New York Mets manager Luis Rojas was suspended for two games following his ejection during Sunday’s 7-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He will serve his suspension immediately, missing the first two games of the Mets’ three-game road set against the Cincinnati Reds.
Rojas’ ejection came after a bizarre play in the first inning on Sunday with the Mets down 3-0. With the bases loaded for the Bucs, shortstop Kevin Newman hit a dribbler up the third-base line. It appeared to be heading foul, but it then spun back toward the line. Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker, believing the ball was still in foul territory, used his glove to swat it toward the dugout. As he did this, home plate umpire Jeremy Riggs signaled a fair ball, since the ball was now touching the chalk. With one run already across, Walker then made the same blunder as David Cone and Chuck Knoblauch made in years past. Rather than go after the ball, which was still in play, he argued with Riggs, allowing two more runs to score.
This brought Rojas charging out of the dugout, leading to a quick ejection. However, Rojas went on an extended tirade afterward, which included accidental contact with the ump. Members of his coaching staff had to restrain him soon after that. After Rojas stormed into the clubhouse, the umpires huddled together to discuss the call. This was all they could do, as a foul-to-fair play is not reviewable through instant replay. The umpires upheld the call, and the Pirates took a 6-0 lead. The Mets eventually came back to win, the rally capped by a two-run homer from Michael Conforto in the ninth.
After the game, Rojas said he was proud of his team for coming back, and explained his actions. He said he was upset because he knew the play wasn’t reviewable and assumed the umpires would not huddle, although they eventually did. “My intention was just to get the call right. That’s why managers come out. [Replay] has kind of diminished the arguments out there on the field, but since that play’s not reviewable, I’m coming out,” Rojas said. He appeared to be both unaware of and unconcerned by a potential suspension.
Major League Baseball handed down a two-game suspension and an undisclosed fine to Rojas on Monday afternoon, for what they called “excessive arguing”. This is likely due to the contact he made with home plate umpire Riggs, although it appeared unintentional. With Rojas out of the mix to begin the series in Cincinnati, bench coach Dave Jauss will be taking over the reins in the Mets dugout. Jauss garnered lots of positive press recently, serving as Pete Alonso’s pitcher in his Home Run Derby win. It will be interesting to see how the Mets play in Rojas’ absence. An even more interesting question is if Sunday’s unlikely victory created a much-needed burst of momentum for the Mets following a three-game skid. Perhaps Rojas’ ejection provided the Mets the jump start they needed.
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