Ejection Inspection, Week Four: Joe Girardi Goes Nuts, Aaron Boone Tossed as Well

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Joe Girardi Goes Nuts after Two Phillies Get Plunked but Both Teams Get Warned

Welcome to Week Four of Ejection Inspection! The premise and ground rules are detailed here. The condensed version: each ejection from the previous week (Thursday through Wednesday) is listed in a table. The author – a former player/coach/umpire – analyzes each ejection and assigns it an entertainment rating of one to five Weavers in honor of late Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver. This week had the highest average Weaver rating in recent memory. Of the six ejections, two earned three, three earned four, and — for the first time in 2021 — one earned five. That came from Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi.

(For a list of every article in this series, click here. Week Three is a week late due to health reasons and can be found here.)

There were six ejections in Week Four – five managers and a bench coach.

Ejection Table

1 Sat 4/24 CHC MIL B9 David Ross Mgr Cory Blaser HP Arguing balls/strikes
2 Sun 4/25 CIN @STL T6 David Bell Mgr Joe West HP Arguing warnings
3 Mon 4/26 NYY @BAL T8 Aaron Boone Mgr Greg Gibson 1B Arguing denial of replay request
4 Mon 4/26 OAK @TB T7 Bob Melvin Mgr Sean Barber HP Arguing replay decision
5 Wed 4/28 MIL MIA T4 Pat Murphy BeC Marty Foster 1B Arguing checked bunt
6 Wed 4/28 PHL @STL T6 Joe Girardi Mgr Chris Segal HP Arguing warnings

 

David Ross, Chicago Cubs Manager

When

Saturday, April 24, vs. Chicago Cubs, bottom of the ninth

Umpire

Cory Blaser (HP)

Description

The Cubs trailed the Brewers, 4-3, with a runner on first and nobody out. They were facing Brewers closer Josh Hader. Jake Marisnick took the first pitch from Hader, one that was more than four inches above the top of the zone. Blaser called a strike, drawing the ire of the Cubs dugout. He looked toward the dugout, waited maybe four seconds, and gave Ross the thumb.

A fired-up Ross stormed onto the field to let Blaser have it. After a somewhat lengthy tirade, one that saw Ross have to re-cover his face several times, Ross headed to the clubhouse.

Understand the frustration?

This is one of the most justified angry reactions from a manager all season. That pitch was incredibly high. Calling it a strike was a travesty.

Was the ejection justified?

By the letter, yes. However, this was a quick trigger. Plus, the pitch was so far out of the zone that few could blame Ross for being upset.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers. It might have been more had we been able to read his lips.

David Bell, Cincinnati Reds Manager

When

Sunday, April 25, vs. Cincinnati Reds, top of the sixth

Umpire

Joe West (HP)

Description

Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty, with a 4-0 lead, hit Reds second baseman Jonathan India squarely on the helmet with a 1-1 fastball. India was angry as he stood up since this is the second time this month that a Cardinals pitcher hit him on the head. Thankfully, India was able to stay in the game.

After a conference among the umpires, they warned both teams. When notified, Bell blew his top. Before going into the dugout, he angrily and demonstrably ranted for nearly a minute. His mask prevented us from reading his lips, but there were a lot of consonants flying….

Understand the frustration?

Definitely. Nothing makes Bell angrier than his players getting hit in the head. In his entire tenure managing the Reds, he has had several players get drilled. Many of those were on or near the head. Recall how often this happened in 2019 at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now it’s happened to the same player twice in a month against the same team.

Furthermore, in almost every game, both teams were warned without the Reds hitting anyone.

Bell’s contention is often “if it’s serious enough to warn both teams, why don’t you eject him?” While it seems to be a valid question, the fact is that the rules do not allow it. For a pitcher to get ejected, he must have intentionally thrown at a batter (at least in the umpire’s judgment). This particular pitch was clearly an accident. The umpires, however, may warn teams if they feel that retaliation may occur, even if it comes at the beginning of the game. Intentional pitches are not required for warnings — just for ejections.

Was the ejection justified?

We can’t know for sure without knowing what Bell said, but more than likely, yes. He probably said something that crossed the line, given his past.

Entertainment Rating

Four Weavers. This was a real doozy that nearly earned five. It didn’t quite have the extra oomph, though.

Aaron Boone, New York Yankees Manager

When

Monday, April 26, at Baltimore Orioles, top of the eighth

Umpire

Greg Gibson (1B)

Description

An out call at third prevented a Yankee run from scoring on a “timing play.” This refers to a tag play on the third out with multiple runners on base. If a runner is tagged at a base before another runner crosses the plate, no run scores. Boone did not notify the umpires soon enough that he wanted to challenge the call.

When Gibson notified Boone that his time was up, Boone exploded. He felt that the umpiring crew did not give him enough time to notify them. Boone came on the field and got into a fiery, nose-to-nose argument with Gibson. Since the Yankees have reached 85% vaccinations, they don’t have to wear masks in the dugout, so we could see every word Boone said. Boone pointed a lot, and most of the words he used started with “horse.”

Understand the frustration?

Boone honestly felt he had not been given enough time, so yes. When running a timer on the game broadcast, it looks like Boone was correct. The call probably would have stood, but Boone did not even get the opportunity to challenge it, and that’s what angered him.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes, although his frustration was understandable.

Entertainment Rating

Four Weavers. This was a blast. However, it wasn’t quite enough to earn five. Boone didn’t say or do anything that will be replayed over and over.

Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics Manager

When

Monday, April 26, at Tampa Bay Rays, top of the seventh

Umpire

Sean Barber (HP)

Description

With two outs and Elvis Andrus on first, Tony Kemp hit a high fly to shallow left. It was so high that Joey Wendle, despite calling his teammates off, misplayed it. Shortstop Willy Adames gathered it on one hop and fired it home. With there being two outs, Andrus was running the whole way, so the play was very close. Barber called him out.

