Ejection Inspection, Week Three, Part One: Chicago Cubs LF Kyle Schwarber Goes Nuts

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 13: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs is restrained by Javier Baez #9 after being called out by the third base umpire during the ninth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Wrigley Field on April 13, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Welcome to Week Three of Ejection Inspection! The premise and ground rules of the column 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 Orioles manager Earl Weaver.

There were a whopping 16 ejections in Week Three – more than Week One and Week Two combined.  Four were players, one was a player on the injured list, three were coaches, and eight were managers.

Ejections 1-8 will be covered in Part One, while 9-16 will be covered in Part Two.

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Thu 4/11 ATL NYM B8 Snitker, Brian Mgr Bellino, Dan HP Arguing checked swing
2 Thu 4/11 CHC PIT B5 Maddon, Joe Mgr Estabrook, Mike HP Arguing balls/strikes
3 Sat 4/13 CHC LAA PG Schwarber, Kyle LF Morales, Gabe 3B Insulting/abusive language,
arguing checked swing,
throwing equipment while arguing
4 Sat 4/13 NYM @ATL B1 Callaway, Mickey Mgr Marquez, Alfonso HP Arguing balls/strikes
5 Sat 4/13 LAD MIL 4/5 Martin, Russell C Rehak, Jeremie HP Arguing balls/strikes
6 Sun 4/14 BAL @BOS B6 Brocail, Doug PtC Scheurwater, Stu 1B Arguing checked swing
7 Mon 4/15 BAL @BOS B5 Hyde, Brandon Mgr Wegner, Mark 1B Arguing replay of slide interference
8 Mon 4/15 MIN TOR B8 Baldelli, Rocco Mgr Estabrook, Mike HP Arguing strike vs foul ball ruling
9 Tue 4/16 WSN SF 5/6 Martinez, Dave Mgr Randazzo, Tony HP Arguing balls/strikes
10 Wed 4/17 CWS KC B6 Keller, Brad SP West, Joe 2B Intentionally throwing at a batter
11 Wed 4/17 CWS KC B6 Anderson, Tim SS West, Joe 2B Unknown
12 Wed 4/17 KC @CWS B6 Renteria, Rick Mgr West, Joe 2B Screaming at opponent
13 Wed 4/17 KC @CWS B6 Sveum, Dale BeC West, Joe 2B Screaming at opponent
14 Wed 4/17 CIN @LAD T5 Bell, David Mgr Mahrley, Nick HP Arguing balls/strikes
15 Wed 4/17 BAL @TB B3 Cossins, Tim FldCtr Bucknor, CB HP Arguing balls/strikes
16 Wed 4/17 LAA @TEX T9 Bour, Justin 1B Rehak, Jeremie HP Arguing balls/strikes,
insulting/abusive language

Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves Manager

When

Thursday, April 11, vs. New York Mets, bottom of the eighth

Umpire

Dan Bellino (HP)

Description

On an 0-1 count, Charlie Culberson tried to check his swing on a pitch in the dirt. Bellino ruled that he swung without appealing to first. Snitker, bench coach Walt Weiss, and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer all barked their disapproval from the dugout.

Understand the frustration?

Absolutely, for multiple reasons. For one, Bellino didn’t appeal to first. A lot of umpiring associations teach their new umpires to check in situations like that, even if they’re sure about it being a swing, just to remove all doubt. Secondly, the Braves’ dugout had a better view of the checked swing than Bellino did. Plus, according to replay, Culberson didn’t swing.

Was the ejection justified?

It’s hard to say based on the broadcast. Microphones couldn’t pick up exactly what the dugout was saying, and there is no video of any gestures that the dugout may have been making. Without knowing any of that, it seemed like a quick trigger.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. An agitated Snitker came out of the dugout and demonstratively held his arms out to the side multiple times as he gave Bellino a piece of his mind.

Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs Manager

When

Thursday, April 11, vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, bottom of the fifth

Umpire

Mike Estabrook (HP)

Description

On a 3-1 count with two on and one out, a slider to catcher Victor Caratini was called a strike. It was over the middle of the plate and near the knees. Maddon argued it at length from the dugout and then came on the field to argue it further, getting ejected.

Understand the frustration?

Maddon had little reason to be upset. That pitch was very close – if it was low at all. His pitchers were getting the same call. Plus, it broke downward sharply. It very easily could have entered the zone and then dove out of it. Estabrook also was not calling strikes on pitches in the higher end of the zone, even though they appeared to be low enough. Cubs RF Jason Heyward walked earlier in the inning when two of the high pitches were called balls.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. He was given plenty of chances to stay in the game. Estabrook told him from behind the plate to stop. Maddon then started complaining to the third base umpire. Estabrook took off his mask, calmly walked partway to the dugout, and told him again to stop. Maddon then came out of the dugout to keep yelling. Estabrook told him not to do it. Maddon continued, so Estabrook dumped him. That is at least three chances, and if the third base umpire also told him to stop (which he probably did) then that is four. It was like Maddon was trying to get tossed.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers. Maddon didn’t explode – he was just being annoying.

Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs LF

When

Saturday, April 13, vs. Los Angeles Angels, immediately after the game

Umpire

Gabe Morales (3B)

Description

Trailing 6-5 with a full count and the tying run on third and the winning run on second, Schwarber tried to check his swing on a breaking ball in the dirt. On appeal, third base umpire Gabe Morales ruled that he went around. Schwarber immediately exploded, pointing and yelling an expletive while spiking his helmet in anger. Morales ejected him instantly. Schwarber then charged toward Morales. Javier Baez, the runner on third, intercepted Schwarber and restrained him as he continued to go nuts.

