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Zack Greinke ejected in first inning for spiking baseball

Jul 7, 2012, 4:47 PM EDT

Zack Greinke AP AP

Zack Greinke was ejected in the bottom of the first inning against the Astros this afternoon for spiking a ball in the dirt following a close call at first base.

Greinke gave up a leadoff triple to Jordan Schafer before Jose Altuve hit a chipper to Corey Hart at first base. Greinke ran over to the first base bag to catch the throw from Hart, but Altuve was ruled safe on a very close play. Greinke didn’t argue the call, but took out his frustrations by slamming the ball into the ground. He was then given the boot by first base umpire Sam Holbrook. You don’t see that very often.

Brian McTaggart of passes along word that that Greinke was saying, “I’m mad at myself. I’m mad at myself,” so it appears he was taking his frustrations out on himself for losing the footrace. However, Holbrook evidently took it personally. Trigger-happy, much? Brewers manager Ron Roenicke emerged from the dugout to defend his starting pitcher, but he was also ejected from the game. Livan Hernandez is now pitching in relief.

Any scouts who came to see Greinke today are likely bummed, but it’s not a complete lost cause. Wandy Rodriguez, another popular trade target, is pitching for the Astros.

  1. ufullpj - Jul 7, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Trigger happy, insecure umpires. Prima donnas.

    • vallewho - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      The UMP and his manhood was disrespected. or as they like to put it, he was “shown-up”.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 7, 2012 at 7:51 PM

        We’ve seen it before, more than once, with an ump thinking he’s a mind reader. Dear umps: it isn’t always about you!

    • bigharold - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:46 PM

      “Trigger happy, insecure umpires. Prima donnas.”

      As opposed to petulant insecure players. I’d call them Prima Donnas but that generally would be redundant.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 8, 2012 at 12:32 AM

        harold: yes, but the umps are being paid to ostensibly be the “grownups” in the room, the ones to keep their cool and keep things under control.

  2. js20011041 - Jul 7, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    He shouldn’t have rung him, but at the same time, Greinke shouldn’t have given him an excuse. That’s something you expect to see out of a an angry little leaguer, not an adult.

    • chzhdintn - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:26 AM

      I have a 13 year old that this incident did indeed remind me of so I can see your point but have a different perspective. It really depends on the reason for venting frustration like that whether it’s a childish temper tantrum or something benign to the game itself, opponents or umpires. My son inherited a love and talent for the game, but an intense competitive streak as well. My son slammed his helmet down after striking out on a bad call and as his coach he sat the rest of that game and the next. He knows better to act like that over simply being beat. However, his helmet slams or bitter demeanor reveal themselves due to his own mistakes and in those circumstance I would never punish him, but I do aggresively try to coach it out of him because such anger can take him out of his game. I had similar reactions when I played, but was able to channel that frustration usually into being sharper.The reality in this situation is if Greinke is like me noone should have a problem with it.If he is more like my son then Brewers mgmt should address it and everyone else overlook it. The same thing happens in every MLB game except it’s usually batters with helmets or bats.

  3. gwhempel - Jul 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    This was the worst call I’ve ever seen in 26 years of watching baseball. Greinke slammed the ball down, without saying a word to the ump, and then clearly said “I’m mad at myself” over and over. If he gets ejected for that, then every batter who ever threw his bat or helmet at the ground after a bad at bat should get ejected too.

    I am officially over “the human element”. Bring on the robots and let Joe West and company fall off the face of the Earth.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      As one who appreciates the “human element” of the ballgame, this ejection doesn’t quite fit the bill. Having a human being miss a close call is one thing; having a human being having a hissyfit over another human being’s hissyfit regarding not making the play is a whole other.

  4. icanspeel - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Wow what a premature action by an umpire.. if he didn’t like it he could have at least warned him. Seems excessive to toss him that early in the game over that.

  5. brewcrewfan54 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    This was complete crap and that ump deserves a suspension for it.

