On Tuesday night, Phillies slugger Ryan Howard was ejected from a 16-inning loss to the Astros when he argued a questionable check-swing strike call by third base umpire Scott Barry. The hook came quickly, without mercy, and forced the Phillies to move Raul Ibanez to first base and pitcher Roy Oswalt to the outfield.
The Phillies would eventually lose the contest, 4-2.
On Wednesday, an umpire again took center stage when Boston third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected for – well really for nothing. Take it away, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:
So it turns out Adrian Beltre was ejected because he told umpire Dan Bellino that he wasn’t talking to him.
After he struck out in the second inning, Beltre was talking to Felix Hernandez in the Seattle dugout, playfully telling him in Spanish that would hit a home run his next time up. As the two went back and forth, Bellino somehow thought Beltre was speaking to him.
When Beltre told him twice that he wasn’t, he was tossed out.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Beltre said. “I never said anything to him. Nothing.”
One thing Abraham fails to mention is that Beltre had complained loudly about the third strike called on him in the second inning – a pitch right down the middle at the knees, mind you – so the Red Sox third baseman isn’t completely innocent in all of this. Watch the video here.
That being said, ejecting a guy for saying “I wasn’t talking to you,” is out of line. Nobody goes to a game to watch an umpire, especially a minor league fill-in umpire, as Bellino is. Without their star third baseman, the Red Sox went on to lose to the Mariners 4-2, missing a chance to pull within 4 1/2 games of co-AL East leaders New York and Tampa Bay.
That doesn’t mean the Red Sox would have won the game if Beltre had played the entire game. But you hate to see a quick hook from a minor league umpire affecting a playoff race in any form.