By John Boyle
In what will surely go down as one of the more odd stories of this Mariners season, catcher Jesus Montero was involved in some sort of altercation with the team’s national cross checker, Butch Baccala while in Boise with the Everett AquaSox on a rehab assignment.
Montero was coaching first base, and at the end of an inning, the unidentified cross checker yelled at him to hustle off the field, according to Boise official scorer Liza Safford. Montero then headed to the AquaSox dugout on the third-base side.
According to a game official, the cross checker then ordered an ice cream sandwich and had it sent to Montero in the dugout, escalating the confrontation further. The official said Montero — who arrived at Mariners Spring Training 40 pounds overweight this season — approached the stands with a bat while screaming profanities and threw the sandwich at the cross checker. Montero had to be pulled back from the stands by Everett pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera, Safford said.
Yes, you read that right, Montero apparently threw an ice cream sandwich.
And while you and I and everyone else not affiliated with the Mariners are getting a chuckle out of this, it’s obviously an embarrassing story for the club. General manager Jack Zduriencik issued the following statement Friday afternoon.
“I received a call last night at approximately 9:30 pm informing me that there had been a verbal altercation between Jesus Montero, who was on rehabilitation assignment with the AquaSox while recovering from a strained oblique, and Mariners national cross checker Butch Baccala, who was scouting at the game.
“As soon as I received the call, I began trying to ascertain exactly what had occurred. I spent last night and this morning speaking with everyone involved.
“Although our investigation is not yet complete, I want to provide this update.
“First off, it is clear that both Jesus Montero and Butch Baccala engaged in behavior that is far below what we expect from members of our organization, including bad judgment at nearly every stage of this incident.
“I want to apologize on behalf of the Mariners franchise to the Boise Hawks and their fans. We recognize that fans, including children, were impacted by this incident, and the language that was used. We recognize the severity of this incident, and want to assure the Hawks and their fans that it will be dealt with appropriately. In addition, I want to thank Todd Rahr, president and general manager of the Boise Hawks, for his assistance in helping me ascertain what occurred last night.
“Jesus Montero has been recalled from his rehabilitation assignment and is on his way to Seattle. Butch Baccala has returned to his home in the Bay Area where he will remain until further notice.
“We will issue further information when it is appropriate as we deal with this unfortunate incident.”