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Alex Verdugo calls Alek Manoah's celebrations disrespectful; Manoah doesn't care
Major League Baseball

Alex Verdugo calls Alek Manoah's celebrations disrespectful; Manoah doesn't care

Updated Apr. 5, 2023 2:15 p.m. ET

After multiple days of sportsmanship debate in the basketball world, the discourse has made its way back into the baseball world. 

Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo shared that he isn't a fan of the way Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah celebrates on the mound during an appearance on the "Baseball Isn't Boring Podcast" on Tuesday. Verdugo recalled Manoah's trash-talking to former Red Sox teammate Franchy Cordero and current teammate Bobby Dalbec after he struck both of them out in a game last season, believing that Manoah went over the top and was disrespectful. 

"If it's a genuine reaction and it’s for the boys, not directed towards somebody, then yeah [it’s fine]," Verdugo said about celebrating. "Like, I’ll say it right now, I think Alek Manoah goes about it the wrong way, 100 percent I think he does. You can find videos of him, footage of him in Triple-A going like this to hitters. Last year, telling Franchy and Bobby like go sit, s--- like that and looking right at them.

"So it’s like, s--- like that just pisses me off. It’s not the way it should be played. It should be played like you’re celebrating it with your team, you’re not f---ing disrespecting another player who is — at the end of the day we’re just trying to compete, that’s it."

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When Manoah was asked about Verdugo's comment before Tuesday's Blue Jays game, he dished a little more trash talk.   

"Coming from him? I don’t give a s---," Manoah told Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun. "My job is to pitch and get guys out."

Verdugo isn't the first division rival of Manoah's to take issue with his on-field demeanor. After Manoah plunked Yankees star Aaron Judge in a game last season, Gerrit Cole exchanged words with the Blue Jays ace before leaving the dugout to express his disapproval of the play. 

If you believe that your performance must back up your trash talk, then Manoah has done that for much of his young career. He's been one of the game's top young pitchers since entering the league in 2021, earning an All-Star nod in 2022 amid going 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA. In the game Verdugo referenced from last year, Manoah allowed just one run over seven innings, striking out seven Red Sox hitters in the process. 

But even if a player is performing well, Verdugo believes that they should keep their celebrations to themselves and their teammates and try not to disrespect the opponent. 

"I don't like that s---," Verdugo said about staring down other players and talking trash after a play. "That's when I start having a little bit of problems with it. It's like, hey, you want to pimp s---, you want to look at the ball and do whatever you want — skip, hop, jump — like look at the ball. There's no reason to stare at the pitcher and be like, 'Yeah, what's up.'

"And then, vice versa, with the pitcher striking out a hitter. You want to get fired up, look at your dugout and [be] like, 'Let's go.' You don't need to look at me at the plate and be like, 'F--- you, let's go.' ... I think that's when you start getting a little bit muddy. But if it's a genuine reaction and it's for the boys, not against [or] not directed toward somebody, then yeah, [it's fine]."

Verdugo's Red Sox and Manoah's Blue Jays will face off for the first time this season on May 1 in Boston.

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