Ejection Inspection 2021, Weeks One and Two: Nick Castellanos Is First of the Year

Nick Castellanos

Ejection Inspection 2021, Weeks One and Two

Welcome to the return of Ejection Inspection! This will appear every Thursday throughout the season, although this edition is late due to health reasons. It will track all ejections from the previous week of games, running from Thursday to Wednesday. Also, it will list whether the author – a former player, umpire, and coach – understands why the ejected person was upset, whether the ejection was justified from a neutral perspective, and a subjective grade of how entertaining it was. In honor of former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver, one of the most entertaining managers in arguments with umpires, ratings will run from one to five Weavers. (If the ejected person is completely calm the entire time, it will receive zero Weavers.) In 2021, Nick Castellanos became the first ejection of the year.

(This series ran during the 2019 season but took a hiatus in 2020. For a list of every article in this series, click here. An added complication in 2021 is the facemasks. This makes it difficult at best and impossible at worst to read lips.)

Week One had one ejection, while Week Two had nine. The lone Week One ejection was a player. Week Two’s ejections included five managers, three players, and a catching coach.

Week One Ejection Table

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Sat 4/3 CIN STL B5 Nick Castellanos RF Jim Reynolds 3B Taunting/inciting a brawl

 

Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds right fielder

When

Saturday, April 3rd, vs. St. Louis Cardinals, bottom of the fourth

Umpire

Jim Reynolds (3B)

Description

With two outs, the bases empty, and the Reds leading, 6-2, in the bottom of the fourth, Jake Woodford hit Nick Castellanos on the elbow pad with a pitch. Castellanos was visibly irritated, immediately asking catcher Yadier Molina if it was intentional. He then turned to the mound and “offered” to toss the ball back to Woodford.

Castellanos advanced to third when Joey Votto followed with a single up the middle. When the camera cut to Castellanos, he still looked miffed. The next hitter — Eugenio Suarez — walked. On the first pitch to the next hitter, Mike Moustakas, Woodford uncorked a wild pitch. Castellanos scored, diving head-first as the throw from Molina arrived to Woodford. He got up, flexed over Woodford, and yelled, “Let’s go!”

Cardinals Go After Nick Castellanos

Nick Castellanos headed straight to the dugout. Molina took exception to the flex and chased Castellanos down. Moustakas tried to keep Molina away as plate umpire Tony Randazzo tried to herd Castellanos to the dugout, but it was too late to prevent a bench-clearer. When the cavalry arrived, Molina and Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado started yelling and pointing. Reds teammates quickly got Castellanos into the dugout. Molina, however, was a different story. It took great physical and diplomatic efforts from Moustakas to calm Molina down.

As the bullpens returned to their posts, another dustup started. It was also a bunch of yelling and negotiating. Molina and Castellanos then talked some more and seemed to sort everything out.

When the Reds took the field in the top of the fifth, Aristides Aquino headed to right field in place of Castellanos. At that point it became clear that Nick Castellanos had been tossed out of the game.

Understand the frustration?

Yes, from all sides. Nick Castellanos took exception to being drilled on the elbow, so it was only natural for him to feel extra charged-up when he scored. The Cardinals obviously felt that Nick Castellanos had taken his celebration too far, so they let him know about it. If the roles had been reversed, the Reds probably wouldn’t have appreciated it, either.

Was the ejection justified?

By the letter, yes. However, ejecting Nick Castellanos while letting Molina stay in the game did not seem even remotely fair. The umpires either should have either dumped both players or neither player. As an aside, the fact that Reds manager David Bell did not burst into an explosive argument is a surprise. It also might indicate that Nick Castellanos said some things that the public does not know about. Hard to say with the masks covering up mouths.

Entertainment Rating

Four Weavers. The bench-clearers were fun to see.

