Tempers flared in the Braves’ 5-2 win over the Marlins on Wednesday.
Ronald Acuna stepped up to the plate and was immediately hit by a 97-mph fastball from Jose Urena. It prompted two bench clearings, with Braves manager Brian Snitker and Urena ejected.
» Mark Bradley: Tired of getting hit by Acuna, Marlins hit him
Here are the Braves’ passionate reactions, along with thoughts from third base umpire Paul Nauert:
Braves manager Brian Snitker:
On the hit by pitch:
“I think it’s pretty evident what I thought about it. That’s a shame. This young man is just playing the game, doing what he loves to do. It’s a damn shame what happened that first pitch of the game.”
On Acuna, who underwent a CT scan:
“They’re checking him out. He’s sore. His arm, the forearm where he got hit is cramping so they’re checking him out. We’ll know more tomorrow.”
On his emotions:
“I’ve had three hours to calm down and all of a sudden I’m not real good right now. … I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt like that in a baseball uniform. That was my emotion. That kid didn’t deserve that.”
On defending his players:
“He’s my kid. I’m going to protect him. … It was obviously intentional. He’s one of mine.”
Did you think Urena should’ve been immediately tossed?
“I thought he should’ve been – they ultimately made the right decision. It was obvious that was intended to hit him. There’s no reason for a young man to be hit like that when all he’s doing is playing the game. He’s not doing anything to show anybody up. He’s playing the same. As I’ve said, he’s a young talented kid. That’s a shame that happened. What happens if they hit him there and he breaks his elbow, and he’s done for the year? With what we’re trying to accomplish here, where we’re at, there’s no reason for that. Heck, this is a game. My God.”
On if there was a better way to send a message without hitting Acuna:
“If you don’t want him to hit your fastball, throw a breaking ball. There are ways to get the kid out. You throw fastballs down the middle and he hits them out. What do you expect the kid to do? My God. That was just completely, unbelievably uncalled for.”
Third base umpire Paul Nauert (via pool reporter):
On if Urena’s past and/or Acuna’s streak played a role in the ejections:
“Nothing about Urena’s past history factored into any of our decisions. When we go out to the game, we take each game as it presents itself. Today, the first pitch hits the kid the first time up. I think from what has transpired over the past three days, the crew felt that it was intentional. So, the action we took was to eject him.”
On why Snitker was ejected:
“It was more just ignoring the warning to help. In his position, we’re looking for people to help us and not to escalate it. I told him and he said, ‘I don’t care.’ So, it is what it is and he understood.
I think everybody had their chance (to express displeasure) and then when it seemed to die down, it kind of re-escalated again.”
On potential punishment:
“I’m sure the league will be looking at the tape and I’m sure they’re going to have their discipline that they will hand down. Whatever they decide is up to them.”
First baseman Freddie Freeman:
“It was gutless. I know that wasn’t the Marlins. That was just Jose Urena. I don’t understand it. It makes no sense. Just because a player’s having fun playing the game, swinging the bat incredibly well obviously, it makes no sense. That was completely classless on Jose Urena’s part. … What Jose did tonight was not acceptable.
“I don’t think many people in the big leagues would’ve reacted the way Jose did tonight. Just because someone’s swinging the bat well against your team, that doesn’t give you the right to go hit him for no apparent reason.”
“That was great. It really was. He had every right to react the way he reacted. He could keep going as long as he wanted to. It wasn’t right, and we loved seeing Brian all fired up like that.”
“He’s playing the game the right way. He’s having fun. He’s done nothing wrong in his four months in the big leagues. He’s brought joy to this game. Everybody loves watching him play. People are paying just to come watch this kid play. For what he did tonight is not right.”
Starter Kevin Gausman:
“Obviously he’s been doing pretty well against them. I think he decided he was going to handle it a certain way. I don’t agree with it, but it’s his career and he’s going to have to deal with the consequences.”
Shortstop Dansby Swanson, who launched a two-run homer:
On the events:
“Everyone knows the emotions and reactions. You go into protect mode because that’s family. I think everyone’s able to see that. What I was most proud of was the ability to bounce back after and keep our composure.”
On him mimicking Acuna’s gesture after his homer:
“I do that, too, I just don’t hit as many as he does so y’all don’t see it as often. Good timing.”
On Snitker defending his players:
“It was awesome to see. It proves more and more how much he loves us, how he’s got our back. Everyone treats everyone like family and he’s no exception.”
Catcher Tyler Flowers:
On the events:
“That’s not a smart way to start the game. Division team, all those kinds of things. I don’t think it was the right decision. Acuna definitely wasn’t deserving of that. I thought a first-pitch slider would’ve been a much better idea. It is what it is. We did what we had to do to win that game.”
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