Ejection Inspection, Week Five: Three Kansas City Royals Ejected after Epic Meltdown

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Three Kansas City Royals Ejected after Epic Meltdown

Welcome to Week Five 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 four people tossed by Angel Hernandez, with three Kansas City Royals ejected in an epic meltdown.

(For a list of every article in this series, click here.)

There were 11 ejections in Week Five – six players, four managers, and a pitching coach.

Ejection Table

1 Thu 4/29 STL PHL B9 Mike Shildt Mgr Brennan Miller HP Arguing balls/strikes
2 Fri 4/30 PIT STL B9 Phillip Evans PH James Hoye HP Arguing balls/strikes
3 Fri 4/30 LAD @MIL T8 Dave Roberts Mgr Angel Hernandez 1B Arguing check-swing strike call
4 Sat 5/1 PHL NYM B7 Bryce Harper Bench Andy Fletcher 1B Arguing out of base path call
5 Sun 5/2 TEX BOS B6 Joey Gallo RF Brian O’Nora HP Arguing balls/strikes
6 Sun 5/2 TEX BOS B6 Chris Woodward Mgr Brian O’Nora HP Arguing balls/strikes
7 Mon 5/3 PHL MIL B7 Matt Joyce LF Hunter Wendelstedt HP Arguing balls/strikes
8 Wed 5/5 SF @COL T9 Alex Wood Bench Tony Randazzo HP Arguing check-swing strike call
9 Wed 5/5 KC CLE T6 Cal Eldred PitC Angel Hernandez HP Arguing balk call
10 Wed 5/5 KC CLE T6 Mike Matheny Mgr Angel Hernandez HP Arguing balk call
11 Wed 5/5 KC CLE T6 Brady Singer P Angel Hernandez HP Arguing balk call

 

Mike Shildt, St. Louis Cardinals Manager

When

Thursday, April 29, vs. Philadelphia Phillies, bottom of the ninth

Umpire

Brennan Miller (HP)

Description

With two out, the bases empty, and the game tied at three, Phillies closer Hector Neris hit Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado on the bicep with the first pitch. After a crew discussion — something mandated by the league before warnings now — they issued no warnings. The first pitch to the next hitter was a splitter that clipped the bottom of the zone for a called strike. Shildt barked from the dugout. Shortly before the next pitch, Miller held up the pitcher and yelled to the dugout, “I heard you Mike. That’s enough!” Shildt continued, so BANG! Gone.

Shildt came onto the field to discuss the matter further. His back was to the camera, making it impossible to read his lips. However, with all the gesturing and pointing, it seemed that he was complaining about Neris not being warned.

Understand the frustration?

Given the events of the previous night, yes. If it were in a vacuum, no. Why on Earth would Neris intentionally put the winning run on first in the bottom of the ninth?

Was the ejection justified?

Shildt was arguing a pitch from the dugout and persisted when told to stop, so yes.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. This was mild. It would have pulled only one if it hadn’t lasted as long as it did.

Phillip Evans, Pittsburgh Pirates Pinch-hitter

When

Friday, April 30, vs. St. Louis Cardinals, bottom of the ninth

Umpire

James Hoye (HP)

Description

Evans dug in with a runner on first, no outs, and the Cardinals holding a 7-3 lead. He struck out looking at an 0-2 fastball on the inside corner. Evans walked toward Hoye, said a few words of dispute, then headed for the dugout. After walking away for a few steps, he looked over his shoulder and said a few more things. See ya.

Pirates manager Derek Shelton got between Evans and Hoye, keeping Hoye from doing anything stupid that would get him suspended. Shelton said a few sentences before returning to the dugout.

Understand the frustration?

No one likes striking out, especially when trying to climb out of a big hole, so yes.

Was the ejection justified?

Definitely. Players may not leave their position to argue balls and strikes, which is what Evans did by walking toward Hoye instead of the bench after striking out. Furthermore, calling back over your shoulder while walking away is almost automatic. This is a favorite tactic used by players and managers who are trying to look innocent. They’ll claim, “But I was walking away!”

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. It was unremarkable.

Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers Manager

When

Friday, April 30, at Milwaukee Brewers, top of the eighth

Umpire

Angel Hernandez (1B)

Description

Chris Taylor checked his swing on a 1-0 pitch. On appeal, Hernandez ruled that he went around. Replays show that the call might have been incorrect, due to the vague wording of the major league rule. However, from the angle the Dodgers had in their dugout, it looked like Taylor did not even come close to going around.

Roberts stormed from the third-base dugout all the way to Hernandez to lay into him. With an irritated demeanor, he said his piece to Hernandez, walking alongside him even as he tried to walk away and changed directions. When returning to the dugout, Roberts let off more steam to his coaching staff before heading to the clubhouse.

Understand the frustration?

Yes, due to the angle mentioned earlier.

Was the ejection justified?

Managers cannot leave the dugout to argue a checked swing, so yes.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. Other than the direction changes during the argument, this was unremarkable.

Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies (on bench)

When

Saturday, May 1, vs. New York Mets, bottom of the seventh

Umpire

Andy Fletcher (1B)

Description

With the score tied at four, one out, and Andrew McCutchen on first, Phillies right fielder Matt Joyce hit a 2-0 offering from Aaron Loup. From his spot in the overshift, shortstop Francisco Lindor fielded the ball in front of the second baseman. He lunged to tag McCutchen, who ran a straight line to second, but was too far away. After missing the tag, Lindor threw to first. The throw beat Joyce by less than a step, but Fletcher called Joyce safe.

Second base umpire Jose Navas called McCutchen out for running out of the baseline to evade the tag. Replays showed that the call was dead wrong — McCutchen did not even change direction while running to second, let alone deviate from his path by more then three feet to evade the tag. The Mets challenged the call at first. After replay review, Joyce was ruled out at first. The baseline call was not reviewable, so that call stood. Consequently, the inning ended on a double play.

Three umpires headed toward the Phillies dugout after making the rulings. Almost to a man, the entire dugout gave the crew grief. Fletcher dumped Harper, to which Harper responded with several profane insults.

Understand the frustration?

Of course. This was probably the worst call of the season so far.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes, but it should not have reached that point. Walking toward a team’s dugout after any controversial call is a bad idea. It’s only asking for trouble. Navas looked bad enough by kicking that call in the first place, but when Fletcher tossed Harper while two feet away from the dugout entrance, that looked even worse. This was a snafu, plain and simple.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers, only because this incident has to be seen to be fully believed.

 

Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers Right Fielder
Chris Woodward, Texas Rangers Manager

When

Sunday, May 2, vs. Boston Red Sox, bottom of the sixth

Umpire

Brian O’Nora (HP)

Description

With no outs, the bases empty, and the Red Sox leading, 2-1, Gallo took a front-door curveball from Darwinzon Hernandez. It was at the knees on the inside corner, and O’Nora called strike three. An incredulous Gallo turned toward O’Nora and argued the call. He said several things and turned toward the dugout, still jawing. As he walked away, he kept calling over his shoulder, so O’Nora bounced him.

Woodward charged out of the dugout and argued both the call and the ejection in an animated fashion. There were lots of big hand movements as he continued blowing steam. It did not take long for O’Nora to send him to an early shower, also. Woodward made several more points, head snapping back and forth as he fumed, before heading to the clubhouse.

Understand the frustration?

The pitch was as borderline as possible while still being correct. It is easy to see why the Rangers disagreed with it.

Was the ejection justified?

There was profanity, and there were a few instances of the word “you.” That’s a quick ticket out of a game, since it’s personal, so yes.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers. This was fun to watch. It might have fetched Four Weavers if a mask hadn’t been hiding Woodward’s lips.

 

Matt Joyce, Philadelphia Phillies Left Fielder

When

Monday, May 3, vs. Milwaukee Brewers, bottom of the seventh

Umpire

Hunter Wendelstedt (HP)

Description

Joyce took a 3-2 fastball that was an inch or two off the plate. Wendelstedt called strike three, ending the inning. Joyce swore a blue streak as he slammed his helmet down and spiked his bat. As he bent over to pick his equipment up, he looked at Wendelstedt and yelled, “You’re (expletive) pathetic!” That was it, as Wendelstedt gave him the thumb.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. That pitch was outside. It was not, however, “not even (bleeping) close.” (Double negative alert)

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. In fact, Wendelstedt showed a lot of patience by letting him stay in the game as long as he did.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. It didn’t last very long.

