Josh Naylor was stoked.
And rightfully so.
The Guardians first baseman had a massive night on Monday against the Chicago White Sox as Cleveland rallied from an 8-2 eighth-inning deficit for a 12-9 win in extra innings. Naylor finished the night 3 of 5 at the plate with eight RBI, including a grand slam in the ninth inning that tied the game at 8-8.
Naylor calmly ran the bases after his blast over the right centerfield wall. But once he touched the plate, it was on. Naylor shushed the White Sox crowd while high-fiving his teammates. And when he got to the dugout, he let loose, slamming his helmet into the wall, then sharing some words with White Sox fans next to the Guardians dugout.
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) May 10, 2022
Three innings later, he hit another home run, this time a three-run shot in the 12th that gave the Guardians a 12-9 lead that stood as the final score. Again, he was understandably excited. Again, his helmet took the brunt of his enthusiasm.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) May 10, 2022
Will White Sox retaliate for Naylor's historic night, reaction?
Naylor knocked in all eight of his RBI from the eighth inning on, starting with an RBI double in the eighth. Per ESPN, he's the first player in MLB history to record eight RBI in a game from the eighth inning or later. He's also the first with two three-run-plus home runs from the ninth inning on.
Again, his excitement was understandable. It's also the kind of thing that can irk baseball's traditionalists, who generally don't take kindly such displays of exuberance. Players have done less than Naylor and found themselves facing a high and tight fastball in retaliation. Because a 98-mph projectile thrown at an opponent's head seems like a reasonable response to some people.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa is most certainly a traditionalist. The Guardians and White Sox play again on Tuesday. Stay tuned.