Ejection Inspection, Week Six: Marty Foster Ejects Three

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 2: Manager David Bell #25 of the Cincinnati Reds rushes out to argue with umpire Marty Foster #60 who signals the ejection call as Bell gets between Foster and player Jesse Winker #33 of the Reds who argued a strike call by Foster as both Winker and Bell got ejected from the game in the ninth inning of an MLB baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on May 2, 2019 at Citi Field in the Queens borough of New York City. Mets won 1-0. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Welcome to Week Six 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. Week Six saw Marty Foster eject three people. Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell and Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria also received their third ejections of the season.

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

There were 10 ejections in Week Six – five players and five managers.

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Thu 5/2 CIN @NYM T9 Jesse Winker LF Marty Foster HP Arguing balls/strikes
2 Thu 5/2 CIN @NYM T9 David Bell Mgr Marty Foster HP Arguing balls/strikes
3 Fri 5/3 ATL @MIA B2 Kevin Gausman P Jeff Nelson HP Intentionally throwing at a batter
4 Fri 5/3 MIA ATL B6 Don Mattingly Mgr Jeff Nelson HP Arguing balls/strikes from the dugout
5 Fri 5/3 TOR @TEX M12 Justin Smoak DH Mike Estabrook HP Arguing balls/strikes
6 Mon 5/6 TOR MIN B5 Charlie Montoyo Mgr Adam Hamari HP Arguing balls/strikes
7 Tue 5/7 CWS @CLE B8 Rick Renteria Mgr Marty Foster 3B Arguing checked swing from dugout
8 Tue 5/7 WSN @MIL M7 Anthony Rendon 3B CB Bucknor HP Arguing balls/strikes with bat
9 Wed 5/8 KC @HOU T7 Martin Maldonado C Brian Knight HP Arguing balls/strikes
10 Wed 5/8 KC @HOU T7 Ned Yost Mgr Brian Knight HP Arguing balls/strikes

 

Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds Left Fielder
David Bell, Cincinnati Reds Manager

When

Thursday, May 2, at New York Mets, top of the ninth

Umpire

Marty Foster (HP)

Description

With his team trailing 1-0, Winker took an 0-1 pitch at the letters that the catcher caught well wide of the plate. Foster called it strike two, to the dismay of Winker. Winker dropped his hands to his side and either mouthed or said, “Oh my god.” Foster said something to Winker, who responded with, “I didn’t say anything.” Foster said something else. Then Winker turned around, put his hands out, and said again, “I didn’t say anything.” Foster motioned to him to get back in the batter’s box so they could continue the game. Winker started to argue even more emphatically, shouting, “I didn’t say anything” over and over. Then Bell sprinted out of the dugout to intervene. Winker had lost his mind by then, and Foster tossed him just as Bell arrived.

Bell was tossed almost immediately after Winker was. He then let Foster have it. Third base umpire and crew chief Ron Kulpa came between them, facing Bell the whole time. Bell – yelling the whole time – was walking back and forth, trying to get to Foster, but Kulpa stayed in his way. This continued for about a minute or so before he went back to the dugout.

Understand the frustration?

Absolutely. That pitch did not appear to be close due to the way the catcher caught it. Furthermore, the patience of the players on both teams was already thin due to Foster’s zone from the entire game.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Foster gave Winker a long leash. He did not need to go on and on about it.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers. Winker was pretty steamed, and Bell has been entertaining in all three of his ejections this season. Watching him pace back and forth while Kulpa stayed in his way was quite funny. The situation went from funny to hilarious when Winker got to the dugout. He threw his helmet to the ground on the way to the clubhouse entrance. It then bounced up and hit ace pitcher Luis Castillo in the back of the head. (Castillo was annoyed but uninjured.)

Kevin Gausman, Atlanta Braves Pitcher

Friday, May 3, at Miami Marlins, bottom of the second

Umpire

Jeff Nelson (HP)

Description

There is history for this one. This was the first time the Braves faced Marlins pitcher Jose Ureña since he infamously plunked Ronald Acuña Jr. on the elbow last season. (Ureña was ejected and subsequently suspended for six games.) Ureña didn’t do it in response to any unsportsmanlike act by Acuña – no, he did it because Acuña was on a hot streak.

Gausman’s first pitch to Ureña was behind him. Nelson immediately ejected Gausman. Protest ensued from Braves catcher Brian McCann and manager Brian Snitker, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Understand the frustration?

With Ureña? Yes, but since the league suspended Ureña, the only real reason to hit him is to either put him in pain or injure him enough to knock him out of the game.

With Nelson? Of course. During the broadcast on Fox Sports South, field reporter Paul Byrd reported that there were no warnings issued before the game. As indicated by the Braves’ reaction, they expected a warning.

Was the ejection justified?

By the book, yes. In practice, no. Since no warning was issued, it felt like a quick trigger. (Epilogue: Gausman was later fined by the league and suspended for five games.)

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers.

Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins Manager

When

Friday, May 3, vs. Atlanta Braves, bottom of the sixth

Umpire

Jeff Nelson (HP)

Description

In the bottom of the sixth, a 3-0 fastball from right-handed reliever Touki Toussaint that nearly hit the ground was called strike one. The batter, catcher Jorge Alfaro, had started to trot to first and was surprised to hear it be called a strike. The Fox Sports South broadcast team did not see that Nelson had called it a strike and thought that Alfaro had lost track of the count. The Braves were also surprised, as pitching coach Rick Kranitz went to the mound to talk to Toussaint immediately after the ball hit McCann’s glove.

