Ejection Inspection, Week 15: Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon Loses Cool

Joe Maddon
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 04: Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs argues with umpire Joe West #22 after being ejected in the fourth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 4, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Welcome to Week 15 of Ejection Inspection! (Note: Due to health issues with the author, this column has been delayed by two days.) The premise and ground rules 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 Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver. There were five ejections in Week 15 – three managers and two players. In one, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon gained the fourth Five Weaver ejection of the season for his antics in Pittsburgh on July 4th.

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

Here they are.

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Thu 7/4 CHC @PIT T4 Joe Maddon Mgr Joe West HP Arguing non-ejection on HBP
2 Thu 7/4 STL @SEA T4 Mike Shildt Mgr Rob Drake HP Arguing umpire action toward a player
3 Sat 7/6 NYM PHL B5 Todd Frazier 3B Tripp Gibson HP Arguing warning given to opponent
4 Sat 7/6 NYM PHL B5 Mickey Callaway Mgr Tripp Gibson HP Arguing non-ejection on HBP
5 Sun 7/7 DET BOS B1 Miguel Cabrera DH Will Little HP Arguing balls and strikes

 

Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs manager

When

Thursday, July 4th, at Pittsburgh Pirates, top of the fourth

Umpire

Joe West (HP)

Description

The first ejection of Week 15 came a full three days after the last ejection of Week 14. With the Cubs holding a 4-3 lead, left fielder Kyle Schwarber hit a two-out double with nobody on, bringing up shortstop Javier Baez. The first pitch to him from Jordan Lyles was inside but well above his head; however, he quickly ducked back from the plate. After working the count to 3-2, Baez took a fastball in on the hands. It looked scary at first, but it had harmlessly hit the knob of the bat.

Joe Maddon Yells from the Dugout

Maddon began yelling at either the Pirates dugout or Lyles. After he said a few things, the fans started to stir. The camera cut to the Cubs dugout in time to see Maddon yell, “Throw the ball over the (bleeping) plate! Let’s (bleeping) go!” West ejected him for that, and Maddon exited the dugout. He started jogging toward the Pirates dugout, saying to West, “I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at him!” as he pointed at Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. West pointed to the Cubs dugout and directed Joe Maddon to get off the field.

Joe Maddon Goes after Clint Hurdle

As Maddon reached West, West restrained Maddon, who said, “Get your hands off me!” A host of Cubs players and coaches grabbed Maddon and did not let him get at Hurdle. Meanwhile, Hurdle calmly stood in front of his dugout with his arms folded. As Joe Maddon fumed, Hurdle only nodded and softly said, “Way to go. Way to go.” Order shortly returned without any further incident.

Understand the frustration?

Sort of. Yes, the Pirates have hit a few batters this season with pitches that are high and tight. However, game situation must be kept in mind. They would not intentionally hit a batter in the fourth inning while they were trailing by one with a runner on second, two out, and a full count.

Was the ejection justified?

Definitely. Managers cannot be yelling that type of stuff across the field to an opponent and expect to stay in the game. Furthermore, it’s specifically prohibited in the rules. West acted correctly. It could have escalated to something even worse than what transpired.

Entertainment Rating

The combination of Maddon’s outburst and Hurdle’s calm reaction made this must-see tv. Five Weavers.

 

Mike Shildt, St. Louis Cardinals manager

When

Thursday, July 4th, at Seattle Mariners, top of the fourth

Umpire

Rob Drake (HP)

Description

Cardinals third baseman Yairo Munoz batted in the top of the fourth with the bases empty, one out, and the game tied at three. On 0-1, Muñoz held his hand up to request time, but Drake did not see it. Muñoz then turned to him and verbally requested time, but since the pitcher was starting his windup, time could not be granted. As the pitch was thrown, Muñoz stepped out of the box, and Drake called it a strike.

Muñoz shook his head and held his hand up, protesting to Drake that he had requested time. Drake threw his arms out to his side as he said something in response. Whatever was said in response angered Shildt, who began yelling at Drake in defense of his player. Muñoz grounded the next pitch to the shortstop for the second out. As he reached first, Drake angrily yelled at Shildt that he couldn’t grant time because the pitcher was ready to pitch. Shildt yelled back not to “yell (expletive) at my player.” Then Drake bounced him.

