Ejection Inspection, Week Eight: Mike Shildt Tossed after Pitcher Is Asked to Change His Hat

Mike Shildt

Ejection Inspection, Week Eight: Mike Shildt Dumped after Pitcher Is Asked to Change His Hat

Welcome to Week Eight 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 saw St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt get ejected after Joe West asked Giovanny Gallegos to change his hat. (West noticed something resembling a banned substance on the bill, so he asked Gallegos to change it.)

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

There were six ejections in Week Eight – four managers, one player, and a pitching coach.

Ejection Table

1 Thu 5/20 OAK HOU E5 Bob Melvin Mgr Alan Porter HP Persistent arguing
2 Thu 5/20 PHL MIA B9 Brad Miller 1B Dan Iassogna HP Arguing balls/strikes
3 Sun 5/23 KC DET B6 Mike Matheny Mgr Adrian Johnson 1B Arguing checked swing
4 Sun 5/23 CHC @STL T4 David Ross Mgr Erich Bacchus HP Arguing balls/strikes
5 Mon 5/24 TOR TB T1 Pete Walker PtC Junior Valentine HP Arguing balls/strikes
6 Wed 5/26 STL @CWS B7 Mike Shildt Mgr Joe West 3B Arguing direction for pitcher to change his hat

 

Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics Manager

When

Thursday, May 20, vs. Houston Astros, between the fifth and sixth innings

Umpire

Alan Porter (HP)

Description

At the end of the fifth inning, Melvin went onto the field and said something to Porter. Porter said something back in a slightly heated manner, pointing for emphasis. Melvin chewed back, also pointing. The conversation continued like this for about half a minute before Melvin headed to the clubhouse. It was impossible to tell from the camera angles when exactly Melvin was ejected. No one outside of the field knew why Melvin was ejected until he said after the game that he had been arguing over several things over an extended period of time.

Understand the frustration?

Only from the standpoint of the Athletics being down by three in a divisional game. Beyond that, without specifically knowing why Melvin was upset, this is impossible to answer.

Was the ejection justified?

Persistent arguing is one of the “Three Ps” of ejections — personal, profane, or persistent. Therefore, it might have been; again, though, it is impossible to answer without knowing for sure.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. Both Melvin and Porter were hot under the collar, so their discussion got fun for a little bit.

 

Brad Miller, Philadelphia Phillies First Baseman

When

Thursday, May 20, vs. Miami Marlins, bottom of the ninth

Umpire

Dan Iassogna (HP)

Description

With one out, the bases empty, and the Phillies trailing, 6–0, Miller faced reliever Zach Pop. Miller swung at and missed a breaking ball low and in for strike one. On the next pitch, Miller tried to check his swing on a similar pitch in the same location. The next two pitches missed for balls. On 2–2, Miller checked his swing on a breaking ball that dropped into the upper part of the zone over the heart of the plate. Iassogna rang Miller up, and Miller loudly argued that the pitch was high. He turned around and barked two sentences straight in Iassogna’s face, spouting at least three f-bombs as he gestured in front of his chest to where he thought the pitches were. At this point, Iassogna dumped him.

Manager Joe Girardi came and got Miller before his tirade could cross the line and draw a suspension. Girardi did not say a word to Iassogna. On the way back to the dugout, Miller yelled over his shoulder twice.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. The Phillies were getting whipped, and Miller thought the pitch was higher than it was.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes, due to both the profanity and the animated gesturing.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. It did not last long.

 

Mike Matheny, Kansas City Royals Manager

When

Sunday, May 23, vs. Detroit Tigers, bottom of the sixth

Umpire

Adrian Johnson (1B)

Description

On 0–1, Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield started to swing at an inside fastball. He tried to check it as the ball hit his fingers. On appeal, Johnson ruled that Merrifield went around. Matheny, after checking on the well-being of his player, gave Johnson a piece of his mind while returning to the dugout. During the return, Johnson bounced him.

Matheny rushed over to Johnson and got right in his face while yelling. The two jawed nose-to-nose for over half a minute before crew chief Brian Gorman got between them. At this point, Matheny took a parting shot and left the field.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. This type of play always frustrates the manager of the offensive team. His player is not only in pain, but instead of getting first base he is charged with a strike. If it’s the third strike, the batter is out. At the major league level, it is rare that this call does not result in an ejection.

Was the ejection justified?

Depends on what Matheny said, but give his history, it most likely was.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers for the sustained nose-to-nose argument.

