Blue Jays’ Manoah honoured for defending Kirk after weight criticism online

By Lucas Casaletto

Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah was honoured with a sportsmanship award for defending teammate Alejandro Kirk after the catcher was criticized online for his weight.

Manoah received a $100,000 sponsorship prize and immediately donated it to KidSport, a Canadian nonprofit that gives children the opportunity to participate in organized sports.

Earlier this month, Manoah reacted angrily when Montreal radio host Matthew Ross tweeted that Kirk was “embarrassing the sport” because of his weight and figure.

Kirk, a first-time All-Star this season, is 5-foot-8 and 245 pounds, according to his bio on

Ross was responding to a video highlight of Kirk scoring from first base in a game on September 13 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Toronto won 7-2, splitting a doubleheader.

Manoah, who has thrown to Kirk in all but one of his starts this season, fired back at Ross, urging him to “step aside from the keyboard.”

“Go ahead and tell that 8-year-old kid who is 10 lbs overweight that he should quit now,” he wrote. “Let Kirk inspire those kids to continue to chase their dreams and chase greatness.”

Ross subsequently deleted the tweet and shut down his account before issuing a public apology for his remarks.

To recognize Manoah’s actions, ​​Dove Men+Care announced a sponsorship honouring athletes for their sportsmanship and named Manoah as the first recipient.

“As baseball players to get caught up in wins and losses. I think it’s important to show that we’re humans and that we have a lot of care, and we support each other,” Manoah said.

“I think it’s important for young kids to learn care early on… being able to care for each other and trust each other not only on the field but off it.”

Manoah said he was honoured to receive the sponsorship from ​​Dove Men+Care. 

“I am excited to be named the very first sponsorship for sportsmanship. I want to set a great example for young players. I want to be an inspiration for them. Me, myself, I am a kid living out my dream.”

The company also announced Manoah’s intention to donate the prize to KidSport.

Manoah, who debuted last season, is 15-7 for the Blue Jays, who lead the AL wild-card race. His 2.31 ERA is the fourth-lowest in the major leagues. Manoah has a salary of $706,200 this season.

Now in his third big league season, Kirk is batting .293 with 14 home runs and 62 RBI in 132 games.

Manoah and Kirk were both selected to the AL All-Star team for the first time this season.

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