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Roberto Hernandez was ejected without a warning for hitting Starlin Castro with a pitch

Jun 13, 2014, 9:50 PM EDT

Roberto Hernandez AP

Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez was ejected after hitting Starlin Castro with a first-pitch fastball with two outs and the bases empty in the sixth inning of Friday night’s contest. Castro had homered off of Hernandez in the fourth inning, putting the Cubs up 2-0.

Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger must have assumed Hernandez was steaming from the home run, but Castro didn’t celebrate his home run in any way. He gazed out at it, but only to see if it had the distance, as it eventually landed just barely over the fence in left field. Hernandez also reacted immediately with disdain that he allowed the pitch to slip away the way it did. Here’s the video.

Ripperger hesitated for a few seconds, ostensibly mulling if he should issue warnings to both dugouts, but opted instead to eject Hernandez immediately. Hernandez could be seen responding, “me?” to Ripperger. Manager Ryne Sandberg came out to argue the decision to immediately eject Hernandez, and he too was ejected. Compare Ripperger’s itchy trigger finger to home plate umpire Dan Bellino’s in a May 30 match-up between the Rays and Red Sox in which David Price hit two Red Sox with pitches in what was a contentious game from the start. Four Red Sox were ejected, but Price was not.

  1. bfunk1978 - Jun 13, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    About damn time. If an ump thinks it’s intentional is his responsibility to keep people safe.

    • dan1111 - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:58 AM

      The system of issuing warnings exists because there is usually no way to tell if it’s really intentional.

      This is a case in point. Is it inconceivable that a batter who previously hit a home run could be hit by accident? There was no indication of intent by Hernandez, and he reacted as if it were a mistake. Maybe that was a great acting job, but Hernandez deserved the benefit of the doubt. Especially when far more blatant cases routinely result in warnings.

      • paperlions - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        That actually is not why that system exists.

        Warnings are only supposed to be delivered IF the umpire thinks the HBP was on intentional, and after warnings pitchers and managers are ONLY ejected if an umpire thinks a HBP was intentional. Ejections are not automatic after a warning.

        In short, the entire rule is still predicated on an umpire’s interpretation of intent.

      • tigersfandan - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:00 PM

        If one pitcher might have thrown at someone intentionally, why punish both teams by issuing a warning? Either eject the pitcher, or do nothing. Warning an innocent team is not the solution.

  2. mrhonorama - Jun 13, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    Utterly ridiculous ejection — no pitcher reacts the way Hernandez did, pretty much immediately, if he had the intent to hit Castro.

    • flamethrower101 - Jun 13, 2014 at 10:57 PM

      Castro hit a homer off Hernandez in his previous AB. I can see how the ump could think it was intentional. I don’t know if it was but I can see how the ump would think so.

  3. thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 13, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    Bandwagon ump

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:54 AM


  4. ningenito78 - Jun 13, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    The umps need some checks and balances. That was ridiculous.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      You know….as insanely wrong as the call was, I fully believe in good faith he thought he did the right thing at the time. He just made a mistake. What KILLS me to no end is the way Major League umps double down on mistakes, and refuse to admit they are wrong. Or at least STFU and not continue to say they were right! The statement came out from the crew chief “The right call was made”. ARE YOU SERIOUS?? I mean really, why say that when everyone (with the excpetion of HBT trolls) knows it was a mistake? Either admit you screwed up, or just stay silent.

      MLB umps would have you believe there are zero incorrect calls made in the 138 year history of the game. Yea….that make sense

      • clydeserra - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        absolutely. I think after some consultation with the other umps, a player ejected like this should be reinstated.

        I know it will never happen

  5. natsattack - Jun 13, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Guilty until proven innocent.

  6. jeffbbf - Jun 13, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    just saw the replay on MLB. He missed his “target” by 3 feet. Catcher set up outside and Hernandez came inside and plunked Castro. I’ve seen a pitcher miss an outside target by grooving one over the plate, but never seen one hit a guy. Don’t assume this was a stupid call by the ump.

