The Los Angeles Dodgers were enjoying a 12-1 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies last night when reliever Yacksel Rios hit Justin Turner with a pitch. Home plate umpire Doug Eddings, perhaps not thinking things all the way through, gave Rios the heave-ho. Turner, the person who was “victimized” in this scenario, quickly came to the opposing pitcher’s defense by pointing out the obvious: no one tries to send a message or exact justice with an 84 mph breaking ball.
His pleas, and the those of Phillies players and manager Gabe Kapler, fell on deaf ears. Rios was still sent packing, even though almost all involved knew it was totally unnecessary.
In the grand scheme of things, this was a relatively minor miscarriage of justice. The game had long been decided. But it is worth wondering why cooler heads and better sanity couldn’t prevail after a common-sense buffer. Would anyone have been disappointed to see the umpiring crew huddle up, discuss it for a few minutes, and then rescind the ejection?
No. That’s the part that’s worrisome.
Mistakes are going to happen and the human element is essential to the game. Umpires get it wrong from time to time. If they’re too hardheaded to take a breath and get it right — the ultimate goal — then they’re not living up to what is expected.
On the brighter side: it was pretty funny. So at least that’s something.