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Jim Leyland is as mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore

Jul 27, 2010, 9:40 AM EDT

An ump accused Leyland of spitting. My theory: there was a second spitter behind the bushes on the gravelly road.

Lost in Matt Garza’s no-hitter last night was the fact that Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland was ejected in the bottom of the third arguing an obviously blown call on B.J. Upton’s stolen base attempt.  Second base umpire Marty Foster called Upton safe. He was most definitely out. Leyland argued, but he didn’t do anything crazy. Foster tossed him, though.

Why? Watch the replay of the argument in the above link.  Foster made a big show of wiping his shirt off during the argument, right before he tossed Leyland.  Foster, Leyland says, accused Leyland of intentionally spitting on him.  Leyland ain’t having it:

“He accused me of something I didn’t do and that pissed me off and
that’s when I got going. I
had some sunflower seeds and when I was talking some sprayed on him and
he indicated that I deliberately spit on him.

“I’m not going
to take that from anybody. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to take
that kind of accusation from anybody. That’s a blatant lie. Did some of the sunflower seeds spray on his shirt? Yes they did,
without any question. But I don’t even spit on the
ground.

“And I’m not going to take that. I’m tired of
protecting umpires. I’m tired of not being able to say anything. I’m
defending myself. If you want to kick me out, that’s fine. I don’t care
about that because it sprayed on his shirt, but when you start to accuse
somebody of doing something you better be careful.”

Leyland was asked what he’d do if he got suspended or something due to the alleged spitting. His response: “I don’t know what they’re going to do and I don’t give a s— . . .I’m tired of it.”

I don’t blame Leyland for being angry. Maybe you should get ejected if you’re arguing so much that some sunflower seeds land on the ump, but on what planet does an umpire actually think that Leyland was intentionally spitting on him, as Leyland says that Foster thought?

My guess: Foster knew he blew the call and was on edge anyway. When Leyland started giving him what-for, he was emotionally prepared to eject him as soon as possible out of sheer defense and insecurity. If, as Leyland says, Foster accused him of spitting intentionally, it was borne of some emotional need to grab whatever high ground he could in the course of the argument. My second guess: Major League Baseball watches the video and comes to the same conclusion, and that Leyland is not further disciplined.

But Foster won’t get disciplined either, of course, because disciplining an umpire would be pure crazy from Major League Baseball’s perspective.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 27, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    When will all of this insanity end? 2 Managerial Challenges a game. A simple red flag thrown out from the dugout. NO MORE STUPID ARGUMENTS THAT WASTE MORE TIME THAN A SIMPLE REPLAY RULE WOULD!!! One room in New York or whereever containing TV feeds of every single game going on at that time. However many replay judges needed to man the feeds. If a red flag is thrown, the head umpire buzzes the room, and the guy looks at the play instantly. Definitely would take less than the 2 minutes Leyland’s argument took last night. Simple and easy…that’s why it will never happen. Also, you would have to add the rule that there is no arguing…no leaving the dugout to argue or it is instant ejection and 5 game suspension. PERIOD. I think replay would actually speed up the games.

  2. aschwartz - Jul 27, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    The MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL should all be ashamed for the way their officials act. They all think they are bigger than the game, when in fact they should be the most replaceable people in the world.
    MLB- Umps constantly make errors and then toss coaches that catch them. TIME FOR INSTANT REPLAY
    NHL- Officials give way too much leway to superstars, last year was the first time they really started to crack down and that was only because Ovechkin really started to get dirty. I have been to so many games where it is obvious the refs are biased. Many of the games I did not care who won so I was an outside observer. And coaches can’t say anything without getting fined and suspended. On top of that it is friken impossible to get rid of a ref.
    NFL- One of the few leagues getting it right. Refs can overturn their decisions by talking to each other and seeing some replays. They also have a system in which refs are reviewed and can be let go.
    NBA- What a friken joke of a league. Superstar treatment. Horrible foul calls etc. Anyone who thinks Donaghy was the only one is kidding themselves.
    And while I am at it shame on you FIFA.

