Wright Argues Called Third Strike, Manuel Ejected in 6th inning of Mets Loss

Wendy AdairAnalyst IJune 15, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 14: David Wright #5 of the New York Mets argues with home plate umpire Jim Wolf #78 after striking out against the New York Yankees on June 14, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

During the Mets' brutal loss to the Yankees on Sunday, something very rare happened: David Wright got in an umpire's face about a called third strike for only the second time in his career.

Manager Jerry Manuel has often said he will defend his players 110 percent if they are right. If not, so be it, which is fine.

But why did he wait for Wright to head back to the dugout before coming out to argue with the umpire?

The pitch to Wright in the sixth inning was definitely over the plate, but well below his knees, and the ball was promptly dropped by the catcher.

Wright thought it was ball four but hesitated several seconds before leaving the batters box because no call had been made.

No call was made by the umpire until Wright had his back turned and was heading to first base—after there had been no initial indication made about whether it was ball four or strike three.

Wright immediately got into a heated but short-lived argument with the umpire once he was called out on strikes.  He got in the umpire's face and yelled but did not throw his helmet or bat, which he tends to do when he is frustrated, he was just plain angry.

If he had, ejection would most likely have occurred, and Wright knows this, so he was just venting, and was not trying to get himself ejected from the game.

Anyone following the Mets knows Wright is the last player to ever argue a call, but the Mets were losing 13-0, so tempers were understandably short. It was also the second time Wright had been called out on strikes in the game.

Manuel should have come out immediately after Wright was called out and started arguing. Granted, he and the rest of the Mets were probably in somewhat of a state of shock, but someone should have calmed Wright down, even if it was just the on-deck hitter.

If he didn't come out immediately as he should have, then he should not have come out at all.

The timing of his running out of the dugout did not show Wright any support at all as Manuel finally came out after the arguement was over and was promptly ejected. 

Manuel appeared to have simply given up. Down 13 runs, the game was clearly out of reach, but the Mets still could have tried to scrape together some runs to prevent a shutout.

During the game, Manuel got himself ejected, Wright was removed by the coaching staff—probably because his blood pressure was most likely off the charts—and Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran were taken out of the game to rest.

These losses are hard to take, no question, but by getting himself ejected after his player had headed back to the dugout shows Manuel had apparently given up.  

The only other explanation is that he wanted to get some bench players a few at bats.

If he did this after-the-fact arguing to "creatively" get the rest of the game off (which Matt Cerrone eluded to for the game wrapup on Metsblog.com) what kind of message does that send to his players?  Not a good one.

Despite a seemingly positive attitude, the Mets have been playing fundamentally unsound baseball.

The Mets are looking towards their leaders for guidance, one of them being Wright, but many players were unhappy about the strikes/balls all afternoon (Alex Cora also argued on a strike call with the bases loaded in the third inning).

His teammates give Wright a lot of support and had to be a bit concerned that he would be ejected or even suspended for arguing balls and strikes, which is done more than it should be at the Major League level.

They are also looking to their manager, but the inconsistency in lineups and mixed message verbal occurrences like these could potentially alter their mindset for the remainder of the season.

Injuries have taken its toll on this team and they need to pull together and win as many games as possible while they wait for the injured players to return.