Mattingly was ejected while he was still in the dugout. He then went up to Nelson and launched a profanity-laced tirade that the Fox Sports South microphones picked up every word of. After third base umpire and crew chief Laz Diaz intervened, Mattingly left the field.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. In the top of the inning, a 1-2 tailing fastball over the inside corner that was much closer than this pitch was called a ball. Two pitches later, the batter – Braves catcher Brian McCann – hit a two-run homer to make the score 5-1. That coupled with this pitch understandably put Mattingly over the edge.

Was the ejection justified?

Without knowing what was said from the dugout, it is hard to say. Mattingly flashed a number two while saying whatever it was. Umpires don’t like it when managers and players bring up the past, but they tend to give warnings first (usually along the lines of “that’s enough” or “no more.”) Nelson did neither. As seen from his ejection of Gausman earlier in the game, he wasn’t in the mood to give warnings.

Therefore, no, it didn’t seem to be justified.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. The Fox Sports South microphone picked up almost every word of his profanity-laced tirade after the ejection. He was emphatic but didn’t lose his mind.

Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays Designated Hitter

When

Friday, May 3, at Texas Rangers, middle of the 12th

Umpire

Mike Estabrook (HP)

Description

With the bases loaded and two out in the top of the 12th, Smoak took a 3-0 fastball over the outside corner for strike one. The pitch easily could have been called ball four, so Smoak winced in frustration. He then fouled off the next three. A curveball just on the edge of the top of the strike zone came in next, and Estabrook called strike three. Smoak had already dropped his bat, thinking he had walked, and when he realized that it was called a strike, he let Estabrook have it.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Anyone would be frustrated after striking out with the bases loaded, so to do so while thinking that the pitch was ball four would be especially frustrating.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Not only did he demonstrably argue balls and strikes, but there were a lot of f-bombs.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. It was fairly mild.

Charlie Montoyo, Toronto Blue Jays Manager

When

Monday, May 6, vs. Minnesota Twins, bottom of the fifth

Umpire

Adam Hamari (HP)

Description

With no one out and a runner on first, Blue Jays second baseman Brandon Drury took strike one on a pitch that was well below the knees. Three pitches later, on an 0-2 count, Drury took another pitch that was even lower than the first one. Hamari rang him up. Drury barked a few words of frustration before Montoyo ran to him. After Drury started to head back to the dugout, Montoyo walked up to Hamari to let him know what he thought about his strike zone. Hamari wound up to toss Montoyo but paused. Montoyo kept jawing at him, so Hamari ran him.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Even though Hamari was consistent, those pitches were well below the knees.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. The rules clearly state that arguing balls and strikes are grounds for ejection. When a manager comes out of the dugout to do so, it’s guaranteed to happen.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers. It looked like a conversation between neighbors.

Rick Renteria, Chicago White Sox Manager

When

Tuesday, May 7, at Cleveland Indians, bottom of the eighth

Umpire

Marty Foster (3B)

Description

With the bases loaded, one out, and the visiting White Sox protecting a 2-0 lead, Indians first baseman Carlos Santana tried to check his swing on a pitch below the zone. On appeal, Foster ruled that Santana did not go around. Renteria and his coaches vehemently and loudly argued from the first base dugout. A long-distance shouting match ensued between them and Foster. Foster told them, “Knock it off!” Renteria kept motioning with his hands while yelling “all the way around.” After Renteria said this six times, Foster tossed him.

Understand the frustration?

Yes, but not to the extent of saying it six more times after the umpire says to stop.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Renteria kept going on and on.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. Renteria was yelling while motioning with his arms and even stepped on the field to yell a few more times before going to the clubhouse. (Side note: Renteria probably stopped when he did only because it was cold out and he didn’t want his pitcher to get stiff.)

Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals Third Baseman

When

Tuesday, May 7, at Milwaukee Brewers, middle of the seventh

Umpire

CB Bucknor (HP)

Description

With runners on first and second and two out in a scoreless game, Rendon took a thigh-high fastball that was near the outside corner. Bucknor called strike three, ending the half-inning. Rendon argued and then spiked the end of the bat where he thought the pitch was. Bucknor then sent him to the showers.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Rendon thought the pitch was outside.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Once Rendon spiked his bat on the ground where he thought the pitch was, Bucknor had no choice.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. Rendon was mad, but the incident was over before most people realized it had started.

Martin Maldonado, Kansas City Royals Catcher
Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals Manager

When

Wednesday, May 8, at Houston Astros, top of the seventh

Umpire

Brian Knight (HP)

Description

On 1-1, Maldonado took a fastball that appeared to be slightly wide of the plate but was called strike two. He then took a fastball over the outside corner for strike three. He stayed at the plate and argued nose-to-nose with Knight. After several seconds of back-and-forth, Knight removed his mask and told Maldonado, “Walk away.” While Maldonado was walking to the dugout, he said something else back over his shoulder. Then Knight tossed him.

Yost arrived and gave Knight a piece of his mind. He was quickly ejected but stayed to say a few more angry words before leaving the game.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Maldonado was already frustrated from the Royals getting whipped, he thought the pitch was outside, and he didn’t feel like his pitcher was getting the same call. Yost was frustrated by his team not playing well and the fact that he had just lost his catcher.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Knight told him to walk away. Maldonado did but yelled something else over his shoulder in the process. That will get a player dumped just about every time.

Yost came out of the dugout to argue balls and strikes, which will also get a manager dumped just about every time.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers for Maldonado. It was eye-rolling more than anything.

One Weaver for Yost. He was angry but not very emphatic.

Look for Week Seven on Thursday, May 16.

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
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