  3. BackToJail4Vick - Jul 27, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    Something tells me he’s not going to take it.

  4. Joe - Jul 27, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    I’m getting sick of seeing umpires pull this kind of crap. If a player or umpire starts something with an umpire, the umpire can throw them out on a whim. But what happens when the umpire is the one starting it? That’s been happening more and more lately–umpires realizing that they blew a call, and then finding a reason to toss anybody who has the gall to question it, because they don’t want to hear about it. There’s no place for insecurity and a short temper in the umpiring profession.
    http://joesplace36.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/just-call-the-game-blue/

  5. nps6724 - Jul 27, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    You can actually read Foster’s lips. He says “You spit on me”, then Leyland says something (probably “No I didn’t”), then Foster says “Yes you did”.

  6. Tony - Jul 27, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    I saw this when it all went down – Leyland was on the field arguing for a long time. Foster had plenty of opportunities to turn and walk away but he didn’t do it. Instead he kept jawing and going after Leyland. You can see in the picture where another umpire stands between Leyland and Foster. As this was going on…and on… and on, I was wondering where is the rest of the umpire crew and why isn’t anybody telling Foster to shut the hell up.
    I remember earlier in the year, while watching a KC Royals game where the home plate ump took his mask off, walked in front of Jason Kendall (who was squatting behind the plate), bent down, got into Kendall’s grill and started going off. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, neither could the announcers. Yost bolted from the dugout and went off – here’s a link to the video, check out the 1:50 mark: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100603&content_id=10762338&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb When will finally see some action from the league? And these calls that they miss are so bad, from the play at 2nd base last night, to the Orioles game with Wigginton, to the Mets-Giants game, makes me wonder if there’s a few Tim Donaghys running around MLB.

  7. jojomama - Jul 27, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    I watched the game, and Leyland had every right to be angry. BJ was out by a mile and the umpire totally overreacted.

  8. Tony - Jul 27, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    Joe – that’s an excellent article you linked in your post, I recommend everyone take a look at it.

  9. Largebill - Jul 27, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    I can accept less than perfect. What I can’t accept is not hustling to get in the best position to make a call. What I can’t accept is the incredible arrogance and provocative behavior. Some appear as though they are itching for an argument. Umpires are important to the game, but so are the grounds crew, the vendors, ticket takers, and many other positions. The game is the contest between two groups of nine players. All those other folks are important but they are secondary to the game and they need to remember that.

  10. YankeesfanLen - Jul 27, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    Everyone has their favorite crochety old manager. Mine is Jim Leyland. It’s a wonder he didn’t pull out a Marlboro and use Foster’s cap as an ashtray.

  11. Kanonen80 - Jul 27, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Not only did the ump blow the call at second, but ball four to Upton looked pretty sketchy as well. I thin Leyland just blew his top after the questionable ball four that could have hurt his team, to a blatant and horrible call that made that first call smart even more.
    Since when do umps start showing up managers and players before ejecting them? I seem to remember umps not even reacting to being bumped, or having dirt kicked on them. They’d just immediately toss the offender, and walk away, letting the other umps or teammates escort the player away.
    The only thing missing from Foster’s act were fake tears. Maybe this guys just hates the world because his acting career didn’t work out?

  12. Steve A - Jul 27, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Agreed. According to the Pitch f/x, that was a clear strike.
    Also, this is the same crew that didn’t give Johnny Damon an obvious ball four call in Atlanta that would have tied that game. Leyland’s only been ejected twice this year, and both were by this crew. Maybe this crew needs to be given a long summer vacation. It will be a travesty to see any of these guys in the playoffs.

  13. jabberwock - Jul 27, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    The Tigers have been getting screwed on calls all year (see Joyce, Ron). The Tiges are hurting and losing and fans are calling for scalps. Can you spell “frustrated”? Give ‘em s—, Jimmy!

  14. Md23Rewls - Jul 27, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    Gotta love the AL Central and Chicago/Detroit’s never-ending duel to have a harder collapse and a bigger managerial snap when said collapse happens. We’ll be hearing from Ozzie a month from now when the White Sox start their inevitable slide.

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