Ejection Inspection, Week 21: Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees Make Fools of Themselves

Brett Gardner
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 17: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees is restrained by teammates as he argues with the umpires after his sixth inning ejection against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium on August 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Brett Gardner, New York Yankees Make Fools of Themselves

Welcome to Week 21 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. This week, Brett Gardner and several of his teammates with the New York Yankees made fools of themselves, drawing three ejections in the process, but they weren’t the only high-ranking ejections.

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

There were seven ejections in Week 21 – three managers and four players.

Ejection Table

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Sat 8/17 NYY CLE B6 Aaron Boone Mgr Ben May HP Arguing balls/strikes
2 Sat 8/17 NYY CLE B6 Brett Gardner CF Phil Cuzzi 1B Dissent by action
3 Sat 8/17 NYY CLE B6 C.C. Sabathia P Phil Cuzzi 1B Dissent by action
4 Mon 8/19 DET @HOU B5 Miguel Cabrera DH Alfonso Marquez HP Continuing to argue after order to stop
5 Mon 8/19 DET @HOU B5 Ron Gardenhire Mgr Alfonso Marquez HP Arguing ejection of player
6 Tue 8/20 ATL MIA B1 Brian Snitker Mgr Mark Wegner 1B Arguing a warning
7 Wed 8/21 TB SEA B6 Jesus Aguilar 1B John Libka HP Arguing balls/strikes

 

Aaron Boone, New York Yankees Manager
Brett Gardner, New York Yankees Center Fielder
C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees Pitcher

When

Saturday, August 17th, vs. Cleveland Indians, bottom of the sixth

Umpires

Boone – Ben May (HP), Gardner and Sabathia – Phil Cuzzi (1B)

Description

It was a scene that has become familiar. Yankees right fielder Cameron Maybin, once again, took an awfully close pitch with two strikes. Once again, the umpire called strike three, and, once again, Maybin complained. Boone barked protest from the dugout into the at-bat of the next hitter, left fielder Mike Tauchman. May looked at the dugout, put his hand up, and warned Boone to stop. Boone did not, so May threw him out.

Fans have seen the next movie before, also. Boone came out of the dugout to get his money’s worth. While he argued, Brett Gardner picked up a bat and started ramming it against the dugout roof. However, the movie had a plot twist – Cuzzi heard Gardner ramming the bat and threw him out over it. C.C. Sabathia then stood on the top step of the dugout and screamed something that Cuzzi didn’t like, drawing another ejection. Gardner ran onto the field and threw a fit, claiming that he’s allowed to ram the bat against the roof. After about a minute, everything boiled over, and the game continued.

Understand the frustration?

Not as much as the incident in Toronto. They should know better by now. This pitch, while off the plate, was very close. People need to keep in mind that a ball/strike call is determined by where the pitch crosses the plate, not where the catcher catches it. This pitch was coming in at an outward angle. The catcher caught it farther outside than the pitch was when it went by the plate. It was close enough for Maybin to swing at it and keep it out of the umpire’s hands. (Author’s Note: I played in the late 80s and early 90s. My coaches all taught us to “protect the plate” on two strikes and not leave our fate in the umpire’s hands. Why don’t more major leaguers do this?)

If a Yankee pitcher had thrown the same pitch, Maybin probably would have complained if it were called a ball. One of his teammates has over 3000 strikeouts. Dozens, maybe even hundreds, came on pitches exactly like that one.

Were the ejections justified?

Yes. Boone had been warned, yet he continued. Maybin has whined so much that he’s lucky he hasn’t been tossed yet this season. The antics of Brett Gardner were unsportsmanlike and childish. Joe Torre himself said that Gardner should have been ejected for doing it the other times that he had. Any logical person who heard that would have expected him to be run the next time he did it. As far as Sabathia goes, no microphone picked up what he said, and a camera didn’t show his lips. However, Cuzzi is not a guy with a quick trigger finger, so if he threw Sabathia out, Sabathia must have crossed the line with what he said.

The Yankees need to grow up and stop acting like clowns. They need to protect the plate on two strikes. Taking super-close pitches and then complaining when an umpire calls it a strike is not a good idea, especially because their pitchers want those pitches to be strikes when they throw them.

Side note: It’s safe to say that Brett Gardner won’t be ramming his bat against dugout ceilings anymore.

Entertainment Rating

The whole charade, despite its childishness, was pretty funny. Four Weavers.

 

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers Designated Hitter
Ron Gardenhire, Detroit Tigers Manager

When

Monday, August 19th, at Houston Astros, bottom of the fifth

Umpire

Alfonso Marquez (HP)

Description

Before Cabrera batted in the fifth inning, Marquez tried to enforce the pace of play mandate that Major League Baseball gave before the season. Cabrera argued it and made no change to his routine. In the bottom of the inning, as Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez batted, Cabrera loudly argued between every pitch. When the count made it to 3-2, Marquez threw him out.

