- Programming note: The full interview with Sergio Romo will air on "Summer Sunday" before and after the Giants-A's game on NBC Sports Bay Area this Sunday.
There were several lasting images from the first week of MLB umpires checking pitchers for foreign substances as they walked off the mound at the end of an inning.
Arguably the most entertaining moment came Tuesday night from Athletics reliever Sergio Romo, who tossed his hat and gloves at the feet of third umpire Dan Iassogna after pitching the bottom of the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field.
But Romo didn't stop there. As Iassogna picked up the glove and bat to inspect them, the veteran pitcher undid his belt and pulled down his pants.
In a game that the A's won 13-6, Romo's moment with Iassogna went viral and was all anyone wanted to talk about.
"First and foremost, maybe not my most mature moment in my big league career," Romo told "Summer Sunday" hosts Carmen Kiew and Anthony Garcia. "I apologized to [third base umpire] Dan Iassogna just because I didn't mean to show him up and that's what I feel the vast amount of people saw and I know it's not his fault, so I hope that gets out there."
Umpires have been tasked with the unenviable job of checking pitchers as they come off the mound, and in some cases, like Romo, the umps have to do it after a pitcher has had a bad outing.
With the A's leading 9-4, Romo gave up a solo homer to Rangers right fielder Eli White. The run didn't impact the outcome of the game, but giving up the long ball still bothered the 38-year-old.
"Come on man, like, the situation, too," Romo told Kiew and Garcia. "I just got done pitching and wasn't proud of one particular pitch I made and I just kinda felt like I got caught off guard. But no excuses. I've been abiding by the rules my whole career. Like, I haven't used anything, any foreign substance of any kind. I haven't done any of that sort and I've been blessed with the career that I have and I'm proud to say I've done it that way.
"So maybe in a sense, I had some subconscious ... discretion towards it. Maybe it was a little disgruntled underneath and I didn't know about it and maybe I took [that way] it in a sense, too. This is all hindsight. What if it is disrespectful to a guy like myself who has given no reason, form or fashion, to even imply that I need to be checked? So maybe that's where that came from. I don't know. Childish moment. What's done is done. I think the point was made, too."
While Romo apologized to Iassogna, he said the two were able to laugh and smile about it in the moment.
Romo hasn't been the only one to take exception to how MLB is making umpires check pitchers in plain sight in front of other players, fans and TV cameras, and he wishes the league had put more thought into when and where the umps conduct the inspection.
"If we're being completely honest, I think there's a place for fairness and a sense of feel," Romo said. "I was upset in my scenario, in a sense, because I had just given up a run, a home run, and I wasn't happy. And all of a sudden, I'm getting checked. In my head -- again, this is all after the fact -- if you really think about it, I'm not going to hang a slider with sticky stuff on my [fingers]. Like, have you ever heard of that? So a little bit of feel, from my situation.
"And also there was a young guy on the Rangers [Taylor Hearn], giving up four or five runs in two-thirds of an inning and got taken out, and as he's getting taken out, he gets stopped before the dugout and checked for stuff that's supposed to make you better. There's [got to be] a little feel there. There's gotta be a little buffer there, in my opinion. And I think the league is working against that point. Again, I shouldn't have shown my passion, in a sense, that way, but I think point is made and we'll all see it done the way it should be done soon."
A's manager Bob Melvin was asked after Tuesday's game about what Romo did and he said that sort of reaction wouldn't happen again. Based on Romo's comments, he appears to be in agreement with his skipper.