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Umpire ejected Russell Martin for making a joke last night

Sep 27, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

New York Yankees manager Girardi talks with umpires  West and Schrieber in St. Petersburg

Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber tossed Russell Martin from last night’s game in the fifth inning because he made a joke following back-to-back walks by Phil Hughes.

Or at least Martin claims his comments were a joke, telling reporters afterward that he asked “did you stretch before the game tonight?” and then added “I feel like you’re kind of tight tonight.”

Given the situation it’s not hard to see how Schrieber may have missed the humor, especially since Martin admitted afterward that he was being critical of the strike zone, but throwing him from the game seems like overkill.

Or as Martin put it afterward:

What, we can’t talk anymore? It’s a game, man, we’re supposed to be having fun. I was just trying to get him to laugh. I didn’t say he sucked. I didn’t say he was the worst umpire in the league. I didn’t cuss at him. I didn’t say any of that stuff. And I got thrown out. That’s tough to do.

Schrieber declined to comment because umpires rarely speak to the media, so we may never know his version of the story.

  1. sacharisma - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    He showed up Martin, too. He was looking for some spotlight.

    Not shocking considering it’s Cowboy Joe’s crew.

    • atworkident - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:19 PM

      Last night Ortiz complained about the strike zone for a good 5 minutes and wasn’t kicked out. He most certainly should ahve been and said more than a little joke about the zone.

      Talk about showing up the umpire… someone should go back and review that.

    • cardsman - May 9, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      love the cowboy eehaa

  2. dbick - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    The fans that payed to see the umpires last night got their moneys worth

  3. Panda Claus - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if the next CBA in baseball required the umpire crew chief (or maybe just the home plate ump that night) to make a brief post-game presser like both managers have to do?

    Maybe that would give the umps the added attention some of them crave, but not just when they feel like making a spectacle during the game.

    Who knows, we might learn something too.

  4. bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    No offense to the gravitationally challenged – but perhaps if Schrieber lost enough weight so that, say, his neck could be distinguished from his chin – he wouldn’t be so uppity about a harmless comment by Martin.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      You do realize that’s an inside chest protector he’s wearing under his shirt, don’t you?

      • atworkident - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        Fat people aren’t real people and therefore their opinions don’t matter. Clearly being fat makes him sensitive to people making jokes.

        We should all strive to be as chiseled as bigleagues.

      • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:36 PM

        atworkindent – see below

      • atworkident - Sep 27, 2011 at 2:12 PM

        lol… no worries bigleagues.

        i’m with you trying to drop some lbs now before thanksgiving hits.

    • mrfloydpink - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      1. Schrieber is fat
      2. Fat people are jerks
      3. Therefore, Schrieber is a jerk

      Ok, got it. Very well reasoned.

      • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        Russell’s comment seemed to elude to the physical condition of Schrieber. I am more than well aware of the undershirt chest protector, and it is clear from the photo above that even if he took the chest protector off, he has extra padding.

        Incidentally, I’m 35 lbs over weight – so the pot is calling the kettle black.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    It is playoff time in the UEFL, and maybe Schrieber owns himself!

  6. Detroit Michael - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    One wonders what the other side of the story is.

    My understanding is that umpires usually don’t want to eject players. They need to file an extra report and it invites second-guessing. Given those incentives, I wouldn’t be so quick to second-guess the umpire’s decision to eject Martin.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      What happens is, the players, managers, coaches, 95% of bloggers, and 99% of commenters don’t actually read the rule book. Especially the part that says you can’t argue balls and strikes.

      Martin says it was a joke on his part. Maybe Martin’s just a complete ass who crossed the line and is trying to blame the umpire instead of taking responsibility for his own actions.

      But I guess since ‘Martin said’, that’s all that matters and nothing else that happened is relevant.

      • hittfamily - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:07 PM

        The rule book also says that if a pitch isn’t thrown in a timely matter, a ball should be called. When was the last time, if ever, that that happened. Umps have some leeway with the rulebook, and enforcing a rule that is usually ignored in a game with playoff implications is irresponsible on his part.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        Considering that the wild card race is wide open in both leagues, I would have to think that every game during the season has playoff implications. Why should this game have different rules than the first game of the season? Every one of them count in the standings?

        Maybe a player shooting his mouth and getting ejected for breaking the rules is irresponsible. Bet you didn’t think of that in your haste to deify the players, did ya?

      • hittfamily - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:25 PM

        Coaches bark at the ump all game. Batters turn around and say stuff all the time. Pitchers look away in disgust every inning. What consitutes an argument? A look? A batter shaking his head no? A question?

        Check swing:
        “Did he go?”
        “Yes he did?”
        “Darn, I thought I held up.”
        “You are outta here”
        “Phew, I thought that was ball 4”
        “Your’e outta here too”

        With your stance on the issue, they would have to expand the rosters and allow more coaches, because a hell of a lot of people would be thrown out every game.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:33 PM

        That doesn’t even make sense, as it has nothing to do with the thread of the conversation. Once again, Martin “says” he was only joking. But you don’t know. So you’re just blaming the umpire for the sake of blaming the umpire.

        Maybe he was wrong. Maybe Martin was wrong. But you don’t know.

        So why do you keep ragging on the umpire when you don’t have a friggin’ clue what actually was said?