David Ross, Chicago Cubs Manager

When

Sunday, May 23, at St. Louis Cardinals, top of the fourth

Umpire

Erich Bacchus (HP)

Description

In the bottom of the third, Bacchus — a minor-league call-up — sometimes called a pitch that was a ball width outside a strike and sometimes called it a ball. This frustrated both benches, but especially Ross. He yelled arguments from the dugout after Bacchus called ball four on that pitch.

In the top of the fourth, Kris Bryant took an 0–1 pitch that appeared to be below the zone. Bacchus called it a strike. A furious Ross argued from the dugout, and Bacchus ran him. Ross came onto the field, covered his face, got nose-to-nose with Bacchus, and profanely reamed him for his inconsistency. He gave specific examples throughout. At the end, Ross said, “Be better.”

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Bacchus struggled with consistency.

Was the ejection justified?

It was persistent arguing of balls and strikes, so yes. However, due to Bacchus’ inconsistency, few could blame Ross for being upset.

Entertainment Rating

Four Weavers. Ross chewed him up one side and down the other, giving him a “lesson” in consistency. Had we been able to read Ross’ lips, it could have been five.

 

Pete Walker, Toronto Blue Jays Pitching Coach

When

Monday, May 24, vs. Tampa Bay Rays, top of the first

Umpire

Junior Valentine (HP)

Description

Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton faced Ji-Man Choi with two out and runners on second and third. The runner on second, Manuel Margot, had reached on a fielding error and subsequently stole second. Choi took a 3–2 fastball near the knees. The Blue Jays, thinking it was strike three, started to leave the field, but Valentine called ball four. It appeared to be at the hollow of the knees. (We should also note that “strike one” was a ball width outside, so had that been called properly, Choi might have walked already.)

The next batter, Taylor Walls, fought back from 1–2 to a full count. He took another pitch outside, one that was closer to the plate (although several inches lower) than strike one from the previous at-bat. Walker laid into Valentine. Valentine told him to stop, but Walker persisted, so BANG! Gone.

(Epilogue: The next hitter belted a grand slam, rubbing salt in the wound.)

Understand the frustration?

Yes. The Blue Jays were in a tough situation — one partly caused by a fielding error on a play that should have been the third out — against a divisional opponent that was on a 10-game winning streak. Tensions were high, and so was frustration. Valentine’s inconsistent zone added fuel to that fire.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes, since Walker was loudly arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. It didn’t help that he’s a coach, not the manager, and therefore gets a shorter leash.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. This wasn’t much to write home about.

 

Mike Shildt, St. Louis Cardinals Manager

When

Wednesday, May 26, at Chicago White Sox, bottom of the seventh

Umpire

Joe West (3B)

Description

Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos replaced Genesis Cabrera with one out and runners on first and second. As he finished his warmup pitches, West noticed something on the bill of Gallegos’ cap. It was a dark spot that looked suspiciously like a foreign substance, so West called for the dugout to bring Gallegos a new cap. Shildt came onto the field and profanely argued with West, so West tossed him.

Understand the frustration?

No, unless Shildt had something to hide. The umpires were trying to keep Gallegos in the game. Since he hadn’t thrown a pitch yet with that hat on, he could not be ejected for having a foreign substance. Once he threw a pitch, White Sox manager Tony La Russa could have asked the umpires to look at the hat. If they had found a foreign substance, by rule they would have been forced to eject Gallegos. By throwing a fit the way he did, Shildt made Gallegos look guilty. Now the league is investigating Gallegos’ hat.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Yelling profanity at an umpire in an argument is grounds for ejection, although most give some leash there. However, doing it when the umpires are trying to protect your pitcher is going to be automatic. This was absolute foolishness by Shildt.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers, but only because it got so ridiculous.

 

Leaderboard

After eight weeks, here are the leaders.

Managers: Eight (Craig Counsell [MIL], Torey Lovullo [ARI], Joe Maddon [LAA], Jayce Tingler [SD], Matheny, Melvin, Ross, and Shildt) tied with two each
Players: 20 tied with one each
Team high: Brewers (five)
Team low: Six have not had anyone ejected yet. They are the Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, and Tampa Bay Rays.
Umpire: Angel Hernandez and Jim Reynolds (tie, four each)

 

Look for Week Nine on Thursday, June 3.

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, Giovanny Gallegos, Bob Melvin, Brad Miller, Mike Matheny, David Ross, Pete Walker, Zach Pop, Joe Girardi, Whit Merrifield, Kris Bryant, Trent Thornton, Ji-Man Choi, Manuel Margot, Taylor Walls, Genesis Cabrera, Tony La Russa, Craig Counsell, Torey Lovullo, Joe Maddon, Jayce Tingler