Atlanta and Washington played a split-game doubleheader at Nationals Park. In Game 1, with the Nationals up 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Soto came up to the plate with two outs and a runner on second base. During the at-bat, Simpson and play-by-play man Chip Caray praised the big-hitting Soto, a National League Rookie of the Year front-runner.
“He is … if he’s 19, he has certainly got his man growth,” Simpson said on Fox Sports South. “He is big and strong.”
The comment drew a response from Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who later spoke with Simpson about it.
“I had a definite reaction,” Rizzo told The Athletic. “I handled it face to face, privately with him. I believe he understood my stance on his comments.”
Asked by The Athletic about what was said between Rizzo and him, Simpson said: “It’s cool. I’ve already squared it away.”
In the nightcap, after Soto hit a solo home run on an 0-2 count in the first inning, Simpson clarified what he said in Game 1 about the Dominican Republic native.
“If you were with us in Game 1, you might have heard me make a comment off the top of my head about if he’s 19,” Simpson said. “Well, he is. He’s bona fide 19. And he is a full-grown man. He is strong. And he is one heck of a player. You might well just write his name in on the Rookie of the Year award right now.”
Last month, Simpson drew the ire of the Los Angeles Dodgers after he criticized several of their players, in particular veteran Chase Utley, for their attire during batting practice. Simpson later apologized.