Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto has made headlines all season for a routine of moves that have since become known as the "Soto Shuffle." The most head-turning move is one that occurs when Soto is in the batter's box. He blatantly grabs his crotch and adjusts himself in an effort to get in the pitcher's mind. Well, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas saw the move and responded with a crotch grab of his own.
With the bases loaded and two out in the top of the fifth inning in Game 1 of the NLCS, Mikolas faced the 20-year-old for the third time. He got Soto to ground out to first base, putting the Nationals back on defense. As Soto was handing his gear to the first-base coach, Mikolas gave a quick crotch grab, which he said was "all in good fun."
"He has a routine where he shuffles around the box and adjusts his cup or whatnot, and I was just having fun out there, just kind of giving it back to him in a good-natured, ribbing kind of way," he said. "There was no intent to be mean or start anything out there."
A Juan Soto vs. Miles Mikolas cup battle is exactly what this series needs.October 12, 2019
"I wanted to wait for him to see me do it," Mikolas continued to explain after the Nationals' 2-0 victory. "Kind of poking the bear a little bit. Again, just having fun with it. It's one of those things he does. Hitters do all their stuff, so it's fun as a pitcher to give it back to a hitter every once in a while."
Soto did respond to the Mikolas' gesture, but opinions have been split about whether or not he viewed it the same way as the Cardinals' pitcher. According to ESPN, Soto said that it was "not good." However, Deadline provided an expanded quote that paints the situation quite differently.0comments
“For me, it’s not good," Soto said. "If he react, that don’t matter cause he make me out. I don’t care, he can do whatever he want. I just gotta laugh about it. We gonna keep going and gonna face him again.”
Considering that these two teams are in the midst of a series, it's inevitable that Mikolas and Soto will face off again. Will the Cardinals' pitcher repeat the gesture if he has another good play, or will the crotch grab be a one-time thing?