Today in “You Talking to Me?”: Pirates first baseman John Nogowski helped to clear the benches Friday in Pittsburgh by accusing Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman of talking, um, stuff to him.
Nogowski had just lined out to New York first baseman Pete Alonso to end the fifth inning. Stroman was fired up about getting out of a jam. He yelled toward the ground as he began his walk to the dugout. Maybe Nogowski thought Stroman was yelling at him and showing him up, or that he was being undignified.
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Profanities ensued. Fortunately, as SNY’s Gary Thorne noted, both men spoke clearly enough to help out lip readers during the replay of the exchange.
Nogowski to Stroman: “Damn it. Yeah, keep talking s—.”
Stroman to Nogowski: “Nobody’s f—ing talking s— to you. Who’s talking s— to you?”
Stroman eventually stepped to Nogowski, with Mets catcher James McCann keeping the two from having to get physical. The scene was intense for several seconds as the dugouts emptied, but it was all over before the bullpens could arrive.
The incident wasn’t totally comical because someone stepped on Stroman’s toe after the benches emptied. Stroman appeared to avoid an injury, but he was done for the night after recording that out.
Stroman then jawed at Nogowski from the dugout in the top of the sixth. He said in his postgame Zoom call that he was giving Nogowski grief for running away from a fight.
“He’s just a clown,” Stroman said, smiling (video from SNY’s Steve Gelbs). “(Mets reliever) Drew Smith told me was a clown. He’s a clown. He knows I wasn’t talking any s— to him. You can look at the video: I put my head down and looked right at our dugout, literally put my head down and started walking to the dugout, and he proceeded to run his mouth.”
“I’ll never let anyone talk down on me, no man. I’m not scared of anybody,” Stroman added.
Nogowski was, let’s say, less open about what happened.
“Man, it was just two competitive guys going at it,” he said with a smile (video from SNY). “I mean, that’s the biggest spot in the game. I had a real good at-bat going up to that point and hit that ball well. They had me played perfect and he was fired up for his team to get that out. You know, you’ve got two competitive guys out there, stands full, you know, it gets a little heated sometimes, but, shoot, that’s why we love it.”
(Announced attendance at PNC Park: 18,119, i.e., not full.)
Stroman was involved in a similar incident June 1 with the Diamondbacks’ Josh Rojas. The two had words after an out. Rojas later said that he was trying to fire up his team, which had ended a 17-game losing streak a few days earlier. It must have worked, because the last-place D-backs won that night.
And now the last-place Pirates have a W after this exchange. They can talk mess about it until Saturday’s game.