Kontos says White Sox' Mercedes actions were 'inappropriate'

Yermin Mercedes

The baseball world is at odds once again. The latest controversy surrounding Chicago White Sox slugger Yermín Mercedes has sparked plenty of debate over the past 24 hours.

Mercedes received backlash after homering on a 3-0 pitch while his team was already winning 15-4 in the top of the ninth inning Monday. The Twins had thrown in the towel, sending position player Willians Astudillo to the mound to conserve an inning of work from one of their relievers. 

The backlash began because Mercedes broke one of the "unwritten rules" of baseball: Don't swing at a 3-0 pitch when your team has a sizeable lead like the one the White Sox had. 

White Sox manager Tony La Russa weighed in on the debate Tuesday afternoon.

Players, coaches, and fans around the game weighed in on the debate. On one side, there is a more traditional crowd who prefers to uphold the "unwritten rules" of the game. On the other side, is a more new-age way of thinking, one that is centered around players expressing themselves and being able to play the game the way they want to play it. 

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, who is often vocal when it comes to conversations surrounding the game of baseball, weighed in on the debate. 

The conversation made its way to Giants Postgame Live, where former Giant George Kontos weighed in on Bauer's remarks, claiming that Bauer will never be in a situation to fully understand why it's viewed as disrespectful. 


“The first thing I have a problem with is that Trevor Bauer is never going to be in a 15-4 game," Kontos said after the Giants win Tuesday. "He’s never going to throw a 3-0 pitch in a 15-4 game that he’s still in and that’s going to happen to him.”

Kontos went on to tell a story about the first time a hitter 'disrespected' him in a similar situation.

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“Quick little story, we were playing in Arizona my rookie year in 2012," Kontos told Greg Papa. "Gerardo Parra took a gangster hack off me in Arizona, and the game had gotten a little bit lopsided and the game ended and my inning was over. Before I got back to my locker in the clubhouse, [somebody] from our team was standing there waiting for me. He told me his opinion on what just happened, and he told me ‘don’t let anyone disrespect you like that ever again.’"

The game of baseball is changing, and Kontos recognizes that. He continued, explaining why he sides with La Russa. 

"I think that’s just part of the game, I was brought up in the old-school part of baseball and I know that things are changing with the ‘Let the Kids Play’ and everyone needs to show their emotion. In a 15-4 game with a position player pitching, I think it was a little bit inappropriate.

"I have to agree with Tony La Russa there. I know the game is changing -- I’m saying it again -- I know I might be showing a little bit of the old-school thought process there but that’s one of those things where you shouldn't pad [your stats] just to pad them.”

A quick scan through social media will probably show you that the majority of fans are in support of Mercedes, although traditionalists (such as Kontos) still remain throughout the game of baseball. 

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