Ejection Inspection, Week 19: Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox Rip into Mike Estabrook

Alex Cora
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 03: Manager Alex Cora #20 of the Boston Red Sox argues with home plate umpire Mike Estabrook after Cora was tossed from the game in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees during game one of a double header at Yankee Stadium on August 03, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Alex Cora Rips into Mike Estabrook

Welcome to Week 19 of Ejection Inspection! 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. Alex Cora and Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox highlight the ejection list for the week, as umpire Mike Estabrook widened his lead for total ejections in the season.

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

There were five ejections in Week 19 – one manager and four players.

Ejection Table

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Thu 8/1 HOU @CLE B6 Josh Reddick RF Vic Carapazza HP Throwing equipment toward umpire
2 Sat 8/3 BOS @NYY B4 Alex Cora Mgr Mike Estabrook HP Arguing balls/strikes
3 Sat 8/3 BOS @NYY B4 Chris Sale P Mike Estabrook HP Arguing balls/strikes
4 Tue 8/6 AZ PHL B8 Jarrod Dyson CF Tom Hallion HP Arguing balls/strikes
5 Tue 8/6 SEA SD B7 Daniel Vogelbach 1B Mark Wegner HP Arguing balls/strikes

 

Josh Reddick, Houston Astros Right Fielder

When

Thursday, August 1st, at Cleveland Indians, bottom of the sixth

Umpire

Vic Carapazza (HP)

Description

The Astros led, 2-1, in the top of the sixth. They were facing reliever Tyler Clippard with runners on the corners and two out. Reddick worked the count to 1-2 before chasing a pitch in the dirt and inside. It rebounded off the catcher’s chest protector and settled about 20 feet up the first base line. Reddick claimed that he foul tipped it, but Carapazza said nothing. The catcher scurried to the ball, scooped it up, walked back to Reddick, and tagged him, retiring the side.

Reddick tossed his bat in front of him in frustration then spiked his helmet. Carapazza pointed at him, indicating that Reddick was going to be fined for an equipment violation. Reddick headed back to the dugout, removing his batting gloves. He threw them back toward the plate, at which point Carapazza threw him out.

Understand the frustration?

Yes, since Reddick honestly felt that he got a piece of the pitch.

Was the ejection justified?

Absolutely. He threw his batting gloves toward the umpire. That’s automatic.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. This was stupid.

Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox Manager
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox Pitcher

When

Saturday, August 3rd, at New York Yankees, bottom of the fourth

Umpire

Mike Estabrook (HP)

Description

Sale took the mound in the bottom of the fourth with the score tied at one. With one out, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion hit a seeing-eye single to right that snuck under Brock Holt’s glove at second base. Up next was Gio Urshela, who quickly fell into an 0-2 hole. Sale threw a fastball over the inner part of the plate and near the top of the zone. Estabrook called it a ball, much to the dismay of both Sale and the Red Sox dugout. The pitch appeared, in replay, to barely clip the top of the zone. Sale said, “That’s a (bleepin’) strike, man, let’s (bleepin’) go.” He threw his next pitch in anger and nearly hit Urshela in the arm. Two foul balls ensued, then pitch number seven missed low and away to bring the count full. Urshela drove the eighth pitch into right-center for a single.

Right fielder Cameron Maybin came up next and hit an infield fly on the first pitch. Catcher Kyle Higashioka also swung at the first pitch, smashing a hot grounder down the third base line. Rafael Devers dove and, although he didn’t field it, knocked it down, saving a run. With the bases now loaded, second baseman Breyvic Valera dug in. Sale’s first two pitches were in the dirt, but the third pitch was right down the middle, and Valera stroked it into right for an RBI single.

Enter Alex Cora

Alex Cora visited the mound, calling in the rest of the infield for the conference. Red Sox color commentator Jerry Remy said, “I wonder if (Cora’s) gonna give the plate umpire an earful. . . because he’s not saying much.” On cue, Estabrook arrived at the mound to break the conference up. Cora said, “You (bleeped) us up.” Estabrook gave him the thumb, but Cora was only beginning.

He followed Estabrook back to the plate and pointed, saying, “That’s a (bleeping) strike right there. That’s a strike!” He held up five fingers, saying, “And that’s about five (expletive) pitches you’ve missed.” Then Cora started pointing all over the field, continuing to argue as he pointed at each baserunner. He pointed again at the plate and repeated the same f-bomb laden claim he opened with. What he said next was indecipherable through lip reading, but he pointed back and forth twice, alternating between the outfield and plate with his left and right hand, respectively. Then he said, “Let’s go. Get it right. Let’s go.” He gave about four more finger points as he finished his rant. Estabrook smugly stuck his lip out and nodded as Cora stormed away.

