Rendon: Sad there's no accountability for umps

Brian Tinsman
April 08, 2018 - 11:01 pm
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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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A quick ejection of a player, a long manager's tirade, and a weak explanation by the crew chief sums up a bizarre sequence at Nationals Park on Saturday afternoon.

According to the umpires, the craziness got started on the pitch before the ejection, before fans, coaches or analysts knew anything was amiss.

After that pitch, Anthony Rendon had the nerve to walk completely outside of the batters' circle, adding agonizing seconds to the total length of the game.

"He walked completely out of the hitter’s circle, which the hitters aren’t allowed to do," crew chief Joe West told a pool reporter after the game. "[Homeplate umpire> Marty Foster said, ‘We gotta play. You gotta get back in there.’ Then when [Foster> called strike three, [Rendon> threw the bat."

That's a bit of an exaggeration. 

Rendon did flip the bat in a way that could be seen as frustration. He did not direct anything, verbal or non-verbal at the umpire, although it's fair to say that the strikeout pitch was likely low and inside:

"You have some options there, and Marty felt that what he did was showing him up worse than what an equipment violation would’ve been, and that’s why he ejected him," West continued. "You have to do something or he loses all respect from the players.

"I understand that he could’ve [not done anything>, but he chose that this was the penalty for what he did. So it was more involved than just strikeout, throwing equipment."

West and his team have a reputation for ejecting players over minor transgressions and perceived slights, so none of this should come as a surprise. 

Which is a problem for the integrity of the game.

"I was just as surprised as all y’all were. I’m pretty sure y’all saw the replay," Rendon said in the locker room after the game, still incredulous over the call. "I don’t think my mouth even opened to chew gum. So, it’s pretty funny, it’s comical to say the least. But he had a vendetta over me, or something.

"It’s just terrible because, if you’re a younger guy and you’re trying to stay in the league, and you have these strikeouts, the team doesn’t look at called strikes on umpires. And so they’re immediately just gonna say, 'Oh you struck out five, six times out of the last 10,' and they’re gonna send you down. But for umpires it doesn’t look like they’re gonna get sent down.

"They don’t get cut, they don’t get benched, they don’t get sent down to triple-A, whatever it might be."

Skipper Dave Martinez earned his ejection in the aftermath of Rendon's quick hook, his first early shower as a MLB manager.

"I didn't think at that particular time that it warranted a toss that quick for what he did. He didn't say a word," Martinez told the media. "At some point, you've got to protect the players.

"I'm gonna protect the guys, I can tell you that right now."

That was not lost on fans, who gave Martinez a standing ovation as he left the field. On Sunday, they returned to boo Foster as his name was announced prior to the game.

Umpiring crews rotate over the course of a series and Foster was positioned by third base, where Rendon plays. Hopefully, the winning or losing play on Sunday night won't be at third base.u

 

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