 

Week Two Ejection Table

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Thu 4/8 BAL BOS B4 Brandon Hyde Mgr Jeremie Rehak HP Arguing dead ball swinging strike
2 Fri 4/9 COL @SF T7 Charlie Blackmon RF Ben May HP Arguing balls/strikes
3 Sat 4/10 SD @TEX T8 Manny Machado 3B Jansen Visconti HP Arguing balls/strikes
4 Sat 4/10 LAA @TOR T3 Joe Maddon Mgr Jerry Layne HP Arguing out call at first
5 Sun 4/11 CHC @PIT T4 Mike Borzello CtC Greg Gibson HP Arguing warnings
6 Sun 4/11 MIN SEA T6 Matt Shoemaker P Manny Gonzalez HP Arguing balls/strikes
7 Sun 4/11 SEA @MIN B7 Scott Servais Mgr Laz Diaz 2B Arguing warnings
8 Mon 4/12 MIA @ATL T8 Don Mattingly Mgr Tim Timmons HP Arguing replay overturn
9 Wed 4/14 COL @LAD T3 Bud Black Mgr Phil Cuzzi HP Arguing balls/strikes

 

Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles Manager

When

Thursday, April 8, vs. Boston Red Sox, bottom of the fourth

Umpire

Jeremie Rehak (HP)

Description

Orioles third baseman Rio Ruiz checked his swing on an 0-1 changeup from Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. The pitch hit Ruiz, but he did not go to first, since third base umpire Scott Barry ruled that Ruiz went around.

Hyde came out of the dugout to stick up for Ruiz, getting more and more animated. When Rehak tossed him, he started to throw his hat down but shortened up. However, he kept jawing, getting in his money’s worth before storming off the field.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Even when the call is correct — as this one was — every manager at every level of baseball will be upset over a call like this one. You think your player is getting to first. Then the ruling comes in, and it feels like the rug is pulled out from under you.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Managers, by rule, cannot come out of the dugout to argue a checked swing. Furthermore, with how long Hyde was out there, it was inevitable.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers. Hyde is fun to watch when he gets riled up like this. The fact that he manages the Orioles — Weaver’s old team — makes it even better.

 

Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies right fielder

When

Friday, April 9, at San Francisco Giants, top of the seventh

Umpire

Ben May (HP)

Description

Blackmon grounded to first in the top of the fifth after two borderline pitches had been (correctly) called strikes. In the seventh, he struck out looking, with all three strikes coming in the form of called strikes that were over the corners. On strike three, Blackmon threw his free hand in the air and barked, “That’s not a strike, man!” He then indicated his perceived height of the last two pitches as he continued to protest. May chucked him on the second hand movement. Manager Bud Black, already hustling to the plate to try to keep Blackmon from getting dumped, got there before Blackmon could do anything that would get him suspended. Tempers cooled quickly after that.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. To Blackmon, these pitches felt out of the zone. They weren’t, but that’s because they broke through the zone.

Was the ejection justified?

Technically, yes, but it felt a bit hasty.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. The fun only lasted a few seconds.

 

Manny Machado, San Diego Padres third baseman

When

Saturday, April 10, at Texas Rangers, top of the eighth

Umpire

Jansen Visconti (HP)

Description

Machado took a pitch for strike two that was well in the zone but tipped off the catcher’s glove and went to the screen. That brought the count full. The next pitch locked Machado up for a called third strike. Machado stared at Visconti as he heaved his bat aside. Visconti pointed at the bat, indicating that Machado would be fined for an equipment-throwing violation. Machado said something in response, and Visconti bounced him. Machado turned his head toward his dugout and laughed before leaving the field.

Understand the frustration?

It appeared that Machado was frustrated with himself, so if that was the case, then yes. If he was frustrated with Visconti, then no. Those pitches were unquestionably strikes.

Was the ejection justified?

Impossible to answer without knowing what Machado said.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers. It was unremarkable.

 

Joe Maddon, Los Angeles Angels Manager

When

Saturday, April 10, vs. Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida, top of the third

Umpire

Jerry Layne (HP)

Description

This was strange and complicated. In the bottom of the second, with runners on first and second and nobody out, Danny Jansen hit a hot grounder to first. Albert Pujols fired it to second to retire Jonathan Davis. The throw to first from Jose Iglesias went awry, and Jansen made it to second as the lead runner scored.

