On September 3, 2017, Mark Trumbo delivered a walkoff single in extra innings to put the Orioles on top of the Blue Jays, 5-4, and put them within 1.5 games of the second wild card spot. The victory was capped with the then-periodic tradition of Trumbo receiving a pie to his face while doing the post-game interview.
Upon being hit with the pie, Trumbo did not return to the microphone to conclude the interview. Within minutes of the pie being delivered, the primary pie jokester, Adam Jones, tweeted out, “No mas pies.” It is not difficult to connect those two things. Since the last pie, the Orioles have gone 73-183. Fun moments have been in short supply. No one actually blamed Trumbo for all of this, but the circumstantial evidence made him an easy target for joking ire, including from me, with an offseason article about “the curse of the pie.”
After 21 months, new information has come to light about the end of the pie ritual. The Athletic’s Dan Connolly spoke to Trumbo on Friday after Trumbo had a setback in his attempt to return from his knee surgery last September. Trumbo wanted to make one thing clear: It wasn’t because of him that all of the post-game pies came to an end.
Even his immediate reaction, which seemed a whole lot like anger when filtered through the aftermath of two pies, was not what it seemed, he told Connolly:
“I think the reaction I gave, although maybe it came off as something other than fired up in a good way, it simply was that I had at least two enormous pies covering every inch of my face,” Trumbo said. “It took days to get it out of my ears and my nose. And I just honestly couldn’t see, I couldn’t talk, and that was kind of the end of the interview.”
“You get the game-winning hit or you do something special, (being pied) is a cool experience,” he said. “Now, I challenge anyone to be able to function with two or three huge pies in their face. There’s just a certain level where you’ve got to clean it off before you keep going.”
The timing was the timing. He seemed like he was mad, a few minutes passed, and then pies were forbidden again. Addressing it all this time later, Trumbo acknowledged that it “probably came off that I was the one who went in there, raised hell, and said this has got to stop.”
As the person who wrote the article credited by Connolly with launching the “legend” of the curse of the pie, I will tell you that’s exactly what I believed had happened. Trumbo went in there and raised hell. “There was none of that whatsoever,” he told Connolly.
If Trumbo’s denial isn’t enough for you to accept a different theory of what happened all of this time, Connolly also got in touch with Jones about the last pie:
“I never was told it was Trumbo, either. He was just the last one,” Jones, now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, said in a text. “My understanding is it was upstairs (in the organization) and I did what any good employee does. I complied. I think the public blamed Trumbo. Not me. But I’m sure I smoked him. I’ve got heavy hands.”
I miss that guy. “I’m sure I smoked him.” We’re never going to get another one like him. But more importantly, if Jones thinks that it was the bosses and not that it was Trumbo, that’s good enough for me to believe Trumbo saying that it wasn’t him. In light of this new information, he is hereby cleared of any suspicion of guilt in the matter.