    Oh – and *every* pitcher reacts like Hernandez did when he gets ejected for hitting a batter. “Who…me? What for?”

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:30 AM

      Hernandez had terrible control all night, and was dripping sweat (look at the video). He is good friends with Castro, and as was noted – not only did Castro in no way “pimp” his Home Run, Hernandez wasn’t even looking at him after the ball was hit (go look at that video).

      I watched the game – after the ejection, Hernandez was still in the dugout and talking to Castro clearly indicating “Dude, that was not on purpose”, and Castro was nodding back to him. The Cubs manager didn’t think it was intentional either.

      If you get ejected for that, you need to eject every single HBP

    • kruegere - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      You must realize that Hernandez throws a sinker and a sinker can get away inside to a righty.

  7. nottinghamforest13 - Jun 13, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    Ripperger has had it out for Hernandez ever since the name change controversy. Go back & look at his comments in the wake of the revelation. Very telling.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      What were his comments?

      • tigersfandan - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        He’s obviously joking.

  8. mscxvd - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    Even if it wasn’t intentional I still think it was the right call. Pitchers have got to stop this beaning crap and retaliations and the only way, unfortunatly, is to be more strict with the ejections to send a message. All this retaliation crap is getting old fast.

    • dan1111 - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:22 AM

      “Even if it wasn’t intentional I still think it was the right call.”

      Think about that. You are saying that Hernandez should have been punished even if he was innocent.

      I agree that plunking is stupid and should be stopped to the extent possible. However, going after pitchers whether they meant to hit the batter or not is the wrong way to do that. It would take away the ability to pitch inside. Even worse, it would give batters a license to lean in to a pitch and get any good starter out of the game.

      There needs to be balance, discouraging retaliation while not distorting the game by coming down on accidental cases. For all the flaws in baseball’s umpiring, I think the current system is about as good as it can get in this regard. Too bad Ripperger didn’t follow the system.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      Fascinating concept. What do the facts have to do with anything – the important part is the ejection

      Another thing that can not happens is teams making threats for upcoming games. The Cubs starter tonight can not preemptively make a threat against the Phillies. So if he gets ejected before his first pitch tonight for that reason – EVEN IF HE NEVER MADE ANY THREAT – it’s the right thing to do, because you can’t make threats.

      Glad you gave us clarity

  9. phillynac - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:34 AM

    Getting old fast? It has been around since the invention of the game. It allows players to police themselves so MLB doesn’t turn into football where guys dance because they make a tackle 20 yards downfield.

    • dan1111 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:01 AM

      Yeah, players potentially injuring each other to prevent them from celebrating their successes is definitely a good trade off.

  10. miguelcairo - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    Normally I’d think this is wrong, but Hernandez has always been unafraid to throw at batter’s heads. He’s a classless, dirty pitcher.

  11. miguelcairo - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    • badandy519 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:05 AM

      Apples to oranges. What does Fausto Carmona drilling Tex in the ribs have to do with a pitch getting away from Hernandez tonight?

      • thisdamnbox - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:25 AM

        Um, I could be wrong but isn’t “Fausto Carmona” a.k.a. Roberto Hernandez? That’s why it was posted to make the point of Faust-berto slinging fastballs at dudes…

      • dan1111 - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:26 AM

        @this, whether or not badandy realizes they are the same player, the fact that Hernandez threw at someone 3 years ago does not prove that every subsequent HBP is intentional.

  12. phillynac - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:55 AM

    It is more than just celebrations although players take that very seriously. What about hitters who lean out over the plate or dive into the ball? That is something a pitcher needs to be able to enforce himself. If a pitcher is afraid to throw inside because if he misses by 6 inches and hits a guy, he will be thrown out, then the game turns into whiffle ball or slow pitch softball where anyone can step to the plate and be fearless. The little split second of doubt/fear is the difference between pro players and the players whose career ended after high school.

