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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Umpire Ron Kulpa criticized for antagonizing Astros following ejections

Two Houston Astros coaches were ejected for arguing balls and strikes early in Wednesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers, but it is home plate umpire Ron Kulpa who has been heavily criticized for the way he handled the situation.

Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron was the first to get tossed when he and several others in the Houston dugout were furious over pitches they believed were off the plate being called strikes. Manager AJ Hinch was ejected next when he came out to defend Cintron, and Kulpa was smirking and seemed like he was enjoying the whole thing. He could also been seen telling Hinch, “I’ll do what I want,” and Hinch later confirmed that’s what Kulpa said to him.

The following inning, Kulpa irritated Gerrit Cole when he inexplicably interrupted the Astros pitcher while he was warming up. Kulpa later appeared to antagonize Cole as he was heading off the field, which led to a discussion between the umpire and Houston catcher Max Stassi. While it looked like the two were having a civil conversation, some have pointed out that Kulpa gave Stassi a condescending shove toward the dugout.

Hinch has had issues with umpires he claims acted inappropriately in the past, but it certainly seemed like Kulpa escalated the situation and was on a power trip. That’s the opposite of what Major League Baseball wants its umpires doing, and it would not be a surprise if he hears from the league about it.



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