Major League Baseball's 2021 regular season is only on its third day, but tempers flared between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night, resulting in the year's first benches-clearing kerfuffle. Said incident occurred during the bottom of the fourth inning and resulted in the ejection of Reds outfielder Nicholas Castellanos.
With the bases full of Reds and two outs in the inning, Cardinals pitcher Jake Woodford uncorked a wild pitch that sent him and baserunner Nicholas Castellanos scrambling for the plate. The pair met at the plate, with Castellanos sliding in under Woodford's tag to give the Reds a 7-2 lead. That's when good manners and sportsmanship left the park.
Before we get to the fireworks, it's important to provide some context here. Castellanos had originally reached base after being hit by a first-pitch fastball from Woodford. After he was struck, Castellanos appeared to have a lengthy conversation with catcher Yadier Molina. He then picked up the baseball and, after saying some words to Woodford, tossed it into the Reds dugout.
Now, back to the event that set everything off: once Castellanos was called safe, he popped up and posed over Woodford, flexing his arms the way one might in a bodybuilding competition. Predictably, Woodford and Molina took exception to Castellanos' gesture and pursued him on his way to the dugout. The benches and bullpens then cleared and gathered around home plate.
Eventually, the line of scrimmage moved into the outfield, as Cardinals outfielder Justin Williams and reliever Jordan Hicks engaged in spirited conversations with an unidentifiable Reds player. Castellanos' well-coiffed hair, for its part, remained perfectly in place throughout the entire episode. Castellanos did return to the field and chatted with Molina without any visible histrionics before the umpires sorted out everything and deemed him to be the only player whose actions merited removal.
This isn't the first time the Reds and Cardinals have grown tired of one another. Their shared history includes an incident in 2010 spurred by Molina and then-Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips.