George Brett and Willie Wilson, who scuffled on the team plane the day before, emerged from a meeting with Kansas City Royals manager John Wathan on Monday vowing that they will unite their efforts to help solidify their struggling team, not divide it.
"It's important for Duke (Wathan)," Wilson said. "He's the manager, and he has to have control. We're not playing as well as we should, and I know he has enough problems without worrying about us. Hey, maybe we can be the Yankees of the Midwest."Brett and Wilson got in a tiff on the team plane after the Royals' 10-8 loss Sunday to the Boston Red Sox.
It began when Wilson, and others, were complaining about the lack of seats on the airplane. Brett, hearing Wilson curse, went to the back of plane and began shouting at him.
Wilson stood up, Brett pointed a finger in Wilson's chest and they exchanged obscenities. Wilson then shoved Brett, and the skirmish was under way before coaches and players broke it up.
The fight, which the Royals say was triggered by growing frustration of the team's poor play of late, took on added significance, though, because of the players involved.
Brett and Wilson are the Royals' two highest-paid players, each with lifetime contracts. And with both considered leaders by Wathan, their fight threatened to divide the clubhouse.
"It's something we couldn't afford to have happen," Brett said. "I'm not prejudiced, and I don't think Willie is. Well, I know Willie isn't.
"Things just got out of hand. Things got ugly. We've been together 11 years, and you don't have marriages that don't have fights. Jamie (Quirk, Brett's best friend on the team) and I have had bigger arguments than that.
"I just thought something needed to be said, and I said it. I didn't intend for it to turn out that way, but it did. It's over now."
Wathan, who thought it was best for the players to let tempers cool overnight, called the players into the umpires' room at 4:05 p.m. before the Royals' 6-1 loss to the Brewers at County Stadium.
Wathan said no disciplinary action was necessary but the meeting was designed for each player to air their differences with one another. When Brett and Wilson emerged 35 minutes later, each walked out with smirks on their faces.
Neither player offered an apology, but they said one was not needed.
"It bothered me that Willie was cursing because there were kids and a few wives aboard," Brett said. "I thought something should be said. But when I went back there, little did I realize what it would lead up to."
In time, Brett and Wilson said, the hard feelings will subside. But the main thing, they said, is that they work together in bringing the American League West title to Kansas City.