Chris Sale wants you to know that he knows that he “acted like an idiot.”
He also wants you to know that it’s the camera’s fault that he made headlines on Thursday.
The Boston Red Sox hurler hasn’t thrown a major-league pitch since 2021. But he’s almost ready to return from a long-term stint on the injured list with various injuries including a fractured rib. Part of the process included a Wednesday rehab start with Triple-A Worcester Red Sox. It did not go as planned.
Sale was pulled after a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning. He responded by doing this:
That’s Sale taking out his frustrations on whatever was hanging on the walls of the WooSox tunnel. While one piece of wall adornment met the full brunt of his wrath, reduced to wreckage on the tunnel floor, another put up a fight. When he wasn’t able to yank down said second piece of wall art, Sale gave it three mighty kicks before walking out of the tunnel.
On Thursday, Sale acknowledged that he was, indeed, the man responsible for the wreckage — and that he also claimed a TV during his rampage.
“It happens, right? I wouldn’t be here without that. … I expect a lot out of myself. I expect to be who I am. If that doesn’t work out, sometimes emotions take over the best. Worcester got a new TV out of it.”
When pressed to respond to people reacting to the video, Sale blamed — without naming names — the person who shot it. In this instance, it was Alysha Palumbo of NBC 10 Boston. He also went on to explain that his job playing baseball is pressure-packed — unlike that of somebody who, for example, works for a global financial institution.
“That’s their problem for videoing it,” Sale continued. “If you want me to act like a normal person, you’ve gotta treat me like a normal person. This isn’t like a normal atmosphere. If I was at Bank of America, it wouldn’t fly, right? We’re not at Bank of America. This is sports. This is leverage. This is pressure.”
Sale went on to acknowledge that he “acted like an idiot.” He then quickly shifted back to blaming the camera for his Thursday woes.
“When I was young, I made mistakes,” Sale continued. “I’m not gonna shy away from it. I acted like an idiot last night. I’ve acted like an idiot before.
“I do it in the dugout. I’ve been told through the years, ‘hey, take it to the tunnel.’ You think you’re in a safe space. You think that you’re in private. That’s a place that you’re not really supposed to have cameras. There’s no public access to that, so I thought I was in kind of a safer spot.”
Also, his anger makes him good at baseball.
“It is what it is, Sale continued. “It’s who I am. It’s what makes me a big leaguer. It’s what makes me good at my job. It might not be best for the public eye. But what is? Who’s perfect. Name him. I’d love to shake his hand. …
“You’re just acting like an idiot, honestly. It’s just a seven-year-old temper-tantrum. It’s not something I’m proud of. It’s not something I want to do. Like I said, stuff happens, man. You gotta get it out.”
In case you missed it, stuff indeed happens when Sale’s around. During 2016 spring training with the Chicago White Sox, Sale reportedly delivered a profane tirade aimed at general manager Kenny Williams after Williams banned a teammate’s teenaged son from the clubhouse.
That same season, he slashed up his and some teammates’ promotional uniforms because he didn’t want to wear his on the mound. He was scratched from his scheduled start that day and eventually traded in the offseason.
When he’s at his best, Sale’s one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers. At 33 years old coming off three years of injury-plagued seasons, Sale is no longer at his best. At some point, the downside of his temper outweighs his upside on the mound. Fortunately for Sale, he has two-plus years remaining on the five-year, $145 million extension he signed in 2019.