Oakland Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano said Houston Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron "said in Spanish something you don't say about my mother," per Jeff Passan of ESPN, prompting Laureano to charge Houston's dugout on Sunday, leading to a benches-clearing confrontation between the teams.
The incident started after Laureano was hit by a pitch for the third time in the series and gestured toward pitcher Humberto Castellanos how he should be gripping and snapping his wrist while pitching. Castellanos clearly didn't appreciate the gesture and words were exchanged, which continued as Laureano walked to first base until Houston's dugout and Cintron apparently chimed in:
Laureano said he regretted the decision to charge the dugout:
"I regret charging him because he's a loser. [A suspension] is understandable, but I hope it's not that many games. At the end of the day, I'm here to win a World Series with the Oakland Athletics—this wonderful group of guys. I don't want to be a distraction. Obviously, I am right now. Hey, I've already moved on. I'm facing Julio Teheran today, and that's all I'm thinking right now."
The Athletics have supported Laureano in the aftermatch. Manager Bob Melvin said Cintron's comments were "completely offensive," per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Ramon is the type of guy with a lot of energy—for him to do that, someone's got to say something," Athletics pitcher Frankie Montas added. "I saw the replays and I saw one of the coaches kind of challenging him like, 'Hey come here.' Hey, you don't want a coach trying to provoke you. For him to do that ... I don't know."
Laureano, who was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States as a teenager, explained why Cintron's insult angered him enough to charge the dugout:
"Every day I wake up with the motivation to be with them. They sacrificed their life for me. They made the tough decision to let their own kid go to the States by himself and follow his own dreams. I've been away from my family for 10 years. It's tough to be away from them. Any chance I have to be with them, I feel like I'm in heaven. So for him to say that to me about my mom, it doesn't sit well. I've got a fire inside me right away in that second."
A suspension is surely coming for Laureano and others involved in the scuffle. One of baseball's priorities for its 60-game shortened season amid the COVID-19 pandemic was to enact as much social distancing between opposing players as possible. Sunday's melee threw any social distancing out the window.
The 26-year-old Laureano has become a key player for the Athletics, hitting .278 this season with three homers and 10 RBI. His loss would be a major blow for an A's team that has raced out to an impressive 12-4 start and has legitimate postseason aspirations.