was the savior of the San Diego Padres on Thursday night. With the Pittsburgh Pirates leading 2-1 in the sixth, Kinsler blasted a no-doubt three-run home run to give the Padres a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Kinsler’s home run was a beauty. It was a laser to left field, and considering it gave the Padres a lead over the Pirates, he had the right to celebrate. He pinwheeled his bat, ran the bases, and when he got to home plate, he did something ... unexpected. See if you can suss it out from the gif below.
Ian Kinsler told his own fanbase tonight to “go f*** themselves” after homering. pic.twitter.com/yMKRDrmM2C
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) May 17, 2019
Yup. As he arrived at home plate, Ian Kinsler yelled, “F--- you all!” in the general direction of the home fans gathered at Petco Park. Doesn’t seem like the friendliest thing a player could say toward their home fans, especially considering Kinsler has been on the Padres for a matter of months and is currently hitting .175/.233/.342.
The league apparently wasn’t a big fan of Kinsler’s words either after reportedly levying a fine on Friday.
— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) May 18, 2019
But the big question is, did Kinsler actually yell that at home fans? Kinsler was asked about his expletive-laced outburst after the game, and he quickly clarified that he wasn’t directing it at the home fans, but at his teammates. He told reporters that it was “an inside thing,” and he was just trying to fire everyone up.
#Padres infielder Ian Kinsler maintains that the expletives he shouted tonight after his 3-run home run were directed at his teammates, not the fans. "It's an inside thing ... I was trying to get everyone fired up." pic.twitter.com/pxJyskQU1L
— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) May 17, 2019
Kinsler didn’t explain the “inside thing,” but that seems like an odd way of firing people up. And since Kinsler has been hitting so poorly, his outburst also might have been about himself, too. It’s hard to imagine what a struggling player hears in his own head when he goes to the plate. After the game, manager Andy Green was asked what his response was to Kinsler’s “celebration.” He said that he understood it, but he also didn’t excuse it.
“[I] understand the emotion of the game a little bit, the frustration he’s felt up to this point in time in the season. Not excusing anything by any stretch, but understanding what it feels like to go to the plate every day and grind and struggle, and the world we live in, you hear a lot of hostility, and so some of that comes out at times. It’s not the right response, but understanding the emotion of the game, that’s probably the best response [to Kinsler’s celebration].”
Fans crave personality from their players on the field, and Kinsler shouldn’t censor himself. But maybe he should consider finding a way to pump up his teammates that can’t be confused with cursing out every fan at his home park.
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