There was some controversy in the ninth inning of last night’s Angels-White Sox game. It started with this play, in which Erick Aybar struck out to lead off the ninth against Dave Robertson. The ball was in the dirt, so catcher Tyler Flowers reached out to tag Aybar on the leg. Aybar was called out, but Aybar still broke for first base, claiming no one ever tagged him:
A replay challenge ensued on whether the tag was made. After the out was confirmed, Mike Scioscia came out to argue and/or get an explanation from the home plate umpire. As he did so, he stood in front of home plate.
After the game Robertson, who went on to blow the save that inning and force extras, called the move “bush league” by Scioscia. From CSN Chicago.com:
“I thought there were a lot of ridiculous things that went on in that inning,” Robertson said. “I feel like Scioscia was very bush league going out there and standing in front of home plate after the play had already been reviewed. I feel like once it has been reviewed, it’s been reviewed on film, he’s called out, there’s no reason for you to come back out and argue a call.”
An unspoken implication there was that Scioscia was icing Robertson and keeping him from tossing warmup pitches by standing in front of the plate.
For his part Scioscia claimed he wasn’t arguing or engaging in any kind of gamesmanship. From ESPNChicago:
“Absolutely that was not my intent,” Scioscia said. “Absolutely not. It was an important part because it was a possible protest. In fact, I thought I moved out of the way so he could throw. But he would have gotten a chance to throw anyway. Absolutely not — not one iota of my intent was any gamesmanship. I had to get a reason for the ruling because if the ruling was that he killed the play then it was something I could protest. I had to get a ruling.”
No matter, as the White Sox went on to win in a walkoff, but put David Robertson down as another member of the not-a-big-fan-of-Mike-Scioscia Club.