Alex Wood, San Francisco Giants (on bench)

When

Wednesday, May 5, at Colorado Rockies, top of the ninth

Umpire

Tony Randazzo (HP)

Description

With two on, no outs, and the Rockies holding an 8-6 lead, Giants pinch-hitter Curt Casali tried to check his swing on a 3-2 breaking ball out of the zone. First base umpire John Libka called it a swing on appeal. The furious Giants dugout erupted. Wood said something that crossed the line, so Randazzo launched him.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. The Giants had a rally building.

Was the ejection justified?

We don’t know what Wood said. However, there was a lot of yelling and profanity coming from the Giants dugout, so there were probably a few people who deserved to go.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers. It was almost unnoticeable.

Cal Eldred, Kansas City Royals Pitching Coach
Mike Matheny, Kansas City Royals Manager
Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals Pitcher

When

Wednesday, May 5, vs. Cleveland Indians, top of the sixth

Umpire

Angel Hernandez (HP)

Description

With runners on first and second, one out, and the Royals leading, 4-2, Singer was called for a balk when he attempted a pickoff move to second. He took a small step toward home with his front foot before wheeling around and firing. The small step was a move that required him to pitch the baseball, so the balk call was correct.

Matheny left the dugout to discuss the play with Hernandez. As the conversation progressed, Matheny grew more heated. After a brief while longer, Matheny returned to the dugout. Upon his return, Eldred yelled something at Hernandez. Hernandez looked over at the dugout, where Eldred yelled something else. That brought the ol’ heave-ho for Eldred.

Eldred sprinted onto the field like he was shot out of a cannon. Matheny outran him and blocked him off from Hernandez. Eldred blew his top as an irate Matheny held him back. Eldred pointed from behind Matheny. It took less than a minute for Matheny to get the boot as well.

Two pitches later, Josh Naylor hit a grounder to first. Carlos Santana smothered it and rolled to his feet. He wanted to throw home for a tag play, but the ball got stuck in the webbing of his glove, so he had to take the out at first.

With the score 4-3, Singer left the game. On his way out, he screamed an f-bomb at Hernandez before screaming while gesturing, “What (expletive) are you doing?” Hernandez ran him, and Singer erupted again. Whit Merrifield sprinted to Singer and got him off the field before anything got worse.

Understand the frustration?

In a vacuum, and when talking solely about the balk call, no. However, this one was the end result of building frustration. The second hitter of the inning reached on a hit-by-pitch that the Royals disputed. From the replay, it was hard to tell whether the ball hit the batter’s pinky or the knob of the bat. Therefore, the replay had to go with Hernandez’s call, which was “hit by pitch.” After a double, Singer walked the next hitter on four pitches. Ball four was close, but the other three were not.

Then the balk and all other activities happened. Therefore, when considering the entire sequence of events, the Royals’ frustration is understandable, even though Hernandez got the calls right. (Obviously, the frustration was high if three Royals got ejected.)

Was the ejection justified?

Definitely. All three crossed the line and had to go.

Entertainment Rating

Four Weavers. This would have made Earl proud. It was animated, multi-tiered, and lasted for several minutes.

Leaderboard

After five weeks, here are the leaders.

Managers: 17 tied with one each
Players: 12 tied with one each
Team high: Royals, Phillies, and Cincinnati Reds (three).
Team low: Nine have not had anyone ejected yet
Umpire: Angel Hernandez (four), with all coming in Week Five

 

Look for Week Six on Thursday, May 13.

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/coaches mentioned:
Earl Weaver, Mike Shildt, Phillip Evans, Dave Roberts, Bryce Harper, Joey Gallo, Chris Woodward, Matt Joyce, Alex Wood, Cal Eldred, Mike Matheny, Brady Singer, Hector Neris, Nolan Arenado, Derek Shelton, Chris Taylor, Andrew McCutchen, Aaron Loup, Francisco Lindor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Curt Casali, Josh Naylor, Carlos Santana, Whit Merrifield