Major League Baseball in Review: April Ejections

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 15: Manager John Gibbons #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays is ejected from the game by home plate umpire Dan Iassogna #58 during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 15, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. The Texas Rangers defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6. (Photo by John Williamson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

April Ejections

The first month of the season is behind us. The major leagues saw 21 April ejections. That is four more ejections in the first month of the 2016 season. Managers accounted for fourteen April ejections, while players were tossed nine times.

April 5: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals

In the top of the seventh inning, Marlins third baseman Derek Dietrich took a Enny Romero fastball off his forearm. It was the second time that Nationals pitching had hit him that game. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said something in home plate umpire Ron Kulpa’s direction. Kulpa then tossed Mattingly. Before leaving for the clubhouse, he gave more of his opinion to Kulpa. 

April 6: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers

In the bottom of the seventh, Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson took two pitches from Brad Hand over the heart of the plate for strikes. One was knee high and the other at his thighs. He struck out swinging on the ensuing pitch. After striking out, he threw his bat and his helmet to the ground. Home plate umpire David Rackley ejected him for arguing and throwing equipment.

April 9: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays

In the bottom of the seventh, Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier took a called strike three on a 3-2 pitch from Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Loup. He engaged in an argument with home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski. Had he left well enough alone, he would have been fine, but he yelled something else from the dugout. Muchlinski tossed him for it. Afterward, he took responsibility, commenting that Muchlinski’s low strike zone had frustrated him.

April 10: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

In the top of the eighth inning, Phillies pitcher Edubray Ramos throw a ball over the head of Asdrubal Cabrera. Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued a warning, as the pitch was three feet inside. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin argued the warning. Porter tossed him for unsportsmanlike behavior.

April 14: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants

In the top of the fifth inning, Trevor Story of the Rockies faced Johnny Cueto with one runner on. Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson had been called for balking twice earlier in the game. Home plate umpire Mike Everitt ruled all the pitches from Cueto to be legal. Rockies manager Bud Black argued the no call. Black was ejected.

April 16: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Leonys Martin fought off a first-pitch cutter from Tony Barnette. The ball travelled down the foul line to first baseman Mike Napoli who fielded it and stepped on the bag. Martin had not left the batter’s box, assuming the ball was foul. First base umpire CB Bucknor initially ruled it a foul ball, then changed the ruling to fair and called Martin out. Mariner’s manager Scott Servais argued the call, and Bucknor ejected him.

April 19: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics

In the bottom of the third inning, Khris Davis hit a 2-2 change-up down the third base line. The ball was fielded by Joey Gallo, who threw to Napoli for the forceout. Third base umpire Mike Everitt called the ball fair, but home plate Bill Welke called it foul. Rangers Manager Jeff Banister exited the dugout to argue the call. It got heated, and Welke ejected Banister.

April 19: Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays

With no outs and the bases juiced in the bottom of the ninth, Steven Souza faced a 3-2 fastball from Francisco Rodriguez. He failed to check his swing, and plate umpire Larry Vanover called it a swinging third strike. No appeal was made, and Rays manager Kevin Cash was ejected for arguing the call.

April 20: Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins

With two outs and one on in the bottom of the eighth, Jason Castro faced a slider from Andrew Miller. He attempted to check his swing, but failed to do so, making contact with a foul tip. Home plate umpire Alan Porter called Castro out on a swinging third strike. Twins manager Paul Molitor argued the call. Porter ejected him.

April 21: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles

With no outs, and Manny Machado on first, Mark Trumbo hit a 3-2 slider offered up by Joe Kelly. Xander Bogaerts fielded the ball cleanly, and threw to Dustin Pedroia to pivot a double play attempt. Machado slid into second, and his feet came off the bag, hitting Pedroia in the calf and injuring him. Machado was called out on the play. Review showed he was out, and that he did not violate the bona fide slide rule. Red Sox third-base coach Brian Butterfield argued with third-base umpire Porter between innings. Porter ejected him for questioning the call and unsportsmanlike behavior.

April 22: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Matt Boyd threw behind Miguel Sano. Sano threw a punch at catcher James McCann. The benches cleared, but no further activity occurred. Plate umpire Jordan Baker ejected  Boyd for throwing at Sano. He ejected Sano for the punch. The league disciplined both players for their roles in this incident.

April 23: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles

In the bottom of the eighth, Matt Barnes threw a first pitch change-up high and tight on Machado. Machado protected himself with his bat, fouling the ball off. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes for throwing at Machado – presumably in retaliation for the slide two days earlier. The league suspended Barnes.

April 23: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

With two outs in the top of the seventh, Matt Carpenter took 3-1 and 3-2 sliders from Brent Suter for called strikes. He protested the call by throwing his bat down. Tumpane ejected him immediately. Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny left the dugout to argue the call as well. Matheny similarly got the thumb for continuing the argument.

April 23: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels

In the bottom of the third, with two outs and no one on, Kole Calhoun stepped into the box to face Marcus Stroman. Stroman pitched quickly, and plate umpire Ramon De Jesus ruled that Cahoun was not yet set. He called it a quick pitch, making it an automatic ball. Cahoun drew a walk. Manager John Gibbons of the Jays opted to argue with De Jesus. He was ejected for the argument.

April 23: Miami Marlins at San Diego Padres

Following the seventh-inning, Padres manager Andy Green began a discussion with plate umpire Paul Emmel. Green claimed his batsmen faced incorrectly called strikes. Emmel took an earful and ejected Green. After the game, Green suggested that an accumulation of calls had upset him. He felt as though Emmel had not been consistent with his strike zone through the game.

April 24: Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers

In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Elvis Andrus took a 2-2 sinker from Brandon Kintzler. Plate umpire Alfonso Marquez called the pitch a strike. Banister took to the field and argued the called. Marquez ejected him following the argument. It was Banister’s second ejection of the season.

April 24: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels

In the top of the sixth, with two outs, Russell Martin took a 3-2 fastball from Jesse Chavez. Plate umpire Toby Basner called it a third strike, ending the inning. Gibbons exited the dugout to argue the call. Basner ejected Gibbons, sending him to the clubhouse early for the second consecutive game. Gibbons said during his press conference that he felt that Basner’s zone was moving throughout the game.

April 29: Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Left fielder Ryan Braun took a 2-2 fastball from Eric O’Flaherty. Plate umpire Quinn Wolcott called the pitch a strike to end the ending. Braun argued the call. Wolcott ejected him after he threw his shin guard at the umpire.

April 30: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

With two out and runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, Darren O’Day attempted to pick off lead runner Starlin Castro. Home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater called a balk, moving the runners to second and third. Orioles manager Buck Showalter argued the call, as O’Day had been making the same move for several years. Showalter was ejected for arguing the call.

Why are April Ejections on the Rise?

Several long-time umpires retired at the end of 2016. Many younger umpires started in the majors this year. It is possible that younger umpires have a lower tolerance than the long-term veterans. Major League Baseball is also notoriously lax in monitoring it’s umpires. Players, managers, and many fans feel that umpires exercise what often feels like unrestricted power. In addition, the lack of oversight leads to inconsistency from umpire to umpire and game to game, which can be frustrating. Unless umpires are held accountable and to a standard of consistency, the flood of ejections likely won’t let up any time soon.

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