Nationals right-hander Miguel Batista is doing damage control a day after his "Miss Iowa" quip.
Batista tells The Washington Post he sent flowers to the real Miss Iowa, Katherine Connors, as a mea culpa for a quote some — including the Miss Iowa folks — considered disrespectful.
First, the back story: Batista pitched five shutout innings Tuesday in an emergency spot start, after Stephen Strasburg was scratched with shoulder inflammation. Afterward, Batista talked about being booed by disappointed Nationals fans as he took the mound.
"Imagine if you go to see Miss Universe, then you end up having Miss Iowa, you might get those kind of boos," Batista said. "But it’s OK. They have to understand that as an organization we have to make sure that the kid is fine. You don’t want to expose him out there and screw up his future."
Batista tried to clarify today. "People started booing me, and they hadn’t seen me throw a pitch yet," Batista tells the Post. "It’s like you hear Miss Iowa, and you say, ‘Iowa?’ And then you see her up close and you say, ‘Wow, she’s gorgeous.’ "
Connors — or at least the Miss Iowa organizers — got wind of the Batista quote and, in a statement, fired back.
"I know I can throw a pitch or two!" Connors was quoted as saying, per the Des Moines Register. "The question is, can Miguel Batista walk the runway in a swimsuit?"
Also, Craig Heitkamp, executive co-director of the Miss Iowa Pageant, invited Batista to be a judge at the state pageant Oct. 23-24 in Ames.