Had the events in the bottom of the seventh on Thursday night never transpired, Alexei Ramirez's defense might have been the lead story.
The Royals put runners on first and second to start the the top of the seventh, but Paulo Orlando popped out on a bunt attempt to give Sale some footing. Christian Colon tried picking up Orlando by roping a liner to the left side, but Ramirez was ready to end the inning by hitting the ground to his right, then throwing to his left:
Then again, perhaps the brawl -- or at least the worst of it -- happened because Ramirez made this play, or at least in small part. The bad blood apparently started boiling with Sale's emphatic reaction to his good fortune:
There isn't a good camera angle of Colon's reaction to Sale's reaction, but the phrasing of his postgame reaction in the Kansas City Star suggests that he might have given Sale the stink-eye, or shown disapproval otherwise.
Colon saw Sale celebrate the double play. This reaction, he said later, was understandable. But then he heard Samardzija, safe inside his own dugout, yelling at Colon to get off the field.
That would be kinda funny, since Colon plays for the team with the home run welcome wagon and elaborate hand signs. But either way, that [FOOTAGE MISSING] seems to be what prompted Jeff Samardzija to make his voice heard (you can see Colon's reaction to the disembodied Shark head below):
And this seems to be how both of the White Sox' top two starters felt compelled to be at the center of the action when Yordano Ventura and Adam Eaton had words.
Samardzija jumped out to the lead with the most memorable role when he sent Kansas City third base coach Mike Jirschele a-tumblin when he couldn't get to Lorenzo Cain:
That earned Samardzija an ejection, while Sale was thrown out for less clear reasons. That said, Sale decided to earn it after the game with this regrettable course of action:
Numerous sources confirmed to me that White Sox starter Chris Sale tried to get in Kansas City locker room after the fight. (Turned away)— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) April 24, 2015
Sale wouldn't confirm the reaction, but multiple reporters from both sides did, and Sale didn't deny it, so this will probably be the better joke fodder from here on out. Sale usually has two or three of these hot-head moments a year, so expect at least one more over the next five months. Hopefully the other(s) won't be nearly as hazardous to his health.