Chris Sale Joins Alex Cora

Ejections like that one can spark a team. This one did, but it was the opposing team. Center fielder Brett Gardner smacked a two-run single up the middle. When the throw home got by the catcher, both runners advanced, bringing up D.J. LeMahieu, who belted a three-run home run to right-center. Next was right fielder Aaron Judge. The first pitch looked like it broke across the plate toward Judge, but Estabrook ruled it a ball. On 2-2, Sale threw a fastball over the heart of the plate and well below the letters – a pitch that put some guys into the Hall of Fame. “Ball three,” said Estabrook. An extremely frustrated Sale turned away in silence as Leon – while still facing forward – let Estabrook have it. Judge ripped the next pitch into the left field corner, where it bounded over the fence for a ground-rule double.

Sale left the game. As his coach arrived at the mound, he asked, “Was that first one a (bleepin’) strike? Was that a strike?” He then marched toward the dugout. While en route, he gave Estabrook an f-bomb-laced evaluation of his performance calling balls and strikes. Estabrook nonchalantly dumped him while writing down the substitution. Sale barked a few more words while pointing and headed straight to the clubhouse.

Understand the frustration?

Absolutely. Estabrook’s strike zone has been one of the shakiest in the league this season. This game was no exception. Against guys who are “savages in the box,” pitchers must nibble on the corners. If an umpire doesn’t give him a pitch that clips the edge of the zone, he must pitch closer to the middle of the zone, and that will make for a rough outing.

It also does not help that Estabrook has such a smug, condescending demeanor. This is probably why he leads the league in ejections and spawned this season’s first Five Weaver ejection (Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell).

Were the ejections justified?

Yes. Regardless of the circumstances, arguing balls and strikes warrants an ejection.

Entertainment Rating

Cora’s finger-pointing rant was fun to watch, earning Three Weavers. Sale received only One Weaver.

 

Jarrod Dyson, Arizona Diamondbacks Center Fielder

When

Tuesday, August 6th, vs. Philadelphia Phillies, bottom of the eighth

Umpire

Tom Hallion (HP)

Description

Dyson batted with one out and the bases empty. The score was 8-4. On 0-1, Hallion called a pitch that was almost four inches off the plate a strike. Dyson shook his head and stepped back to adjust his batting gloves. He said, “That’s (bleeping) low.” Hallion said through his mask, “Get back in the (bleeping) box.” Dyson took offense, coming over to him and snapping, “Shut the (expletive) up! Don’t tell me to get back in the (expletive) box!” Hallion bounced him after the first sentence. Dyson ended his retort with a two-word expletive ending in “you.” Dyson continued to tear into Hallion in an f-bomb-laden tirade before third base coach Tony Perezchica jogged up and led Dyson away. Manager Torey Lovullo then asked for an explanation from Hallion, returning to the dugout with a disgusted look on his face after an extended discussion.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Not only was the pitch unhittable, but Hallion poured gasoline on the fire. Dyson is a mild-mannered guy who had never been ejected from a major league game before. Umpires are supposed to calm tense situations, not exacerbate them.

Was the ejection justified?

By the book, yes. However, if Hallion is going to respond to an f-bomb from Dyson with an f-bomb of his own, it is hard to justify throwing Dyson out. In person, this entire sequence did not look good. On video, it looked even worse.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. It was so quick that this author hardly noticed it from the press box until Perezchica restrained Dyson.

 

Daniel Vogelbach, Seattle Mariners First Baseman

When

Tuesday, August 6th, vs. San Diego Padres, bottom of the seventh

Umpire

Mark Wegner (HP)

Description

Vogelbach led off the bottom of the seventh with his team trailing, 5-0, and having yet to register a hit. On 3-2, a breaking pitch missed inside. It appeared from replay that it started off inside, then broke even closer to Vogelbach. He snapped a few words of frustration as he spun toward the first base dugout. He then said a sentence or two toward Wegner before walking to the dugout. En route, he said another sentence back over his shoulder. After the first pitch to catcher Omar Narváez, the next hitter, Vogelbach yelled one statement too many. Wegner removed his mask and sent Vogelbach to the showers.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. It’s bad enough to be no-hit, but to be called out on a pitch that far inside rubs salt in the wound. Wegner showed a tremendous amount of understanding by letting Vogelbach vent as much as he did.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Vogelbach said his piece, while Wegner gave him a long leash. Once Narváez’s at-bat started, Vogelbach should have dropped it.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. This was not very memorable.

 

Leaderboard

After 19 weeks, here are the leaders. Fight-related ejections do not count toward the leaderboard.

Managers: Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell (eight), Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire (seven)
Players: Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera and Kansas City Royals right fielder Jorge Soler (two each)
Team high: Reds (17), Tigers (nine)
Team low: Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays (one each)
Umpire: Estabrook (10)

 

Look for Week 20 on Thursday, August 15th.

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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