Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has expressed his discontent with umpires a couple times in his brief MLB career, but on Friday he earned his first ejection by arguing balls and strikes.
The argument that earned him a ticket from the ballgame didn’t appear to be anything too outlandish, and looked like this:
“Earlier in the game he said something already. The whole bench we were arguing the whole time so the umpire was on edge because we were upset with many of the calls tonight,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “When the umpire told him to stop he looked back and said something else.”
Montoyo went out and argued for a bit, but ultimately felt umpire Mike Estabrook had conducted himself properly.
“He did it the right way,” he said. “He gave him a chance. The whole bench had been arguing, he wasn’t following Vladdy to throw him out. That would have bothered me.”
Guerrero Jr. was upset after striking out in the seventh inning on the pitch below:
That may seem like an innocuous example of him being fooled on a slider outside, but Vladdy’s real concern was with the previous pitch.
“I didn’t say anything bad to him,” Guerrero Jr. said through a translator. “I just turned around and told him that was a ball. I guess he didn’t understand what I said very well and he threw me out.”
In a 1-1 count, Estabrook called a strike on a pitch right on the outside corner. Guerrero Jr. likely felt that pitch was a ball, and Estabrook bringing the count to 1-2 forced him to expand the zone.
Vladdy’s case here wasn’t exactly airtight.
The pitch he was upset about could easily be called a ball or a strike, it’s about as close as it gets. Even if he was correctly there wasn’t much to gain by arguing.
“There’s not way to win when you argue balls and strikes,” Montoyo said. “That’s part of the game that’s never going to stop.”
For his part Guerrero Jr. wasn’t interested in re-visiting the validity of his argument.
“I know my strike zone very well,” he said. “I don’t have to go over there and see a video.”
Although, Vladdy may not be willing to concede he may have been in the wrong, he does understand that the ejection represents a teaching moment.
“These are just things that happen in the heat of the moment. I learn from them.”
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