Benches clear in Mets-Pirates after lineout 

Mets' Marcus Stroman, Bucs' John Nogowski exchange barbs on and off the field

July 17th, 2021

PITTSBURGH -- In their first game out of the All-Star break, things got heated between the Mets and the Pirates at PNC Park on Friday night.

With a runner on third and two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Pirates first baseman John Nogowski lined out to Mets first baseman Pete Alonso to end the frame. Mets starter Marcus Stroman hopped off the mound fired up, shouting back to his dugout.

But Nogowski took exception and pointed back at Stroman, who crossed by the Pirate on the way to the visiting dugout, as Nogowski shouted in his direction. Stroman responded, Nogowski walked toward him while continuing to voice his disapproval and the benches quickly emptied and joined together on the third-base side of the mound.

“If I have any emotion, it's towards our dugout. It's never at the other team's, it's never at any other players and they know that,” Stroman said. “So for him to come and be like that in that situation, I think it's completely uncalled for.”

Nogowski said after the game that the situation was just “two competitive guys going at it.”

“That’s a big spot in the game,” Nogowski said. “… He was fired up for his team to get that out. So, you know, you’ve got two competitive guys out there, stands full, it gets a little heated sometimes. But shoot, that’s why we love it.”

The bullpens also emptied after the two butted heads, but by the time those players arrived, Nogowski had begun to walk back to the dugout and Stroman appeared to be in some form of discomfort before sprinting back to the dugout. The tension dissipated on the field, and the umpires held a conference with managers Derek Shelton and Luis Rojas.

No ejections were issued after the scuffle.

"I think it's one of those things where you get a couple guys talking to each other and they clear," Shelton said. "Once we got out there, both staffs and the players did a good job. It became a non-issue pretty fast."

The jawing continued in the top of the sixth, when Nogowski engaged Stroman in some banter from first base while the right-hander was on the visiting dugout's railing. However, nothing further escalated -- and Nogowski claimed to not even recall the conversation.

“I don’t even remember. Were we talking?” Nogowski said. “I don’t know. I’ve got some friends over there that I was probably laughing with.”

Video tells a much different story, and so does Stroman, who was seen making hand gestures of a person walking.

“I was just wondering why he was running away,” Stroman said. “That was it."

But much like Nogowski’s postgame comments, things gradually got more diplomatic and level-headed on the field as the game went on. The teams completed the game without incident or further words.

That is until Stroman’s postgame interview shortly after the game ended, in which he said Nogowski’s “face got all red” in embarrassment, and he declared, “I fear nobody.”

“I'm never one to let any man talk down on me, especially when it's not warranted at all,” Stroman said. “He's just a clown, man.”

Nogowski had not seen Stroman’s comments by the time he spoke with the Pittsburgh media, but he knows it’s probably blown up online by now. And he’s right.

“I’m sure I will read it on TMZ or something like that,” Nogowski said. “I’m not too concerned about it.”