      • hittfamily - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        Umpires are allowed to speak after the game. Ask Jim Joyce. I have one side of the story, and until I hear the other side of the story, my stance is the only one that can be taken. You are taking the umps side for no reason, none. You have nothing to base your stance on other than; umpires never make mistakes, and that is a stance I will not take, because I know it to be untrue.

      • paperlions - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        Apparently umpires aren’t fans of the rule book either. For years the rule book defined the strike zone and umpires thumbed their noses at it, defining personal strike zones that were lower, shorter, and wider than the rule book states. They even publicly bitched about attempts to get them to call the official strike zone.

        Also against the rules, impeding a runner’s path without possession of the ball…when was the last time a runner was called safe because the catcher blocked the runner’s access without the ball? The rule book is even specific about the fact that the catcher is not allowed to block the plate until he has the ball.

        Is it worse to be unfamiliar with the rules (like most fans) or to be familiar with them and still refuse to enforce them (like umpires)?

      • hittfamily - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        Rule 8.04
        “The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly.”

        The way I read that, throwing it around the horn should be illegal. Why do they not enforce this rule either?

      • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        Amazingly I completely agree with hittfamily’s last point.

  7. dailyrev - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    Us geeks can start writing code for the ‘bots whenever you’re ready, baseball fans. Think of all the jobs that would add to the tech sector…

    • cur68 - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:42 PM

      If, and only if, the robot could be counted on not to turn into a chinless lard bucket with an ego the size of his ass, then I will condone robots. Also, each robot has to have his own called strike/ball,walk/strike out move. I love a good strike out move.

      No one pays to watch the umpires, we’ve said it over and over. They add nothing to the game besides controversy. I say try it for a series with robots. I bet the catcher stays in the whole game.

      Alternatively, you can put the pitch track up on the jumbo-tron and mike the umps. This way there is transparency and they get some of that attention they crave, just like the players. Now, like the players, their every move, mistake, good call & bad call are part of the viewing experience. When Martin gets tossed we’d have known exactly what he said to irritate Schrieber so. Since the umps play calling is part of the game the microphone is as necessary as a camera on the baselines for viewing experience. Lets try that first, then, if lard ass there can’t get in line and let the players play ball in a fair manner, we’ll all know why.

  8. hittfamily - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Catchers are always talking with the umpires, even criticizing them. As long as the catcher doesn’t turn around, he can say what he wants for the most part. MLB needs to take a look at mic’ing up the umps so they know when discipline for the ump, or player, is necessary, and not have to rely on word of mouth. Throwing people out of games can impact games, and this time of year, impact seasons, and should be a last resort, not a first instinct.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:08 PM

      “As long as the catcher doesn’t turn around, he can say what he wants for the most part.”

      No, as long as he doesn’t show up the umpire or argue with him over balls and strikes, he can say a lot of things.

      Not turning his head is a time-honored tradition of not showing up the umpire, but there is a lot that can be said without turning the head. Hughes threw 36 pitches, 18 of them for strikes. So even if he walked the two batters on 4-ball counts, that left him with 18 strikes in 28 pitches. Plus, he only got 3 out of 8 first pitch strikes. He was missing a lot.

      If you really believe Martin hadn’t said anything to the umpire before then, you’re living in a fantasy world.

    • hittfamily - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      There should have been a visible warning, to the bench as well if it was becoming a problem. It is not the umpires choice who gets to play. If he throws him out, there will be a visible conversation apparent to the coaching staff. That conversation should have been had prior to the ejection. Like I said, ejection should be a last resort.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:34 PM

        Once again, how do you know that didn’t happen? Because you didn’t want it to?

        I hope to hell you never serve on a jury. The facts won’t matter, just what you want to believe.

      • hittfamily - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        There was no visible warning. Whispering in ones ear is not a visible warning. I hope you never serve on a jury, because sometimes the defendant is innocent, even when an authority says he isn’t.

  9. kiwicricket - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    I have absolutely ZERO time for poor jokes.
    I’m with the umpire.

    • kiwicricket - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:19 PM


  10. Gobias Industries - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    “Did you stretch before the game tonight?”

    “I feel like you’re kind of tight tonight.”

    Bob Hope, ladies and gentlemen.

  11. dasher521 - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    I understand showing an umpire up. That doesn’t in any way seem to be the case in this instance. I’m with Martin on this. He should be able to make a general comment like this about the strike zone without the umpire being overly touchy. All the umpire has to do is reply, “I don’t want to hear it again or you’re gone.” The umpires never are held accountable for their overboard actions.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      And you know for a fact that didn’t actually happen? That the umpire didn’t give him a warning. What are basing this piece of evidence on?

  12. yankeesfanlen - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Worse than all this, they threw out the GEICO ad making fun of umps wearing used glasses!

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM

      Never saw that one. Is it on YouTube?

  13. marshmallowsnake - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Ejecting any Yankee player is never overkill 😉

  14. drunkenhooliganism - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Maybe he threw Martin out because his joke sucked.

  15. lanflfan - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Probably inappropriate by Martin but umpires need more accountability. Their lack of professionalism at times is well documented and extremely frustrating from a fan’s point of view. If they are unwilling to accept more accountability and criticism from MLB then perhaps MLB needs to find new umpires. I don’t see why MLB must negotiate with the umpire association, simply end the relationship and seek other officials. We don’t pay good money to see umps take center stage. Most do their job, and better, without theatrics and “look at me” moments.

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