  13. courtjester1234 - Jun 14, 2014 at 5:45 AM

    We’ll maybe he didn’t want to issue a free pass(walk) so an intentional HBP takes 3 less pitches

  14. theebbandflow - Jun 14, 2014 at 6:40 AM

    Well, Larry Bowa did have a go at him the other week for not reaching 6 innings per game.

    Maybe he just wanted to maintain his reputation.

  15. Jonny 5 - Jun 14, 2014 at 6:44 AM

    Everyone crying how this “had to be on purpose, it was the right call”. Have you ever tried to throw a strike? Have you ever tried to do it in the high 80 mph range? ML pitchers make it look easy, it’s not. I’m shocked it doesn’t happen more often. It’s an assumption it was intentional. Probably not a fair one. That’s one itchy trigger finger IMO.

    • tigersfandan - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      Who is crying that it had to be on purpose? I’m seeing the exact opposite.

  16. The Cub Den - Jun 14, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    Even as the Cubs fan that I am, I think it was a hasty decision to eject him.


  17. sumkat - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    1st, he clearly didn’t throw at him. Terrible call from a terrible ump. These guys have a better union than UAW, nobody loses their job no matter how bad they are

    2nd, what’s wrong with throwing at a guy if the need arises? It’s been in baseball since it started, and batters didn’t have the protection they have today. There is nothing wrong at all with “plunking” a guy, if it’s called for (Showboating, leaning in on the plate, they threw at your guy, etc). There is something wrong with throwing at a guy’s head.

    Besides, putting one in a guys rib cage (the perfect “plunk” is between the shoulder blades as they try to turn out of the way), has a much lower chance to injure a guy than a ball that catches his elbow or wrist. A baseball to the body is going to hurt, badly, that’s the point. It’s very rarely going to injure anyone. Worst case is a fractured rib, you’ll be ok in 2 weeks

    • tigersfandan - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      How do you know Mark Ripperger is a terrible ump? Had you even heard of him before now? Everyone makes mistakes. Ryne Sandberg has probably made a bad lineup move or two in the past. Does that make him a terrible manager? You made an unsupported assumption about Ripperger. Does that mean that every assumption you make is unsupported?

      • sumkat - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Yes, I have heard of him before. that’s why I know he’s awful, because I know who he is. Any time, after a game, you know the ump/ref’s name, they did a terrible job, period.

        The only 3 I know in MLB are Joe West, Angel Fernandez, and Mark Ripperger. Why? Because all 3 are awful

      • tigersfandan - Jun 15, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        Any time you know an ump/ref’s name after the game, he is automatically terrible? That’s a ridiculous over-generalization.

      • sumkat - Jun 15, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        no, it’s a general and obvious rule of any sport

        I thought I didn’t know who he was?

      • tigersfandan - Jun 15, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        You’ve probably heard of Jim Joyce, the guy from the Armando Galarraga near-perfect game. Now, Joyce is widely regarded by people in the know as one of the best umpires in baseball. But, by your reasoning, since people have heard of him, he must be terrible.

        Mark Ripperger does not belong in the same category as Joe West and Angel Hernandez. The fact that you put him there shows that you don’t really know anything about MLB umpires.

  18. mungman69 - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Fire the umpire

  19. tigersfandan - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    The Phillies announcer: “I can’t imagine an umpire not warning a pitcher before throwing him out….”

    So, even if it was blatantly obvious — which it clearly wasn’t in this case — an umpire always has to warn first, thereby penalizing both teams? That just isn’t reasonable.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      That was just one comment of many, and he did at another point qualify that statement by noting that it another thing if it was blatantly intentional, but this was not, so a warning should have been given.

      Tom McCarthy is not one given to hyperbole. He was just stunned and speechless – like the rest of us! But he did indeed later acknowledge that a blatantly plunking does not need a warning

      • tigersfandan - Jun 15, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        Fair enough. could do a better job of deciding when to cut off their videos.

  20. zdravit - Jun 14, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    BOOM. We don’t tolerate you multiple identity types!

  21. papajack1259 - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    He hit em and that’s what he wanted to do. Ryne had to defend his guy but he knew…..he will not do that again with that ump now will he?

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