Adam Eaton took the high road following Thursday night's Royals-White Sox melee, which started when he and Kansas City's Yordano Ventura engaged in a shouting match following a groundout back to the pitcher.
Eaton, who said he was taken aback by Ventura's "two-step" and not-safe-for-work choice of words, said everything happened in the heat of the moment and it didn't diminish the respect he has for the defending American League champions.
"I respect the hell out of that team, I really do," Eaton said. "I think they play the game the right way.
"... What happened, two competitive teams scratching for the same goal. Sometimes it gets the best of you. Ventura is a heck of a competitor. I respect the heck out of him and everyone behind him. I’m a competitor as well. Sometimes boys will be boys and I think that was a situation where we had some excitement."
Like the rest of his teammates who spoke with the media postgame -- Jeff Samardzija, who was ejected along with Chris Sale, was not one of them -- Eaton was diplomatic in his answers regarding the brawl. Kansas City went on to win the game, 3-2, in the 13th inning and the Royals have now won all four meetings with the White Sox this year.
On their way to a 12-4 start, the Royals have had beef with the Angels, Athletics and White Sox. Benches cleared in Anaheim when Ventura stared down reigning AL MVP Mike Trout, and Ventura was ejected after hitting Oakland's Brett Lawrie last week (which sparked a legitimate beanball war and plenty of bad blood there). Six batters were hit in the Royals' three-game series with the White Sox to open the season as well, though manager Robin Ventura said there wasn't any carry-over from that series into Thursday night.
"They are a young group of guys who go about their business in an exciting and aggressive way," Eaton said. "And that’s why we have the utmost respect for them. They’ve earned everything they’ve gotten and now they want to keep it. You don’t expect anything less."