December 23, 2010 – One of the fun things about going to baseball games for me is that you never know when a manager or player ejection will take place over a close play or a bad or missed call by an umpire. It is these kinds of calls that make baseball the game that it is and that is why I hope that MLB never goes “instant replay crazy”. It is always fun for the fans to see the players emotions get the best of him, right or wrong, and then watch as he has his say with the umpire. Sometimes it is just a few words, probably not nice ones, that force the ump to throw that player out of the game and at other times the player gets to go on and on for what seems an eternity before he gets the heave-ho. Actually, I think that this is a part of baseball that is slowing going by the way-side as umpires are just too dang quick with the thumb and their ejection buttons. Baseball is after all, entertainment, and what better way to give the fans their money’s worth then to let them watch a good old fashion debate between an upset player and an umpire. Come on now, what is more fun than seeing a player stick his nose right in the umpires face and call him an %#@-hole or a *^%$-up? Give the fans in the stands a chance to yell “kill the ump” and really get into the game. It really makes no difference if the player or the umpire is in the right, give the player a chance to have his say, maybe kick some dirt on the plate or the ump’s shoes, or throw his cap out to second base, or maybe run over to first base, jerk it off its foundation and send it flying half way out to an outfielder that is standing there with his glove up to his face to hide his laughter? Or listen to the fans cheer or boo as the player starts chucking bats and balls back onto the playing field from the dugout. It is just fun and will generate water cooler and Facebook talk for days. Maybe it adds 5 minutes to a game that would otherwise be forgotten but now you have a classic situation that may stick with a fan forever. Maybe 30 years from now some fan will tell his kids, I remember this one hot summer night back in August of 2010 I think it was, and the Twins were playing the Yankees at Target Field when Bobby Akens went ballistic after getting called out on a play at the plate or just a few days later in Boston when Joe Smith went nuts after getting called out on strikes for the third time in the game. Umpires need to realize that baseball is entertainment and that we fans did not put our good money down for tickets to watch them ump, we paid to see the players play so it is time for the umpires to play their part and show some patience and do their part in the production and continue to let baseball be the best entertainment sport there is. Let the players play, have their say, and if need be, if all else fails, throw their butt out.
The Twins have had their fair share of player ejections (105) over the years and the one that stands out for me is the Joe Niekro ejection, the one with the nail file falling out of his back pocket, a real classic and one of my favorite Twins moments. What about you? Do you have a favorite Twins player ejection story? Did you know that the Twins player with the most ejections has 5 and that it is none other than outfielder Torii Hunter? Hunter of all people, which surprised me when I looked at the numbers and saw that. So here is a complete list of all Minnesota Twins player ejections from 1961 through 2010 that will maybe jog your memory a bit. I am not including any coach or manager ejections here as that will be a story for another day.
(Ejection list updated through 2012 as of March 2013)
5 – Torii Hunter
4 – LaTroy Hawkins, Kent Hrbek
3 – Rod Carew, Dan Gladden, Eddie Guardado, Cristian Guzman, Jacque Jones, Chuck Knoblauch, Tony Oliva, Dave Ortiz, Vic Power, Denard Span
2 – Bob Allison, Earl Battey, Tom Brunansky, Brian Harper, Mickey Hatcher, Ron Jackson, Corey Koskie, Brad Radke, Rich Reese, JC Romero
1 – Allan Anderson, Wally Backman, Bert Blyleven, Orlando Cabrera, Jamey Carroll, John Castino, Jack Cressend, Mike Cubbage, Michael Cuddyer, Chili Davis, Ron Davis, Scott Diamond, Jim Dwyer, Terry Felton, Pete Filson, Greg Gagne, Johnny Goryl, Lenny Green, Dave Hollins, Butch Huskey, Craig Kusick, Ken Landreaux, Fred Manrique, Charlie Manual, Pat Mears, Doug Mientkiewicz, George Mitterwald, Joe Niekro, Camilo Pascual, Tom Prince, Kirby Puckett, Nick Punto, Mike Redmond, Kenny Rogers, Jim Roland, Phil Roof, Mark Salas, Carlos Silva, Mike Smithson, Rick Sofield, Shannon Stewart, Danny Thompson, Danny Valencia, Jesus Vega, Frank Viola, Mike Walters