The Cardinals and Reds engaged in the first benches-clearing incident of the 2021 MLB season Saturday at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Reds outfielder Nicholas Castellanos was at the center of it.
Castellanos stood over pitcher Jake Woodford at home plate and yelled at him after scoring on a wild pitch in the fourth inning. Castellanos was still upset about Woodford hitting him with a pitch earlier in the inning.
“I wore 93 in the ribs, that doesn’t feel good,” Castellanos said after the game, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.
“I stood up and said, ‘Let’s f—ing go’ and I walked off,” Castellanos added, per Rosecrans.
Woodford and catcher Yadier Molina jawed at Castellanos, which got everyone on the field. No punches were visible on the TV feeds.
There was a flareup minutes later in the outfield as the bullpens headed back to their respective locations. Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks and Reds shortstop Eugenio Suarez were among the principals. Again, no punches were seen.
Castellanos was the only person ejected. The Reds went on to win the game 9-6.
The St. Louis-Cincinnati dislike stretches back more than a decade. An actual brawl between the teams took place in 2010, also in Cincinnati. Molina was in the center of that one, too.
That said, Castellanos voiced his respect for the veteran Molina.
“That guy could punch me in the face and I’d still ask him for a signed jersey,” Castellanos told reporters, per Rosecrans.
There was speculation that the Cardinals were retaliating for how Castellanos skipped out of the batter’s box on his Opening Day home run Thursday. Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright tried to squash that talk. Wainwright seemed more upset that Castellanos offered Woodford the ball that hit him.
“That’s tired. He should know better than that,” Wainwright said, per Katie Woo of The Athletic.