  6. theaxmancometh - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Absolute bullsh!t ejection. Screwing over the fans who pay good $ to see an ace pitcher, scouts who are there to watch Greinke. Unacceptable, umpires should not have this effect on a game. Batters can spike their helmets, break the bats, swear as they walk away after a strikeout & nothing happens to them. Yet u toss the most important player on the field. Disgusted with this primadonna umpire. Greinke didn’t even say a word until he got ejected.

  7. randygnyc - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Gwhempel- “This was the worst call I’ve ever seen in 26 years of watching baseball”

    You must not watch many games.

    Jim Joyce in Detroit comes to mind.

    • gwhempel - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:21 PM

      Heat of the moment. I can think of a dozen worse calls off the top of my head now.

      But none of those calls resulted in me losing the chance to see one of the best players on my favorite team play, especially one who probably won’t be playing for my favorite team much longer.

  8. saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    That’s just one of those things that gets you thrown out of a game. He should have known better.

    • js20011041 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      That’s kind of my point. If I were the umpire, I wouldn’t have tossed him, but whether he’s mad at the ump or himself, you have to expect him to act like a professional. Spiking the ball like that gives the umpire a reason to eject him. If he had just held his glove up to his face and let loose a string of expletives, he’d still be in the game.

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:32 PM

        Put it this way – when was the last time you saw a player spike a live ball immediately following a close call, that went against him, and stay in the game?

        The answer: never.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        Bull crap. I have seen players spike balls. Whether its childish or not its not something that someone should get thrown out of the game for unless he directs words towards the ump. Greinke didn’t. Its a B.S call.

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:41 PM

        You have not BrewFan. You are just seeing this through a biased lens. Understandable, but you are still wrong.

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:43 PM

        Edit: BrewFan, you may have seen guys spike balls, but it wasn’t the situation I described (what Greinke did) and not get tossed. That’s just what’s going to happen when you do that. This isn’t the drug testing process. They aren’t going to make special rulings for Brewers star players.

      • js20011041 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:43 PM

        Whether you agree with him being tossed or not, Greinke’s mistake was in giving the umpire an excuse. It’s like taking a borderline pitch with 2 strikes. Don’t put that decision in the hands of the umpire. There were other ways he could have expressed his frustration that wouldn’t have given the umpire a reason for tossing him. And, I honestly cannot recall a player reacting in a similar fashion to Greinke and not getting ejected. Right or wrong, it’s reality. Greinke should have known better.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        Bullcrap saints I have. And don’t bring up the Braun thing. Players have spiked balls and not gotten tossed just like when players spike their helmets and throw their bats haven’t gotten tossed.

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        Maybe in your Little League brewcrewfan. Not in MLB.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:55 PM

        So you obviously think out of all the MLB games that are played every year nobody ever spikes a ball or everytime they do they get tossed? Sorry, that’s not true.

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:01 PM

        Reading comprehension.

        It helps.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      Screw you. Its not about any situation you described. His actions didnt warrant it. Nothing he dis was showing up the ump and he didn’t say a word to him. Did you even see the play? The ump waited and after a couple seconds decided to toss him. It was B.S.

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:50 PM

        I will send you some tissues.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM

        Wow. You really put me in my place.

      • rmfp1978 - Jul 7, 2012 at 8:28 PM

        I’m a cardinal fan and can’t stand the brewers not as bad as I hate the reds but still I don’t like them and I think itwas a bs ejection. I don’t get how people say its childish and not professional, he was being competitive and got a little emotional not zambrano emotional. I love it and can’t wait for greinke to put on that cardinal hat

      • ezthinking - Jul 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM

        Saints, name one player ejected for spiking the ball after a close call went against him.

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 9:19 PM

        EZ, Cole Armstrong was probably the last. He did it last year in the PCL. He was a catcher, and did it right after a guy stole home on him and he thought he tagged him out.

        Bet you didn’t expect a response, did you? That’s the difference between me and the blowhards. I’ll got get facts, not just spout off and pretend I know everything.

