KANSAS CITY -- The Royals responded on Wednesday to recent comments from A's third baseman Brett Lawrie and took offense at the suggestion that they play a dirty brand of ball.
After a heated series over the weekend between the teams that featured hard slides, hit batsmen, benches clearing and six Royals ejections, Lawrie told reporters:
"A lot of other teams have noticed the way they've been playing. It hasn't just been our team they've been having trouble with, there's been some other teams. This is some tired stuff that's been going on, a lot of people around the league are watching the style of play that's been going on."
Lawrie also called it the worst series of baseball he's played in:
"It wasn't baseball, it didn't feel like baseball," he said.
Lawrie also suggested the Royals lacked veteran leadership.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost's response? Nonsense.
"I think there's great leadership with [Kendrys] Morales, Sal Perez, Alex Gordon, [Edinson] Volquez, Alex Rios, now [Eric Hosmer] and [Mike Moustakas]," Yost said. "We don't have any leadership problems. None."
Yost also seemed to laugh off Lawrie's insinuations.
"I don't care what anyone says," Yost said. "It's a free country. We got rights. We got amendments so you can say whatever you want."
Rios was less amused by the comments from Lawrie, whose hard slide that injured Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar seemed to trigger the hostilities all weekend. Rios also pointed to A's left-hander Scott Kazmir hitting Lorenzo Cain with a pitch on Sunday as a trigger.
"[Lawrie] knows how a baseball game is played," Rios said. "Even when they hit us, when Lorenzo got hit, they're pretending they don't know. They're playing like they're naïve ... but they knew. We're protecting our players.
"Baseball has been played that way for a long time."
Rios also defended the Royals' style of play.
"We're not playing bush league baseball," the outfielder said. "We're playing good baseball. There's a reason everything happened. If we get a team that plays us the right way, we're going to play the right way. If a team tries to do certain things to us we're going to protect our players."
So why did the A's take such exception?
"I think it's our energy and enthusiasm and passion for the game," Yost said. "There's a reason why guys like Morales and Rios and other guys want to come play on this team. A lot of guys want to be in an atmosphere that is fun and exciting. That is what the game is about. I'm not changing any of that."