Davis was well to the right of second before sliding. While sliding, his leg took Iglesias’ feet out from under him and affected the throw. Maddon challenged the ruling of no interference, but the original call was upheld. This seemed to violate the “bona fide slide” rule provision of Rule 6.01 (j). However, under major league rules, Davis establishes his own path while running to second. Therefore, the slide was legal, although it would have been illegal under NCAA and NFHS rules. The Blue Jays then turned around and challenged the call of out at second, claiming that Iglesias was not on the bag when he received the throw. They won that challenge. Ultimately, the Blue Jays scored six more runs before the inning ended.

Juan Lagares led off the third with the Angels now trailing, 7-0. He hit a rocket to short. Bo Bichette bobbled it but recovered in time to throw Lagares out on a close play. The Angels challenged that call and also lost. After one pitch to the next batter, David Fletcher, Layne threw Maddon out for profanity-laced protests from the dugout. Maddon came onto the field to say a few more words to Layne before heading to the clubhouse. It was hard to see what he said due to the mask, other than Maddon saying “five (expletive) feet outside” while gesturing toward second. The clubhouse in Dunedin is between third base and left field, so Maddon said a few things to third base umpire Quinn Wolcott on his way.

Understand the frustration?

Absolutely, even though both calls were correct. The rule on the slide at second is a tough one to swallow since Davis slid straight at the fielder. Any manager in the league would have been upset after losing that challenge, so when the second one failed, it probably wouldn’t have mattered whether the call was correct. Someone as ejection-prone as Maddon was going to get tossed.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver, thanks to the mask covering up almost every word Maddon said.

 

Mike Borzello, Chicago Cubs catching coach

When

Sunday, April 11, at Pittsburgh Pirates, top of the fourth

Umpire

Greg Gibson (HP)

Description

Pirates starter JT Brubaker hit Willson Contreras in the upper arm with the first pitch after Ian Happ singled. The next hitter, Anthony Rizzo, hit a grounder to first that turned into a side-retiring double play. Contreras was correctly called for interference on the slide at second (since he slid past second), so Rizzo was out since Contreras was already.

In the bottom of the third, with runners on first and second and one out, Cubs pitcher Trevor Williams clipped Dustin Fowler on the forearm. This loaded the bases for Brubaker, whose slow grounder up the middle drove in a run and gave the Pirates a 4-1 lead. Brubaker then hit Kris Bryant with the first pitch of the fourth inning. Given the events in the third, the Cubs felt it was on purpose. When Gibson warned both teams instead of throwing Brubaker out, Borzello tore into Gibson. Gibson sent him to an early shower, saying, “We don’t need your mouth! You’re supposed to be a coach!”

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Williams clearly did not hit Fowler on purpose, so Brubaker had hit two Cubs without retaliation. Warning both teams instead of throwing Brubaker out was clearly going to frustrate the Cubs, especially since the Pirates have the reputation of headhunters.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Managers have some leeway to jaw at umpires, but coaches do not.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers. Outside of the Cubs dugout, only the umpiring crew knew which person got ejected.

 

Matt Shoemaker, Minnesota Twins pitcher

When

Sunday, April 11, vs. Seattle Mariners, top of sixth

Umpire

Manny Gonzalez (HP)

Description

After Kyle Seager hit a long home run to give the Mariners their first run, Shoemaker disagreed with a borderline ball call to Jose Marmolejos. Marmolejos doubled on the next pitch. Next, Luis Torrens singled, putting runners on the corners. The next hitter, Taylor Trammell, belted a homer to make the score 6-4. Shoemaker ripped Gonzalez and his zone while the ball was in the air, and Gonzalez bounced him before Trammell even reached second.

Understand the frustration?

