Retaliation, Umpires Knowing the Code

Pitcher Tossed For Drilling A Guy, And Even The Hitter Thought That He Should Stay In The Game

So when a pitcher comes into a game with his team trailing 9-1 and immediately gives up a double, and then another double, and then a home run, and now it’s 12-1 and he still hasn’t recorded an out, and then, with his very next pitch, he drills a guy, well that’s as obviously intentional as it gets.

At least umpire Doug Eddings thought so. He tossed the pitcher on the spot, no warning necessary.

The problem was, the pitcher in question, Philadelphia’s Yacksel Rios, didn’t mean to hit Justin Turner. The pitch in question, an 84-mph slider that plunked Turner on his back knee, was so inoffensive that Turner himself argued in the pitcher’s defense. The pitch in question was so inoffensive that Phillies manager Gabe Kapler actually tried to enlist Turner to join in as he lit into Eddings.

Ultimately, Eddings thought he was doing something proper, stemming what by most of the indicators could have been the first blow in a tit-for-tat series of reprisals. He acted decisively and with certainty … an instinct that, in retrospect, he’d have been better served to ignore.

As for Turner, why the hell wouldn’t he argue on behalf of keeping Rios in the game? Forget the pitcher’s absence of malice; the guy couldn’t get anyone out. Turner just wanted his teammates to have a taste of the good stuff that the inning’s first four hitters had already sampled.

As it happened, the pitcher who finished the inning for Philadelphia, rookie Edgar Garcia, gave up a single, three walks (one with the bases loaded) and two more runs. The pitcher who closed things out in the ninth, Roman Quinn, is actually an outfielder, and yielded three more singles, a double and two additional runs for the Dodgers, capping a 16-2 victory.  

The Dodgers will almost certainly avoid retaliation.

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4 thoughts on “Pitcher Tossed For Drilling A Guy, And Even The Hitter Thought That He Should Stay In The Game

  1. Is it possible for an umpire to un-eject someone? Like, I don’t mean he changes his mind a few innings later, but is persuaded on the field immediately after the call (and before any substitutions are made) to say, “You know what, I messed up, you can stay.”

    And is there any consequence for the umpires who continually get this wrong? I don’t think this is the first time this season even that something like this has happened, but it seems umpires have absolutely no accountability and never even acknowledge when they’ve made a mistake, which has been an ongoing problem in the Joe West-Angel Hernandez-C.B. Bucknor era of umpiring.

  2. That’s a great question. I’ve never heard of something like that happening, but it’d sure be refreshing to see. That said, it would require an umpire to acknowledge an extreme degree of fallibility — something to which big league umps are by and large allergic. Instant replay is moving us in that direction, but that’s almost exclusively for close and arguable plays. When it comes to something that boils down to pure judgement — when to toss a player or manager — I can’t imagine an umpire backing down from his initial stance, no matter how wrong he is. (It’s the same with blown ball-strike calls. An umpire won’t ever give one back, but they’ve been known to offer make-up calls on subsequent pitches.)

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