A pair of umpires tossed New York Yankees left and right during Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Indians.
The conflict started when Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected by home plate umpire Ben May for an argument over the strike zone. As Boone was winding things down, however, things really got out of hand. First base umpire Phil Cuzzi ejected Brett Gardner for banging his bat on the top of the dugout in frustration. In protest of that, Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia — currently on the IL — was also tossed.
Gardner getting ejected for banging his bat around seems ridiculous, yet it may not even be his strangest ejection of the season. By doing that, Cuzzi essentially escalated the situation by punishing Gardner for an act that very easily could have been ignored.
Zobrist protested the call to umpire Phil Cuzzi, while Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon came out to back him. Maddon was tossed, and then Zobrist was ejected too for saying that is why players want electronic umpires.
Ben Zobrist to umpire Phil Cuzzi: "That's why we want an electronic strike zone."
After the game, Zobrist explained his frustration to reporters.
“I felt like I knew the zone right there, and I felt like the at-bat was taken away from me,” he said.
Zobrist is right. It stinks to have an at-bat taken away like that. At the same time, as long as the human element exists, players like Zobrist should know they are better off swinging at a pitch like that than leaving it in the umpire’s hands. And that’s the problem they’re fighting. We certainly know another Cubs player who would support the change to robot umps.
Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum was ejected from Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals for arguing a horrible call by homeplate umpire Phil Cuzzi.
Cuzzi, who is no stranger to awful calls, punched out Donnie Murphy after the third baseman tried holding up on a check swing with an 0-2 count, two on, and nobody out in the bottom of the seventh. Murphy held up on the swing and it wasn’t close, but Cuzzi blew the call and called Murphy out. Sveum was ejected for the fifth time this season after being tossed by Cuzzi.
If a manager were able to challenge that call in the future based on new instant replay rules, I would really hope that Cuzzi would have enough sense to overturn.
Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin walked despite only having three balls called on him during a 5th inning at-bat Saturday night, and he ended up scoring the game’s only run. True story.
Here’s how Maybin’s at-bat against pitcher Doug Fister went:
– First pitch: Called strike, 0-1
– Second pitch: Swinging strike, 0-2
– Third pitch: Foul ball, 0-2
– Fourth pitch: Ball, 1-2
– Fifth pitch: Foul ball, 1-2
– Sixth pitch: Ball, 2-2 (scoreboard jumps to 3-2 here)
– Seventh pitch: Ball, 3-2 (Maybin jogs to first base and nobody says anything)
Maybin says he got lost because of the foul balls, and he just followed the scoreboard after it said the count was full. Padres manager Bud Black seemed to have noticed but said “I wasn’t about to argue.”
Friday’s ALDS Game 2 had to be excruciating to watch for a Twins fan. They had opportunity after opportunity to put the Yankees away and couldn’t do it. Even with all their blown chances, a bad call by the umpire down the left field line in the top of the 11th cost them a run. Joe Mauer sliced a ball down the line that bounced in fair territory and hopped out of play. What should have been a ground rule double wound up being called a foul ball. Mauer wound up singling up the middle. Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer followed with singles, the latter of which would have scored Mauer at the least. Granted, Mark Teixeira delivered in a big way with the walk off home run to win it in the bottom half, but that should have only tied it. You figure with the middle of the lineup to follow they could have scored more but you never know — the Twins pitching held them down well.
It really was meant to be for the Yankees in Game 2. The Twins had them on the ropes after scoring twice in the 8th to go up 3-1, and they even scored a run off Rivera for some insurance. Alex Rodriguez broke his Yankee postseason curse with a 2-run home run to tie it in the 9th off Joe Nathan and send it to extras, that was after he had singled in the 6th to tie it at 1. It really is amazing that they pulled it off and that the Twins blew it so badly. Things really broke well for the Yankees — they look like a World Series team through two playoff games. Scary.
Lastly, why do third base coaches play it so conservatively like the Twins did, holding up Mauer no the Cuddyer single that loaded the bases? Why not force the defense to make the play? Why take the chance? I’ve seen teams squander opportunities by holding up their runners when they have the chance to score. It’s not as if Mauer can’t run well. Bad call.