Boucher warms up for his first inning.
“There’s no rules that say a pitcher can’t use a hockey stick,” said umpire Tony Randazzo before Friday’s game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays. “I don’t make the rules; I just sometimes enforce them.”
Two hours before Friday’s game, Andrew Friedman of the Rays signed Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher to make his major league debut — as the league’s first hockey-stick pitcher. Boucher lasted three scoreless innings before being ejected in the fourth inning for throwing off his gloves and engaging in a five-minute one-on-one brawl with Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus.
The event marks the first time in baseball history that not only an NHL coach has played in the majors, but also completed an inning using a hockey stick and wearing blue jeans.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said after the game. “All you can do is tip your cap and say, ‘Well done,’ to both [Guy Boucher] and the Rays front office.”