Ejection Inspection, Week Four: Bryce Harper Gets First Ejection with Philadelphia Phillies

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 22: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies is ejected by home plate umpire Mark Carlson during their game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Welcome to Week Four 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.

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

There were six ejections in Week Four – two players and four managers. One was Bryce Harper‘s first ejection with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Thu 4/18 SF @WSN T5 Bochy, Bruce Mgr Additon, Ryan HP Arguing balls and strikes
2 Thu 4/18 SF @WSN M7 Belt, Brandon LF Additon, Ryan HP Throwing equipment in dissent
3 Fri 4/19 DET CWS T5 Gardenhire, Ron Mgr Tichenor, Todd HP Arguing balls and strikes
4 Sat 4/20 NYY KC B3 Boone, Aaron Mgr Meals, Jerry 2B Arguing fan interference replay
5 Sun 4/21 NYM @STL T7 Callaway, Mickey Mgr Emmel, Paul 3B Arguing swing on HBP
6 Mon 4/22 PHL @NYM T4 Harper, Bryce RF Carlson, Mark HP Arguing balls/strikes from dugout

Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants Manager

When

Thursday, April 18, at Washington Nationals, top of the fifth

Umpire

Ryan Additon (HP)

Description

On a full count, left fielder Brandon Belt took a pitch that was off the plate and was called out on strikes. Belt briefly protested. Bochy walked up to Additon to protest the strike call face-to-face and was promptly ejected.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. The pitch was outside. Even though the Giants’ pitchers were getting the same call, it didn’t matter to Bochy or Belt in the moment. A batter doesn’t want any pitch that’s off the plate to be called a strike.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. The rules clearly say that coming out of the dugout to argue balls and strikes warrants ejection.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. Bochy only got slightly heated.

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants Left Fielder

Thursday, April 18, at Washington Nationals, middle of the seventh

Umpire

Ryan Additon (HP)

Description

Belt was called out on strikes for the second straight at-bat on a pitch that looked to be slightly outside. In frustration, he spiked his helmet as he loudly argued.

Understand the frustration?

Absolutely. It had just happened for the second straight at-bat. Few players in the league would not have been thrown out over that one.

Was the ejection justified?

Once Belt threw his equipment in protest, Additon was required to eject him by rule.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. Belt threw that helmet hard and got in several good shouts before he went to the clubhouse.

Ron Gardenhire, Detroit Tigers Manager

When

Friday, April 19, vs. Chicago White Sox, top of the fifth

Umpire

Todd Tichenor (HP)

Description

With the bases loaded, two out, and the game tied at one, Detroit pitcher Jordan Zimmermann walked third baseman Yoan Moncada on five pitches. Gardenhire loudly argued from the dugout and was tossed.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. The walk brought in a run, giving the White Sox a 2-0 lead.

Was the ejection justified?

Arguing balls and strikes is automatic but typically draws a warning first. It was hard to tell from video whether Tichenor gave Gardenhire a warning first. However, from lip-reading, Gardenhire’s protests appeared to contain a high amount of profanity, and there are a lot of umpires who will forego warnings in that situation.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. Gardenhire did not yell for long. He came out of the dugout after his ejection to vent more frustration but was only there briefly. It was such a fast and low-key ejection that the White Sox broadcast team did not know Gardenhire had been dumped until he went into the clubhouse.

Aaron Boone, New York Yankees Manager

When

Saturday, April 20, vs. Kansas City Royals, bottom of the third

Umpire

Jerry Meals (2B)

Description

Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres hit a deep fly to left with two on and one out. Royals left fielder Alex Gordon leapt to catch the ball, but a fan in the front row reached in front of Gordon’s glove and tried to catch it. He failed, knocking the ball back onto the field. Third base umpire Marty Foster called it a home run. Royals manager Ned Yost challenged for fan interference. After a much-longer-than-usual video review, Torres was called out for fan interference. (If former Baltimore Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco saw this play, he might have been smiling.) Boone jogged to Meals to get an explanation of the ruling. Meals told him the ruling, answered a question from Boone, and walked away. Then Boone angrily screamed a two-word expletive at Meals’ back and was promptly tossed.

Understand the frustration?

Most managers in the league would have been thrown out over this one no matter how obvious it was, so yes.

Having said that, the fact that Gordon jumped to attempt the catch slightly complicates this. However, Gordon’s glove was directly below the ball, even though he was mid-air. Would Gordon have made the catch had the fan not interfered? Probably. The fan’s hands were directly in front of the webbing of Gordon’s glove. Nothing’s for certain – players occasionally mistime the closing of their gloves on routine plays, after all – but the fan unquestionably interfered with the opportunity to make the catch, and that is what mattered.

The second part of the debate is whether the fan reached onto the field. Since the fan was against the railing and leaning forward at the waist, he absolutely did.

Was the ejection justified?

Arguing a replay decision is automatic, so yes. Even if it weren’t automatic, though, it still would have been justified because of what Boone yelled at Meals’ back.

Entertainment Rating

Boone was steamed. After being tossed, he let off the rest of his steam at two other umpires before leaving the field.

This was a fun one to watch, but it didn’t last all that long. Therefore, it gets three Weavers.

Mickey Callaway, New York Mets Manager

When

Sunday, April 21, at St. Louis Cardinals, top of the seventh

Umpire

Paul Emmel (3B)

Description

With one out and the bases empty, Mets second baseman Robinson Cano started to swing at an 0-1 inside fastball. He stopped his swing as the pitch struck him on the right hand. After being checked, he left the game. Third base umpire Paul Emmel, on appeal, ruled that Cano swung. Consequently, instead of Cano’s substitute going to first base, he inherited an 0-2 count as he finished the at-bat. (The substitute, by the way, was center fielder Juan Lagares.)

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Every manager in the league would have been thrown out over this even if the call was correct (and it wasn’t).

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Arguing a checked swing is the same as arguing balls and strikes, which is an automatic ejection.

Entertainment Rating

Callaway blew a gasket but did not have to be restrained, so this earns three Weavers.

Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies Right Fielder

When

Saturday, April 20, vs. Kansas City Royals, bottom of the third

Umpire

Mark Carlson (HP)

Description

Trailing 2-0, Harper led off the top of the fourth by striking out looking at a 2-2 fastball on the outside corner. He disagreed with the fourth pitch, which was called strike two. On his way to the dugout, he yelled something brief over his shoulder. Four batters later, the plate umpire ejected Harper, who was barking at him from the dugout. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler charged on the field and went ballistic toward Carlson, with Harper close behind. After about a minute, both left the field, and the game resumed. (Incredibly, Kapler was not ejected.)

Understand the frustration?

To an extent, but Harper focused too much on strike two. Furthermore, to get ejected four hitters later is both childish and ridiculous. It didn’t make sense for him to keep hollering at Carlson that long after his at-bat ended.

Was the ejection justified?

According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Carlson said, “What he (Harper) said warranted an automatic ejection,” saying that it was “personal” and involved profane language. Any time someone gets personal with an umpire and uses bad language, he’s going to be thrown out.

The way Harper reacted afterwards, he’s lucky not to have been fined, suspended, or both.

Entertainment Rating

Harper came unglued and had to be restrained by two different people. His argument was so forceful that accidentally bumped Kapler into Carlson. He also did not leave the field quickly. Therefore, this earns four Weavers.

Look for Week Five on Thursday, May 2.

Evan Thompson played baseball as a youth and teenager. He also umpired between 1995 and 2004 and has coached at the high school level.

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