Umpire Sam Holbrook Ruins Entertaining Orioles-Red Sox Beef with Unnecessary Ejection (Video)
Tensions were high between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox going into the third game of their four-game series at Fenway on Wednesday night. Fans were watching with baited breath, just waiting for a bat flip or an angry glower to ignite the powder keg.
Unfortunately, all the fun was drained out of this Orioles-Red Sox feud by the home plate umpire in the second inning.
Before we get to that, however, lets back up a bit and explain how we got here. On April 21, Orioles slugger Manny Machado spiked Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia while sliding into second. Two games later, Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes retaliated by throwing a 97-mph fastball at Machado’s head, earning himself a four-game suspension.
When the Orioles arrived in Boston on Monday, hostilities resumed. Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy beaned Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts, while Red Sox fans showered Orioles outfielder Adam Jones with racial slurs, sparking widespread outrage.
On Tuesday things started out well. When Adam Jones stepped to the plate in the top of the first, the Fenway faithful apologized for the horrible treatment he had received on Monday by giving him a standing ovation. It was beautiful. However, the nastiness returned in the very next at-bat, when Red Sox ace Chris Sale threw a 98-mph fastball behind Machado.
After the game, Machado went nuclear. He blasted the entire Red Sox organization in an epic expletive-laced tirade. So like I said, tensions were high going into Wednesday. And this was a good thing. While nobody wants to see someone get hurt, baseball is crazy fun when the two teams despise each other.
Unfortunately the home plate umpire for Wednesday night’s game, Sam Holbrook, totally ruined the whole vibe with a premature, totally unnecessary ejection of Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman.
In the bottom of the second, Gausman hit Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts with a 77-mph slider. It was obviously an accident. He was trying to throw a backdoor slider and the ball just slipped a bit. But Holbrook was on high alert, so he tossed Gausman immediately.
Take a look:
Prior to the game, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred held a conference call with both teams warning them that a zero-tolerance policy was in effect. Apparently that zero tolerance policy didn’t allow for any room for the application of common sense.
Here’s what Holbrook had to say after the game:
“Just given the situation and the tension between the two clubs and all the stuff that’s gone on over the past few weeks, we’re all on high alert with anything. I know that the ball was a curveball, but it hit him square in the back, and just making a split decision at that point right there, there needs to be an end to this stuff, and I felt like the ejection was the right thing to do at the time, and that’s what we did. Thankfully, we didn’t have any more problems for the rest of the game.”
Not surprisingly, Kevin Gausman did not agree with Holbrook’s assessment of the situation. He said the ejection was “pretty bush league.”
“[Chris Sale] did it on purpose, and everybody knew it,” Gausman said. “For him to get away with it, and I hit a guy with a curveball and they throw me out of the game, that’s pretty ridiculous.”
Hat Tip – [ESPN]