      • meteor32 - Jul 7, 2012 at 9:53 PM

        Saints, are you seriously bragging about having evidence from the minors? Actions in the minors have no precedence or bearing on MLB. At least get evidence from the majors before you start gloating.
        Also, as others have already pointed out, if you want to say that this warranted ejection, then every player who throws a bat or helmet into the ground after striking out needs to go.

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:04 PM

        Same rules, Meteor. Same rules.

      • chzhdintn - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:40 AM

        It is absolutely no different then a batter slamming helmets or bats when they chase a bad pitch or watched a cookie go by looking for a different pitch. It’s really not even childish enough for anyone to react. It is a natural reaction to do something of that sort when you fall well short of your own expectations and abilities. He did not throw it in anyones direction wrecklessly. He did not do it because he thought he got hosed on the call and he did not carry on and on with it. He did not damage anyones property, delay the game or jepordize his team because live ball or not it was not going very far. The ump is the one who both jepodized the Brewers and acted childish.

      • chzhdintn - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:49 AM

        Saints your example is completely different. Greinke’s incident was a natural reaction to missing a play he knew he should have made. Nothing childish about it. In your example it was an aggresive gesture toward an umpire he thought hosed him. If you can’t see the difference or get passed “he shldnt have given the ump an excuse” then I’m not sure there is any hope for you.

  9. dondada10 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Do you think the Brewers would start Greinke tomorrow?

    • js20011041 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      That’s actually an interesting question. I’m not sure that they would, simply because he went through his entire pregame routine. Of course, it probably doesn’t matter. I don’t think the Brewers are going anywhere this year.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        If Greinke wants to start tommorow he should. It soinds like the Brewers are leaning that way if he does. They are still trying to win games.

      • js20011041 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        You know, the more I think about it, if the Brewers are really serious about trading Greinke, then they should not pitch him any more than is necessary until a deal is done. The absolute worst case would be for him to get hurt between now and the deadline..

      • chzhdintn - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:02 AM

        If Weeks continues to look like himself the rest of the season instead of whoever invvaded his body the Brewers have a much better chance then most realize. With Lucroy and Marcum coming back their only weakness is the pen which one would think has to get better. The division is weak as a whole so you can’t yet write them off at this time, Trading Greinke would be idiotic as would not going after him as aggresive as possible in FA

  10. gostros19 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    He’s on the hook for a 4 pitch L now. Outstanding strike to ball ratio though.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:44 PM


  11. ufullpj - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Hey Saints fan, why don’t you just do what comes naturally and put a bounty on BrewFan?

    • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      Right. Saints fans put out bounties. Does that mean Brewer fans take synthetic testosterone?

      • ufullpj - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:45 PM

        See your comment below. As i said, you opened the door. If you can’t take it, my suggestion is to simply be quiet.

        saints97 – Jul 7, 2012 at 5:43 PM
        Edit: BrewFan, you may have seen guys spike balls, but it wasn’t the situation I described (what Greinke did) and not get tossed. That’s just what’s going to happen when you do that. This isn’t the drug testing process. They aren’t going to make special rulings for Brewers star players.

  12. steve7921 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    What a surprise…Joe West is the crew chief working this game!

    Nothing else needs to be said….

  13. ufullpj - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Saints fan, you opened the door with your comments about “favoritism” for certain MIL players. If you don’t have thick enough skin to take what you dish out, just stop commenting. Seriously, grow a pair.

    • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:45 PM

      What made you think your nonsensical comment bothered me?

      • ufullpj - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:51 PM

        Auto-ejection. Simple as that.

      • ufullpj - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM

        The fact that you replied that way you did. Look, I’m happy to go round and round with you on this, but your skin is way too thin. For now, just keep talking smack about Braun’s situation – something you know very little about (in terms of what actually happened), and keep bringing it up, because you think it makes you sound oh-so-smart. In the meantime, every time you try to talk smack using that nickname….well, you’ll get bounty comments.