Replays showed the diving Andrus’ hand touch the plate before catcher Mike Zunino tagged him on the ribcage. It looked like it would be an easy overturn, but the replay officials inexplicably upheld the call. Melvin ran onto the field and pointed to the plate as he took out his frustration on Barber. Within second, Barber launched him.

Melvin continued yelling. It did not last long, as third base umpire Adrian Johnson got in Melvin’s face and pointed him to the clubhouse.

Understand the frustration?

Every manager in the league would have been thrown out over this one. The call was clearly incorrect. Replay should have fixed it, but it did not.

Was the ejection justified?

By rule, yes, since leaving the dugout to argue a replay decision is automatic.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers, solely because it didn’t last long enough to get four.

Pat Murphy, Milwaukee Brewers Bench Coach

When

Wednesday, April 28, vs. Miami Marlins, top of the fourth

Umpire

Marty Foster (1B)

Description

Foster made a now-infamous (yet correct, according to the badly written rule) obstruction call in the second inning. It nullified an out, and that came back to haunt the Brewers, who surrendered another run in the second after there were two outs.

In the top of the fourth, with runners on first and second and nobody out, Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara tried to bunt the first pitch and then pulled the bat back. Replays showed that he stabbed at the ball and then quickly tried to cover it up by pulling the bat back. On appeal, Foster said he didn’t swing.

The Brewers dugout lost it, giving Foster all kinds of grief. After a few seconds that included more yelling, Foster pointed at Murphy and sent him to the showers. Murphy gave a profane two-word reply that ended with “you” as he marched up to Foster. He said, “You’ve got to be (expletive) kidding me” as he got in Foster’s face. After pulling up his mask, Murphy pointed in Foster’s face as he continued his fiery tirade. Brewers manager Craig Counsell and another member of the umpiring crew (can’t tell if it was the second- or third-base umpire) tried to restrain Murphy, but he pointed around the two and kept unloading on Foster. After about 20-30 seconds, Murphy went to the clubhouse.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Tensions were already high in the Brewers dugout, since they felt like they had been hosed by the obstruction call by the same umpire. This bunt attempt should have been a strike, but Foster said it wasn’t. In Milwaukee, the home team uses the first-base dugout, so they had a great view of the bunt attempt. An ejection was inevitable at this point.

Was the ejection justified?

Probably. We don’t know exactly what Murphy said, but he’s going to have a short leash since he isn’t the manager. This is also a situation that is ripe for someone to get personal with an umpire. The word “you” will get someone ejected faster than most curse words, in fact.

Entertainment Rating

Four Weavers. Murphy was livid. And it was fun to see the much smaller Counsell — who played for Murphy at Notre Dame — restrain his mentor and college coach.

Joe Girardi, Philadelphia Phillies Manager

When

Wednesday, April 28, at St. Louis Cardinals, top of the sixth

Umpire

Chris Segal (HP)

Description

Left-handed reliever Genesis Cabrera entered the game in the top of the sixth to face Bryce Harper of the Phillies. His first pitch — a 97-mph fastball — hit Harper directly on the left cheekbone in a frightening moment. Miraculously — and thankfully — Harper got up under his own power and headed to the training room. Up stepped Didi Gregorius. Cabrera’s first pitch drilled him squarely in the ribs, sending him to the ground in pain.

An irate Phillies dugout screamed at the visibly shaken and upset Cabrera. The phrases suitable for television included “Throw better pitches!” and “Get the ball over the plate!” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said after the game that he would have pulled Cabrera after his pitch to Harper, but the three-batter minimum didn’t allow it.

Joe Girardi came onto the field to check on Gregorius. Before he returned to the dugout, the umpires warned both benches. Girardi lost his mind. He pointed at the mound and “ejected” Cabrera, prompting the real thing from Segal. Girardi continued his profanity-laced tirade, pacing for about 30 seconds as he blew off steam. On his way to the clubhouse, Girardi pulled down his mask and yelled to Cabrera, “Throw the ball over the (expletive) plate!” Cabrera’s shoulders slumped even further. Shildt yelled across the field, “He didn’t mean to do it, Joe!”

Understand the frustration?

Completely. Joe Girardi just saw two of his best players go down in a heap on consecutive pitches. Then the umpires warned both benches. This made it difficult for the Phillies to even pitch on the inner half of the plate, let alone retaliate.

Also of note — Harper was the third batter the Cardinals have hit in the head with a hard fastball this month. Teams know this.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Managers can’t be “throwing out” opposing pitchers, no matter how justified their anger is. And, as we’ve said, Joe Girardi was justified in his anger.

Entertainment Rating

Five Weavers, easily. This was one of the most memorable, entertaining ejections we’ve seen in over a year. It’s not common to see a manager “eject” an opposing pitcher, after all. This was also one of the best Joe Girardi ejections ever.

Leaderboard

After four weeks, here are the leaders.

Managers: 13 tied with one each
Players: Six tied with one each
Team high: Reds (three).
Team low: Fifteen have not had anyone ejected yet.
Umpire: Tie between Greg Gibson and John Libka (two each), although Libka’s came in the same game.

Look for Week Five on Thursday, May 6.

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, Joe Girardi, David Ross, David Bell, Aaron Boone, Bob Melvin, Pat Murphy, Josh Hader, Jake Marisnick, Jack Flaherty, Jonathan India, Elvis Andrus, Tony Kemp, Joey Wendle, Willy Adames, Mike Zunino, Sandy Alcantara, Craig Counsell, Genesis Cabrera, Bryce Harper, Didi Gregorius