Kiermaier comments on picking up Jays' card

Montoyo moving on from incident: 'Agua under the bridge'

September 22nd, 2021

Before Tuesday's game between the Blue Jays and Rays game at Tropicana Field, Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier addressed an incident from Monday's series opener in which he appeared to pick up a card from Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk's wristband that had the Blue Jays' gameplan for how to pitch to Rays hitters.

After Kiermaier was tagged out at the plate on a slide in the sixth inning, he noticed the card sitting next to him in the dirt and picked it up on his way back to the dugout.

The incident was first reported on by Sportsnet's Arash Madani, who spoke to Kiermaier before Tuesday’s game.

"When it was there, I saw a piece -- the play happened so fast, honestly, the play happened so fast," Kiermaier told Madani about the card. "I picked it up, didn't know what it was, whether it was mine or not. They're all pretty similar, and then, as I picked it up, I realized it was that.

"I never even looked at it, I'll say that. But at the same time, I'm not going to drop it or hand it back. I hope they -- I don't know what [the Blue Jays'] thoughts were about it or whatnot -- at the time, though, I saw it on the ground and I picked it up nonchalantly, not thinking anything of it. And haven't heard anything of it since. Everything was so quick, and after I did it, I was like, 'Dang, their scouting reports, or whatever it was, were on the ground and I grabbed it.' Like I said, it got to the point that I'm not going to return it or do that. It's September, whatever. I didn't know what was going on."

Rays manager Kevin Cash and Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo met on the field before the game to discuss the incident.

“[Cash] did apologize to me," Montoyo said after the Blue Jays' 4-2 win over the Rays on Tuesday. "He apologized to Pete Walker and Ross Atkins. Again, he’s my friend over there and he came and apologized. Now, it’s agua under the bridge.”

Kiermaier told Madani that at first he thought the card could be his outfield positioning card, and once he realized it wasn't, he gave it to a member of the Rays' staff in the dugout.

"I keep [my outfield positioning card] in my pocket. Initially, I thought it could've been that," Kiermaier said. "And then, like I said, I don't remember what I read, but I knew it wasn't my card. Then, like I said, at that point I'm not giving it back. It is what it is. I hope I didn't offend anyone or anything like that.

"I handed it to one of our other personnel in the dugout. I couldn't even tell you what happened from that point on. I didn't have a conversation, but I told one of our players, 'I think I grabbed something from them.' I don't even know. I just know it wasn't mine. But again, it got to a point that I picked it up and wasn't going to return it or give it back.

"That was definitely weird. Everything happened so fast."

Cash also spoke about the incident after Tuesday night's game, mentioning his apologies to Montoyo, Atkins and Walker and maintaining that he doesn't believe this will be an issue going forward.

"Look, the card's on the ground. KK, I believe by what he said, he thought it could have been his outfield card. Went from there," Cash said. "I actually saw the video just before the game. It looked like he was considering giving it back, and he just said, 'Forget it. Whatever. It's sitting here. I'm gonna pick it up and take it in.'”