      • chzhdintn - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:10 AM

        ufull..It’s like they said (can’t remember which anchors) during the all-star selection show and that was it should be pretty obvious to everyone that he was telling the truth

  14. moogro - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    I have watched Pavano do it twice in the last year, once mad at himself, once mad at bad defense behind him. Both times very big and right in front of the ump. Nothing happened. The only people that were slighted were himself and his teammates. This should always be a warning first. He is already looking a little foolish and he knows it. Being scolded is more embarrassing (and effective) in this situation.

    • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      I’m sure you will have no difficulty linking the video.

      • paperlions - Jul 7, 2012 at 7:17 PM

        Guy’s spike the ball pretty often, usually not as demonstratively as Greinke did, but it happens all the time….one reason you won’t find a video of them is because most umpires are not idiots and just ignore it….just like they ignore guys that spike their helmets, throw their bats, or break their bats over their knee.

        If you think guys get ejected, ever, for throwing equipment, you are wrong. Guys throw equipment in anger or frustration nearly every game and no one gets ejected.

      • saints97 - Jul 7, 2012 at 9:08 PM

        Guys spike live balls within a few feet of umpires after a close call went against them “pretty often”?

        Feel free to actually read what I wrote before building your strawman, Paper.

    • zzalapski - Jul 8, 2012 at 2:15 AM

      Strib columnist Patrick Reusse mentioned this incident in a piece he filed for the local ESPN outlet:

      This specifically is barely memorable because a) it shouldn’t be made out to be a big deal and b) it’s but one instance of Nishioka showing what a horrible acquisition he was.

      As for Greinke’s case, it seems that Sam Holbrook has spent too much time around Joe West. Good god, he’s contagious!

  15. onbucky96 - Jul 7, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Zack, time and place. Wrong time, and that kind if reaction was little league. That said, the ump gets nominated for the ESPY for DB call of the year.

  16. tonyricemajorharris - Jul 7, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    This clown gives many good umps a bad name. Too bad there are so many others like him that think fans pay their hard earned money to watch umpires call games. What a joke

  17. bla bla bla - Jul 7, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    The worst part was the self-satisfied smirk on the face of the ump throughout the whole thing.

  18. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 7, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Terrible. Watching Holbrook feign disgust at Roenicke and West say “excuse me” as if he was seriously offended made me want to throw up. They were totally in the wrong and have no business umping an MLB game.

  19. randygnyc - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    This isn’t even the first time Greinke has spiked a ball. He did it in the playoffs last year after a play at the plate went against him, as he was covering. No ejection, although it wasn’t as violent and the ball came up and “chest bumped” himself.

  20. greej1938l - Jul 8, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Act professional??? Cmon you can read his lips he’s pissed he didn’t get him out cause he knows he should have. Of course he’s upset. Spike the bell or yell a profanity this ump woulda tossed him either way.ruined the outcome of whole game. But yes…the gallaraga call is as bed as it gets. Ha ha

  21. mcs7584 - Jul 8, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Joe West & Co. strike again. Would we be having this debate if it was any other crew working the game and the same events unfolded? The integrity of any game this crew works is in question and that’s something MLB should be concerned about but, sadly, isn’t. After all, attendance is up, according to Bud Selig. I don’t know if there’s a way to organize it or pull it off, but wouldn’t it be something if no one showed up to watch games umped by these clowns?

  22. jfk69 - Jul 8, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    and that is what keeps you talking about baseball. Where would the human element be if you had robots and video on every play?
    You wouldn’t need a manager. Just use Girardi’s game book of stats hooked up to a computer…lol
    A close call on the field
    We wheel out the computer manager to play global thermal nuclear destruction on any close calls with computer video ump.

  23. voight444 - Jul 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    The ump should have handled it differently. There should be ump training to handle this type of situation. The ump should not try and read Grienke’s mind but instead ask a question. What’s up? that is all he had to do. The ump could have them determined at that point to throw him out or not. use your head and common sense first. I have seen ups ask questions if it’s unclear. ump should be fined or suspended.

  24. georgebrett - Jul 9, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    But what’s cool is now he will get the opportunity to start 3 straight games which is something that hasn’t been done in over 100 years.

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