Reds used national anthem staredown to their advantage

To some, it was just a viral national anthem standoff before the Reds won a third consecutive game to complete their sweep against the Yankees.

But to Cincinnati players, the standoff — between pitchers Graham Ashcraft, Carson Spiers, Ian Hamilton and Cody Poteet — that Ashcraft and Spiers won for the Reds “set the tone” in their eventual 8-4 win Thursday at Yankee Stadium, Reds first baseman Spencer Steer told reporters.

“That was pretty awesome of [Ashcraft] just to kind of win that one for us and kind of give us a little edge before the first pitch,” Steer said, according to the Associated Press.

The staredown between the Reds and Yankees lasted more than five minutes. Charles Wenzelberg
Cody Poteet (l.) and Ian Hamilton participated in the standoff for the Yankees. Charles Wenzelberg

It lasted over five minutes, according to the outlet, and extended through all of the Yankees’ warmups before starter Marcus Stroman tossed the first pitch of the game.

Spiers, eventually, walked off the field after “thinking about the fine and knowing that I couldn’t afford it,” he said, according to the AP.

“So I just made a business decision,” Spiers added.

And when Yankees manager Aaron Boone told Hamilton and Poteet to get off the field — after an umpire had already spoken with both sets of players — so the game could begin, that left Ashcraft, the 26-year-old who has collected a 5.45 ERA across 14 starts this year, as the last player remaining.

“We saw they weren’t moving and one of the guys told [Spiers] to stay, and I was like, ‘I’m staying with you because I’m not moving,’” Ashcraft said, per the AP. “‘I ain’t got nothing to do today. I’m staying until I win or I get ejected or both.’”

Ian Hamilton walks away from the National Anthem standoff. Charles Wenzelberg
An umpire talks to Reds players participating in the National
Anthem standoff. Charles Wenzelberg

Boone told reporters that while the standoff didn’t delay the game, “they were right up against it.”

Once the game began, the Reds launched three homers off Stroman — including a three-run blast by Steer — across five innings in their victory, and they added three more in the seventh when Jake Fraley connected on a bases-clearing triple.

The Yankees, though, continued struggling and lost for the 14th time in their past 19 games, and following the Independence Day defeat, Richard Schenck, a personal hitting coach for Judge helped shape his swing, blasted the Yankees’ development in a reply to a YES Network post on X.

“They’ve lost 13 out of 18 while he’s hitting like an MVP,” Schenck wrote. “The Yankees offensive player development is terrible.”

The Yankees open a three-game series against the Red Sox on Friday in The Bronx, while the Reds host the Tigers at Great American Ball Park.

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