Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers had a simple explanation for the black eye that left him unavailable to take the mound during Friday's 11-inning loss to the Indians: He'd been sucker-punched the night before as he walked back to the team hotel after grabbing dinner. He decided against filing a police report because he was told it'd be futile.
"They said it happens a lot, actually," Scheppers told The Dallas Morning News. "I'm just lucky nothing serious really happened. I'm good to pitch for [Saturday]. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I went down like a sack of potatoes."
That story is airtight, or so it seems until you think about it for a millisecond. So Clevelanders just go around sucker-punching strangers for sport? And they just so happened to zero in on a 6-foot-4, 200-pound professional athlete, whom they fell with a single blow? And police just kind of shrug? Hmmmm.
The Cleveland Scene began to pick apart the story on Sunday morning.
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"He lost a bar fight," an anonymous witness told the paper. "He had 10 chances to walk away before this happened."
And here's what Cleveland police had to say on Sunday afternoon:
The preliminary investigation reveals that on Friday, July 26, at approximately 2:30 a.m. Texas Ranger pitcher Tanner Scheppers was involved in a physical altercation at Panini's Bar located on W. 6th Street. Further investigation reveals that the altercation was called in by Downtown Alliance workers and that Third District officers responded to the scene to investigate. Once on scene officers attempted to get information from Scheppers for a report however, he refused to provide information and refused to make a police report. Further, officers called for EMS and he refused medical attention and EMS was disregarded. The officers then conveyed Scheppers and another male to the Ranger's team hotel.
What's more embarrassing than losing a bar fight? Pretending you didn't lose a bar fight, then having police issue a public statement calling bullshit.