Seattle Mariners left fielder Jesse Winker didn't have much interest in apologizing to the Los Angeles Angels after Sunday's benches-clearing brawl, but he did apologize to the team's fans.
"The only thing I'm gonna apologize for is flipping the fans off. That's it," he told reporters. "… They pay their hard-earned money to come and see a game, and they didn't deserve that, so I apologize to the fans, especially the women and children."
Winker played the central role in the brawl that occurred in the second inning after Angels starter Andrew Wantz hit him with a pitch. He went toward the Los Angeles dugout, which prompted the ensuing chaos.
Jeff Fletcher of the So Cal News Group noted there were eight ejections in all: Wantz, interim manager Phil Nevin and relief pitchers Raisel Iglesias and Ryan Tepera were kicked out on the Angels side and Winker, manager Scott Servais, shortstop JP Crawford and center fielder Julio Rodriguez were ejected for the Mariners.
Perhaps the most notable moment of the entire scene was when Iglesias threw sunflower seeds onto the field:
Despite losing their starting pitcher just three outs into the game, the Angels still managed to win 2-1. The final score was a credit to their bullpen, as Jose Suarez allowed just one run and struck out eight in six innings before Oliver Ortega closed the door with two shutout innings.
Seattle was not exactly operating at full capacity offensively, considering three of the first four batters in its lineup were ejected.
The two sides have faced each other in eight of the last 11 games but will not play again until Aug. 5.
It is notable that Winker mentioned the fans in his apology because one Mariners fan successfully ordered him pizza:
Sofie 🏳️🌈 @sofieballgame
I just ordered a pizza for Jesse Winker from <a href="https://twitter.com/MountainMikes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MountainMikes</a> Pizza in Anaheim. You deserve it big guy <a href="https://twitter.com/Mariners?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Mariners</a> <a href="https://t.co/AymUQvQ3r9">pic.twitter.com/AymUQvQ3r9</a>
C. Trent Rosecrans @ctrent
I have confirmed that not only did Jesse Winker get the pizza, he said it was really good. So, there you go, <a href="https://twitter.com/MountainMikes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MountainMikes</a> is on my list next time I'm in Anaheim. Thanks for the tip <a href="https://twitter.com/sofieballgame?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@sofieballgame</a> <a href="https://t.co/Ek7Kc820Cr">https://t.co/Ek7Kc820Cr</a>
He had plenty of time to enjoy it considering he was ejected in the second inning.