Of course. Every pitcher wants borderline calls to go their way.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Shoemaker knows that he can’t argue balls and strikes the way he did. Saying “freaking” instead of the f-bomb — as he claimed — only mildly helps his cause.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. There wasn’t much to this. There was more from the same game, though…

 

Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners manager

When

Sunday, April 11, at Minnesota Twins, bottom of seventh

Umpire

Laz Diaz (2B)

Description

In the top of the seventh, Ty France bailed out of a fastball up and in from Twins pitcher Cody Stashak, who relieved Shoemaker, twisting and landing on his stomach. Two pitches later, he took another one high and tight, but this one pounded his upper arm. In the bottom of the inning, an 0-1 changeup from Will Vest to speedster Byron Buxton hit him near the shoulder. The umpires issued warnings, even though there is no way that pitch was intentional.

Scott Servais left the dugout to argue the warning. Two umpires told him to stay in the dugout, since they would have to, by rule, eject him if he came onto the field. Servais continued, so Laz Diaz ejected him.

Understand the frustration?

Yes, since warnings make it immensely more difficult to pitch inside. Furthermore, a common misconception is that a brushback pitch must be intentional in order for a warning to ensue. Ejection — yes, it must be intentional, but not a warning.

Was the ejection justified?

The umpires’ hands were tied by the rulebook, so yes.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers. This was barely notable.

 

Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins manager

When

Monday, April 12, at Atlanta Braves, top of the eighth

Umpire

Tim Timmons (HP)

Description

Jon Berti of the Marlins stole second. Braves manager Brian Snitker challenged second base umpire Alfonso Marquez’s safe call. The replay showed that the play was so close that it seemed like a tie. Berti’s hand appeared to hit the base either a split-second before the tag touched his upper arm or simultaneously. The replay review overturned Marquez’s call.

Mattingly yelled from the dugout with his arms in the air. He was ejected by Tim Timmons — by rule — so Mattingly came onto the field to air the rest of his frustrations. Then he went to the clubhouse.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. There was no definitive angle to show that he was out. Furthermore, Mattingly was “shooting the messenger.” The umpires AGREED WITH HIM! Someone in New York made the disputed call.

Was the ejection justified?

By rule, yes.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. Mattingly has given us some fun ejections, but this one was mild.

 

Bud Black, Colorado Rockies manager

When

Wednesday, April 14, at Los Angeles Dodgers, top of third

Umpire

Phil Cuzzi (HP)

Description

Rockies catcher Dom Nuñez took a pitch for a called strike that appeared to be a few inches above the zone. That drew the ire of Black. Nuñez ultimately struck out swinging. After a single to right by pitcher Jon Gary, second baseman Garrett Hampson took a pitch for a called strike that appeared to be a few inches low. Black laid into Cuzzi for that one, too, saying “that’s too low!” Cuzzi walked to the dugout, said “I’m not going to listen to you all night,” and ran Black from the game. Black yelled several things before leaving, including something that started with “horse.”

Understand the frustration?

Absolutely. Cuzzi was expanding the zone both high and low. Dustin May is hard enough to hit as it is.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes, although no one can truly blame Bud Black for being upset.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. It would have been more if Black had left the dugout.

 

Look for Week Three on Thursday, April 22nd.

 

Evan Thompson played baseball as a youth and teenager. He also umpired between 1995 and 2004 and has coached at the high school level.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players/managers mentioned:
Earl Weaver, Jake Woodford, Yadier Molina, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Mike Moustakas, Nolan Arenado, Aristides Aquino, David Bell, Brandon Hyde, Charlie Blackmon, Manny Machado, Joe Maddon, Matt Shoemaker, Scott Servais, Don Mattingly, Rio Ruiz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Bud Black, Danny Jansen, Albert Pujols, Jonathan Davis, Jose Iglesias, Juan Lagares, Bo Bichette, David Fletcher, JT Brubaker, Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, Anthony Rizzo, Trevor Williams, Dustin Fowler, Kris Bryant, Kyle Seager, Jose Marmolejos, Luis Torrens, Taylor Trammell, Ty France, Cody Stashak, Will Vest, Byron Buxton, Jon Berti, Brian Snitker, Dom Nuñez, Garrett Hampson, Dustin May


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.