Things got very weird in the bottom of the eighth inning of Wednesday night’s Miami-Texas game. With the Marlins holding a 12-run lead and the action going deeper and deeper into the night, umpire Gerry Davis decided to delay action and instruct Adrian Beltre to stand on the on-deck circle mat.
If you’re not a ravenous consumer of Major League Baseball, it’s important to understand that no one stands on the mat because it’s slippery. Also, umpires are generally completely oblivious to batter’s standing a few feet astride of it because, really, what does it matter?
Beltre responded by physically dragging the mat over to his original position which, while quite humorous, earned him an ejection. After the game the third baseman tried to claim he was just complying with orders.
Beltre explained his version of events after the game:
“I don’t really know,” he said. “The home-plate umpire told me Gerry wanted me to move. I said, ‘Why? I don’t want to get hit. I stand here every day, I’ve been standing here for a lot of years and I’ve been standing here when he was umpiring home plate and he didn’t say nothing. Everybody stands in the same spot. Why do I have to move? I don’t want to get hit.’
“Then the second umpire came down and he told me I need to move. I told Gerry – I have no problem but I don’t want to get hit. I’ve been hit when I stand over there. He said, ‘Well I don’t’ care. You need to be on top of the mat.’ So I pulled the mat where I was at and he threw me out.
“If you see the video, you see everybody standing in the same spot. Why was that a problem today? I’ve been standing in the same spot the whole series.”
Beltre continued: “Why he pick me up? Why’d he need to throw me out? I was not trying to be funny. He told me to stand on the mat, so I pulled the mat where I was. And I stood on. I actually did what he told me.”
Look, we can all agree that the ejected wasn’t warranted. But let me posit that Beltre knew exactly what he was doing and the move may have been motivated by extreme sarcasm. I don’t totally buy the babe in the woods defense here, even if Davis overreacted and needlessly escalated the situation.
Baseball can be very, very stupid sometimes. At least the nonsense often leads to tepid laughter. The lesson here is to get expressed written permission before doing redecorating.