MLB's 5 Worst Ejections of the 2012 Season Thus Far
It's pretty safe to say that this has not been a great year for the umpires.
Every other week, there seems to be some type of controversy surrounding one umpire or another.
With the increased technology, there are millions of baseball fans who find the use of instant replay during the games necessary to avoid this exact controversy.
Despite having the ability to right certain umpiring wrongs that have altered the outcomes of games this season, aside from home run rulings, MLB brass has still ruled against implementing instant replays during games.
This decision has added pressure on the umpires and put them in a position to be heavily scrutinized by players, managers, fans and the media.
The added pressure has affected the actions and the decision-making of some of these umpires. They have found the need to assert themselves over the players and managers.
Whether they're tossing people or initiating arguments, umpires have certainly taken matters into their own hands this season.
Honorable Mention: Bobby Valentine Gets a Mouthful from Gary Darling
I'm not sure if this should be classified as one of the best or worst ejections from the season so far.
After a questionable call on a play at first in the ninth inning of game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox on May 18, Bobby Valentine wanted to give first base umpire Gary Darling a piece of his mind. What started as a simple heated exchange between Darling and Valentine resulted in Darling ejecting Bobby Valentine.
What followed was Darling accidentally spitting his gum on Valentine in the middle of their exchange, which triggered an absolutely priceless reaction that included a finger-point and death stare from Bobby V.
All jokes aside, Darling cannot allow that to happen. There needs to a mutual respect between players/managers and umpires. If players or managers spit gum on an umpire, regardless of intent, they would be looking at a hefty fine and a suspension. Darling was not suspended or fined, while Valentine was tossed.
Mark Wegner Tosses Quintana and Hawk Harrelson Goes Berserk
It appears as if Mark Wegner ejecting Chicago White Sox's Jose Quintana upset White Sox play-by-play announcer Hawk Harrelson.
In a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays on May 30, home plate umpire Mark Wegner pulled a quick trigger and tossed pitcher Jose Quintana for throwing behind the knees of Tampa Bay Rays' Ben Zobrist.
Despite Rays starter Alex Cobb plunking Alex Gordon and A.J. Pierzynski earlier in the game, no warnings were issued to either side before Quintana threw behind Zobrist.
As an umpire, Wegner is obviously familiar with the unwritten rules of baseball. Although Quintana's "message pitch" was relatively harmless and did not put Zobrist, Wegner decided to take matters into his own hands.
Instead of issuing warnings, he ejected Quintana immediately and would eventually do the same with White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
Manager Jim Leyland Is Upset After a Botched Call
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland was not too pleased after a May 28 game against the Boston Red Sox in which he was ejected.
In the bottom of the second inning of a 1-1 game, Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles foul-tipped into the glove of Tigers catcher Gerald Laird for what appeared to be strike three and the end of the inning, but home plate umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that Gerald Laird did not catch the ball cleanly off the foul tip.
As you can expect, Leyland was irate, and rightfully so, because replays showed that Nelson clearly made the wrong call.
The Tigers skipper came out of the dugout and let Nelson have it. After blowing this call, Nelson then followed by giving Leyland the boot.
The Red Sox ended up scoring three runs after this bad call and won the game.
Safe to say that Leyland was furious in this postgame interview and decided to call out the umpires. He wanted the media to do the same.
Don't worry, Jim. We got you.
Greinke Gets Ejected for Spiking the Ball
One thing is for sure: Players will not want to try and show up umpire Sam Holbrook because he will toss them quickly, which he showed in a July 7 game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros when he ejected Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke from the game.
The only problem was, Greinke wasn't trying to show Holbrook up; he was just annoyed with himself. That didn't matter to Holbrook, and he subsequently tossed Greinke.
On Greinke's fourth pitch of the afternoon, the Astros' Jose Altuve hit a grounder to first base and legged out an infield single. After Holbrook called Altuve safe at first, Greinke spiked the ball in frustration that he didn't get to bag sooner.
Holbrook believed that Greinke was showing his displeasure with the call and should be tossed for trying to show him up. In the blink of an eye, Greinke was gone, and before manager Ron Roenicke could even get into a debate, he was tossed as well.
Holbrook's quick trigger could have very well cost the Brewers the game, as they ended up losing to the Astros, 6-3.
Umpire Bob Davidson Shows Lack of Professionalism Before Tossing Manuel
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
This was probably the most heated exchange between a manager and an umpire this season, and boy, was it memorable.
In the top of the eighth in a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros on May 15, pitcher Cliff Lee struck out Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro, but the ball got away from Phillies catcher Brian Schneider and went to the backstop. As Schneider tried to scurry to the backstop, home plate umpire Bob Davidson accidentally got in his way, and Castro made it safely to first.
While Castro would have probably reached safely regardless, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel let Davidson know he was not happy that he blocked his catcher from retrieving the ball at the backstop. After hearing Manuel and company complain, Davidson responded eloquently with: "You think I wanted to block his a**? What the hell are you yelling at?"
It was obvious Davidson was not done. He initiated more bickering between the two and instigated a confrontation with Manuel, which is obviously not the the job of the umpire. Davidson then tossed Manuel from the game, and Manuel got his money's worth.
In a heated back-and-forth, Manuel's face turned Phillies red while Davidson was caught on camera screaming "F*** you Charlie" at least twice to Manuel.This was one of the many profanities Davidson directed towards the Phillies manager.
This is no way an umpire should compose himself during a baseball game on television.
Davidson was given a minor slap on the wrist and was suspended only one game, as was Manuel.
Jack Hannahan Ejected for Addressing Umpire's Mistake
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
There have been numerous bad calls during this season, but this one takes the cake.
During the seventh inning of a game on June 26 between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians, things got really interesting.
Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan hit a pop fly into foul territory in left field when Dewayne Wise flew into the stands and appeared to have made the catch. Replays showed that one of the fans a few seats from where Wise fell lifted his right arm in jubilation with the baseball in his hand.
That's right, the same baseball Wise "caught."
Third base umpire Mike DiMuro called Hannahan out without confirming that the ball was in Wise's glove.
Irate that DiMuro made such a blatantly wrong call, Hannahan confronted the third base umpire between innings and told him that he checked the replays and that he, in fact, got that call wrong.
Instead of admitting his mistake, DiMuro took the high road and just tossed Hannahan.
The umpires are untouchable and cannot be confronted no matter how wrong they might be. And if any players or managers do question them, they better believe they're going to end up hitting the showers early.
Erick Fernandez is the creator of I Want to Thank My Hood & My Psychiatrist