Understand the frustration?

The Cubs haven’t played all that well yet this season. Schwarber had a chance to be a hero in what would have been a come-from-behind win. His frustration is understood, no question.

Was the ejection justified?

Absolutely. Remember, the quality of the call is irrelevant, although this author agreed with the umpire. A player absolutely cannot point and yell a two-word expletive at an umpire that ends with “you.” Schwarber had to go.

Entertainment Rating

Four Weavers. Schwarber went nuts, but it wasn’t over-the-top enough to earn five.

Mickey Callaway, New York Mets Manager

When

Saturday, April 13, at Atlanta Braves, bottom of first inning

Umpire

Alfonso Marquez (HP)

Description

Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas had faced six batters and only recorded one out. Three of those batters walked, including the last two. The most recent one walked in a run. Callaway had just replaced Vargas with Corey Oswalt, and on his way to the dugout he jawed at Marquez about the strike zone. After Marquez gave him two or three sentences to vent, he told Callaway to stop and go back to the dugout. Callaway continued arguing as he walked away, so Marquez tossed him.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. His pitcher was walking guys left and right, and he felt that Marquez was giving him a coffee can for a strike zone.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Marquez warned him and he kept arguing.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. It would have been zero, but the height difference between Callaway and Marquez made it somewhat comical.

Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers C

When

Saturday, April 13, vs. Milwaukee Brewers, between fourth and fifth innings

Umpire

Jeremie Rehak (HP)

Description

After a called third strike on a pitch that was almost a foot outside, Martin yelled “both ways” from the dugout at least six times in rapid succession. Rehak tossed Martin, who was on the injured list and wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. The pitch was nearly a foot outside.

Was the ejection justified?

Sort of. The quality of the call is irrelevant. Balls and strikes cannot be argued, and what Martin was doing is irritating. Remember, also, that Rehak called it a strike because he honestly felt it was a strike. That being said, Rehak would have handled it better by walking near the dugout, telling Martin that he had made his point, and that was enough. If Martin had continued after that, then it would have been proper to toss him.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers. This was so far under the radar that the Brewers television broadcast team didn’t even know that Martin had been ejected.

Doug Brocail, Baltimore Orioles Pitching Coach

When

Sunday, April 14, at Boston Red Sox, bottom of sixth inning

Umpire

Stu Scheurwater (1B)

Description

On a 1-2 count to Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts, he checked his swing on a pitch in the dirt. Scheurwater, on appeal, ruled that Bogaerts did not swing. The Orioles dugout was furious

Understand the frustration?

Not really. The Orioles were in the third base dugout. Bogaerts is right handed. How on Earth could they see that better than Scheurwater?

Was the ejection justified?

For the first base umpire to toss someone from the opposite dugout, there must have been direct eye contact and a loud voice. After the ejection, Brocail was throwing all kinds of profanity around. Based on those two points, it must have been justified.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. It involved a lot of red-faced yelling after the ejection but not much else.

Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles Manager

When

Monday, April 15, at Boston Red Sox, bottom of fifth inning

Umpire

Mark Wegner (1B)

Description

On a potential 5-4-3 double play grounder by Red Sox LF Steve Pearce, Red Sox 3B Rafael Devers overslid the bag at second and made contact with Orioles 2B Jonathan Villar. The popup slide prevented Villar from throwing the ball immediately, and Pearce was safe at first. Hyde challenged the ruling, and the replay umpire upheld the safe call. Hyde demanded an explanation and then asked in an expletive-laden manner what the point of the rule was. Wegner tossed him for arguing the replay ruling. Side note: during the NESN broadcast, Red Sox commentator Jerry Remy said, “I don’t want to say what he said, but he said something that stahted with a ‘horse.’ ”

Understand the frustration?

Of course. Many managers would have been tossed over this one. What’s the point of the rule if a guy can overslide the bag at second and prevent the fielder from making a quick throw to first? It should have been a double play. It’s baffling that the replay center ruled the way it did.

Was the ejection justified?

The rules clearly say that anyone who argues a replay ruling shall automatically be ejected. Wegner had no choice.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. The Red Sox broadcasting crew’s commentary was more entertaining than the ejection, so it earned a bonus point. Hyde yelled, but he wasn’t all that animated.

Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota Twins Manager

When

Monday, April 15, vs. Toronto Blue Jays, bottom of the eighth inning

Umpire

Mike Estabrook (HP)

Description

Twins 1B C.J. Cron swung at a 2-2 pitch. It would have been a foul ball, but the ball never touched his bat, hitting his hand instead. Estabrook correctly signaled dead ball, charged a strike, and called Cron out, since it was strike three. Cron briefly argued. Baldelli came up to Estabrook and asked for an explanation, which Estabrook gave. After a lengthy discussion, Baldelli was ejected.

Understand the frustration?

“The hands are part of the bat” is one of the biggest rule myths in baseball. They aren’t, and they never have been. The hands are part of the arm. What exacerbates this problem is that so many umpires in Little League who have never been properly trained call this incorrectly based on the myth.

Having said that, in the post-game interview, it was obvious that Baldelli knew this rule beforehand. He felt that the ball hit the bat first, as did Cron. He was backing up his player.

Was the ejection justified?

Baldelli never raised his voice, but it appeared from replay (through gestures and body language) that he wasn’t going to leave the field unless he was ejected, so yes.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers.

Click here for Part Two.

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