Gardenhire came onto the field to find out what happened, saying that Cabrera had not said a single word to him. Marquez tried to tell him what happened, but Gardenhire yelled over him, saying, “No, I’m not gonna (expletive) listen to you.” Marquez said, “Alright,” and walked away. Gardenhire followed him, saying, “You just threw him (expletive) out. For no (gosh-darned) reason!” See ya. Gardy yelled even more loudly that it was something that starts with “horse.” As Gardenhire continued ranting, Marquez said that he gave Cabrera three warnings and told Gardenhire to ask him. Gardenhire continued his tirade for a few more seconds and stormed to the dugout.

Before heading into the tunnel, he said it was a bleeping “shame” and then yelled through the fence, “You oughta be ashamed!” Cabrera made the crybaby motion (faking that he was rubbing his eyes) and then called Marquez a female dog as he headed to the tunnel. He started to say another parting shot, but when he noticed the television camera pointing straight into his face, he stopped, waved at the camera in an “I’m done!” motion, and disappeared down the stairs.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. The pace-of-play guidelines sometimes go too far. Cabrera has his ritual and has for over 16 years. During the at-bat, he stays in the box. What he does before the at-bat is not a big deal as long as he’s not holding up a pitcher who is ready to start his windup. It’s not like he’s Mike “The Human Rain Delay” Hargrove.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. It wasn’t a big deal when Cabrera mocked Marquez to his teammates in the dugout between innings. In fact, it is likely that Marquez didn’t even hear him, since he was supervising the warmup pitches. However, Cabrera yelled at Marquez from the dugout as Alvarez got ready. (Keep in mind, the players get 30 seconds. Umpires only say something to players when the 30 seconds expire, and yes, there is a big clock in an easily visible place.) Cabrera also yelled between every pitch, even though Alvarez only left the box once (and did so legally because it was after a foul ball). If Marquez did in fact warn Cabrera three times, then he was more than patient.

Also, Gardenhire’s ejection was 100% justified.

Entertainment Rating

Four Weavers. This was hilarious.

 

Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves Manager

When

Tuesday, August 20th, vs. Miami Marlins, bottom of the first

Umpire

Mark Wegner (1B)

Description

Marlins pitcher Elieser Hernandez hit Braves center fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. in the back with the first pitch of the game. Acuña, of course, did not appreciate it, especially given the Marlins’ history of drilling him intentionally. Plate umpire Alan Porter warned Hernandez and both benches, drawing the ire of Snitker. He loudly pled his case with both Porter and Wegner until Wegner dumped him. (His lips were hard to read other than f-bombs.)

Understand the frustration?

Yes. It was ludicrous to issue a warning there. If it was serious enough to warn the pitcher, he should have thrown him out. Otherwise, only warn if there’s a retaliation later. By issuing warnings, it didn’t just pour gasoline on any fires that existed. It also made pitchers on both teams wary of throwing on the inner part of the plate. Cannot blame Snitker at all here.

Was the ejection justified?

In a vacuum, yes, but the mishandling of the situation led to the entire series of events.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers and one giant eye-roll.

 

Jesus Aguilar, Tampa Bay Rays First Baseman

When

Wednesday, August 21st, vs. Seattle Mariners, bottom of the sixth

Umpire

John Libka (HP)

Description

With runners on the corners, nobody out, and the Rays holding a 4-3 lead, Aguilar took an 0-2 fastball. It came across the plate at a sharp angle, catching the inside corner as it came past Aguilar. Libka called him out on strikes, much to the dismay of Aguilar. Aguilar, while hanging onto the bat with both hands, spiked the bat into the ground, then turned around to argue with Libka. Libka let him say a few sentences and then told him the conversation was over as he pointed to the dugout. Aguilar stayed and continued the argument, so Libka chucked him.

Understand the frustration?

Yes and no. Yes, for striking out with a big RBI opportunity, but no from the standpoint of the pitch being way too close to take.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Libka told Aguilar to walk away, but Aguilar ignored him.

Entertainment Rating

Zero Weavers. There was nothing memorable about this one.

 

Leaderboard

After 21 weeks, here are the leaders. Fight-related ejections do not count toward the leaderboard.

Managers: David Bell of the Cincinnati Reds and Gardenhire (eight each)
Players: Cabrera (three)
Team high: Reds (17), Tigers (11)
Team low: Cleveland Indians (one)
Umpire: Mike Estabrook (10)

 

Look for Week 22 on Thursday, August 29th.

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
Embed from Getty Images

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