Shildt came out of the dugout and yelled (mixed with a lot of profanity) that he had no problem with time not being granted. He was upset with Drake’s response to Muñoz. After a heated discussion, Shildt left the field. On his way to the clubhouse, he patted Muñoz on the shoulder.

Understand the frustration?

Yes, because Drake yelled back at Muñoz while throwing his hands out to his side.

Was the ejection justified?

No. This was a giant misunderstanding that Drake mishandled and turned into a forest fire.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers. Shildt was livid. In the middle of it, Drake had a priceless look of confusion on his face that showed how large the miscommunication really was.

 

Todd Frazier, New York Mets third baseman
Mickey Callaway, New York Mets manager

When

Saturday, July 6th, vs. Philadelphia Phillies, bottom of the fifth

Umpire

Tripp Gibson (HP)

Description

With the bases empty and one out, Frazier stepped to the plate with the Mets trailing, 4-3. An 0-1 changeup from Jake Arrieta came in high and tight, drilling him near the elbow. He spiked his bat in frustration and gave Arrieta an earful as he made his way toward first. Gibson warned both benches, much to the dismay of Frazier, who argued the warnings. Gibson said, “They’re warnings. You can’t argue warnings.” Frazier continued, so Gibson said, “Okay, get out then,” and ran Frazier from the game. Before leaving, Frazier tore into Arrieta from behind his teammates. Callaway jogged out of the dugout, asked what happened, and then returned.

Two batters later, and with runners now on second and third, shortstop Amed Rosario took a 1-2 pitch directly off the thigh. Callaway exploded from the dugout, demanding through lots of yelling and f-bombs that Arrieta be ejected. Gibson launched him. Before leaving the field, Callaway went berserk, speaking with lots of arm movements.

Understand the frustration?

Yes, but managers and players are showing an incredible lack of situational knowledge while demanding that opponents be ejected this season. First off, Arrieta did not mean to hit Frazier, so Frazier demanding that Arrieta be ejected was silly. Secondly, a warning does not mean that any pitcher who hits a batter from that point on will be ejected. It means that anyone who hits a batter in a manner that seems intentional will be ejected. There is no way on Earth that Arrieta meant to hit Rosario with that pitch.

Was the ejection justified?

Both were. Gibson handled this entire situation very well.

Entertainment Rating

The two events in tandem earned Three Weavers. These were fun to watch.

 

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers designated hitter

When

Sunday, July 7th, vs. Boston Red Sox, top of the second

Umpire

Will Little (HP)

Description

In the bottom of the first, Cabrera dug in against David Price with a runner on second, nobody out, and the Tigers leading, 1-0. On 1-2, a pitch arrived near the letters and over the inner half of the plate. Cabrera thought it was ball two, but Little called it strike three.

One batter later, Little warned Cabrera, who was protesting the strikeout call from the dugout. After the inning ended, manager Ron Gardenhire came onto the field to talk to first base umpire and crew chief Joe West. Apparently, Cabrera started yelling at Little again from the dugout, because Little ejected him. Cabrera then came onto the field to talk to West. He remained calm and then left the field.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. The Tigers aren’t playing well, and Cabrera had just struck out when he had a chance to extend his team’s early lead.

Was the ejection justified?

Without hearing what Cabrera said, it’s hard to say. However, keep in mind that ejections also happen when someone goes on and on and on about something, and that might be what happened.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers. This was not entertaining; just confusing. Most people thought at first that Gardenhire was the one ejected.

 

Leaderboard

After 15 weeks, here are the leaders. Fight-related ejections are not counted toward the leaderboard.

Managers: Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire (seven), Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell (six)
Players: Cabrera (two)
Team high: Cincinnati Reds (10), Detroit Tigers (nine)
Team low: Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, and Tampa Bay Rays (one each)
Umpire: Mike Estabrook (eight)

 

Look for Week 16 on Thursday, July 18th, and thank you for all the well-wishes.

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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