The Yankees rolled through Cincinnati relatively tension-free, but right at the buzzer, with two outs to go in Sunday's finale, an odd moment caught the attention of WFAN's Evan Roberts.
Roberts, a Mets fan looking to cause trouble, captured Peacock broadcast video of Isiah Kiner-Falefa stalking around the outfield after nearly crashing into teammate Harrison Bader on the first out of the ninth inning.
After the two parties separate, Kiner-Falefa can be seen staring down Bader, then saying a few additional words to him. And then ...
Did he spit? Absolutely. Did he spit with malice? Obviously impossible to tell, but ... we're going to guess he's going to want this one back.
Do Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Harrison Bader have Yankees beef?
Kiner-Falefa, an inexperienced left fielder (to say the last) playing beside Bader, a peerless center fielder, is a mismatch, to say the least. Give IKF credit, though: He's held his own so far. It might not always look pretty, but more often than not, the ball ends up in his glove, even if he takes a circuitous route (or a circus route) to get there.
Bader's future in pinstripes is (hopefully) a little longer than Kiner-Falefa's. Both men will enter free agency this season, but considering the perfection of the fit and how difficult it is to find long-term center fielders, the Yankees should find a way to extend Bader at a reasonable sum for three or four seasons.
Kiner-Falefa? He's been a helpful utility player in 2023, but at his cost, the Yankees could probably find a better use for his year-to-year cash. The very last thing he needed was an odd video interaction to drum up additional vitriol in the Bronx; needless to say, the fans side with Bader in any beef or non-beef.
Our verdict here? IKF was probably a little heated, in the moment, that Bader came into his sphere and almost made him look bad. We've all been there. It was IKF's fault for not calling his teammate off, but after something stupid happens, it's natural to default to blaming the other guy. Who wants to accept that they were nearly very dumb? Therefore, Kiner-Falefa unleashed an angry spit and, since the Peacock cameras lingered on him extra long for some reason, it was captured on film. We wish it hadn't been.