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Here's why the Royals were upset with the Twins after Sunday's game

Sergio Romo
Minnesota Twins pitcher Sergio Romo celebrates after striking out Cleveland Indians’ Carlos Santana for the final out as the Twins beat the Indians in a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Minneapolis. Romo earned the save. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MINNEAPOLIS — Sergio Romo isn’t about to keep his enthusiasm in check for anyone, so it was no surprise that he was excited when he struck out Jorge Soler looking to finish the Twins’ 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday at Target Field. Soler didn’t like the strike three call by plate umpire John Bacon — Soler has now struck out nine times in 10 at-bats in the first three games of this series — but evidently the Royals also didn’t approve of the Twins’ exuberance.

So while the Twins celebrated a victory that improved their record to 14-8 and kept their lead over second-place Cleveland at one game in the American League Central, the Royals fumed, no matter how silly that might sound. In the below highlight of Soler being called out on strikes and then objecting to the call, it sounds as if Romo says, “Keep talking, keep talking,” to Soler.

The Royals dugout was slow to leave after the game, despite there appearing to be little chance of an altercation taking place. “A little taunting going on,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny told reporters. “I think what you’re seeing is the result of being able to hear everything each bench says, and so you can’t take emotions out of this game either, and a little taunting toward out side and the boys didn’t like it a whole lot.”

Jeffrey Flanagan, who covers the Royals for MLB.com, tweeted that issues apparently started after Romo’s first pitch to second baseman Nicky Lopez was called a strike. The Kansas City dugout began voicing its objections toward Bacon.

But things heated up after that.

Lopez is right in that having no fans in the fans — and a limited amount of piped-in crowd noise and music — makes it far easier for teams to hear everything that is said with any volume.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli attempted to downplay the situation after the game. “Anything that is said on the field on either side, you generally hear it pretty clearly,” Baldelli told reporters. “Probably could create a few more issues than normal, but all that being said, I didn’t see anything on our end that I would be concerned about one bit.”

The interesting thing is the Royals and Twins, who already have played six games in the past 10 days, will meet again on Monday night at Target Field to conclude this series and then play three more games next weekend in Kansas City. The Royals have won four of the first six meetings so far.

Maybe what happened on Sunday will turn out to be nothing, but familiarity does breed contempt and a guy like Romo isn’t going to make any adjustments in the enthusiasm he brings to the ballpark. Nor should he. Will the Royals realize they overreacted on Sunday, or will they hold a grudge? We’ll find out Monday.