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franklin county times

Ejection signal came way too soon

I grew up watching the Braves.

I like the game, but part of me watched the match-ups on television because there was always a chance that Bobby Cox might get into an argument with the home plate umpire and ejected.

Fast forward to a few nights ago when the Braves were playing the Chicago Cubs, another team I grew up watching.

Cubs’ pitcher Jeff Samardzija plunked Atlanta’s Jason Heyward in the top of the seventh inning in Monday night’s game. He was not given a warning, and play continued.

Braves’ reliever Eric O’Flaherty hit Cubs’ batter David DeJesus in the bottom of the inning, quite possibly (and most likely) in retaliation for Heyward being hit. This is not that uncommon, as teammates tend to stick up for each other, and pitchers have a certain way of doing that.

Home plate umpire Chris Conroy immediately gave a warning to both benches after the DeJesus was struck.

Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t take two seconds to be up out of the dugout and walking in Conroy’s direction.

The announcers put forth that Gonzalez may have intended on asking the umpire why the warning was given after the second hit batter and not the first, his player.

Conroy immediately held up a hand after the call was made when he saw Gonzalez moving in his direction, telling him not to leave the dugout.

I imagine he didn’t want to hear any argument over the call.

Gonzalez got beside Conroy and might have gotten a sentence or two out before the umpire turned around and gave the motion signifying that Gonzalez was ejected.

I was half asleep during all this because it was early in the morning. I was fully awake immediately after the ejection was called.

Gonzalez never raised his voice. He didn’t seem to swear at Conroy. He didn’t pick up a base and throw it into the outfield. He didn’t spit in the umpire’s face or kick dirt on his shoes.

Coaches have argued calls since the start of professional baseball, and they will continue to due so until the end of the world.

Seems to me like Gonzalez got the short end of a short fuse and is going to be fined for absolutely nothing.

Both pitchers and both managers echoed sentiments that no one would be hit intentionally in a one-run game, and Gonzalez told interviewers he never argued the call, he just asked for an explanation.