Umpire ejects Blue Jays closer, Rays manager in wild 9th inning

Somebody should keep stats regarding arguments with umpires. If the Fangraphs revolutionaries did it, they'd probably find Angel Hernandez and Joe West are among the league leaders. Those guys always seem to get in the middle of shenanigans.

Angel got a two-fer Tuesday night, ejecting Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gregg(notes) in the ninth inning at the Rogers Centre.

West, who has made the news a few too many times this season already, also made his presence felt without lifting a thumb.

The double tossings served as a wacky backdrop for a remarkable 7-6 comeback victory for the Rays, who had trailed 5-0 heading into the seventh but put up a four-spot with just one hit in the ninth.

After Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston lifted his closer, Gregg simply told Hernandez that his strike zone stunk as he walked off the field.

Maddon was a little more dramatic — and a lot funnier. He disagreed with Hernandez not granting time to Carlos Peña before a 2-2 pitch that was awkwardly taken for strike three.

Maddon became irate when Hernandez gave his reason for why time wasn't granted. Incensed, Maddon hustled over to third base to find West, the crew chief.

Watch the arguments

"This is your [bleeping] fault!" Maddon can be seen saying.

"My fault?" West responds.

"Your [bleeping] fault, yes!" Maddon says.

Hilarious! But what does Maddon mean it's Joe West's fault?

Via The Heater:

"I'm all for supporting league policy," Maddon said. "But when it comes to speed-up rules in those kind of situations, I think they can basically be thrown in the trash can. It's inappropriate. There's no such thing as a speed-up rule at that moment in the game — that was my argument."

West, of course, has made it known that games are taking too long and it's time to speed things up. Maddon was chastising West for being a bad influence on Hernandez. West really appeared to have no idea why Maddon was pinning blame on him. Aw, c'mon, Cowboy Joe.

Here's video of Maddon, a little more composed, explaining his position:

Marc Topkin also acted as pool reporter to get the umpires' side. At the end of his post was this little bit of color — just to add to the hilarity:

West and Hernandez were gracious hosts, offering a seat on the couch in their dressing room, as well as food and drink. And in the middle of the interview, West took a call from Tommy Lasorda, who was at an establishment in Nashville, put his cell phone on speakerphone and talked to him for about 10 minutes before resuming his explanation of the calls.

As for the umpiring itself, when you anger the closer for one team and incense the manager of the other — tossing both — it just means you're doing a fair job, right? Well...

Watching a replay of the inning closely, Gregg probably benefited from Hernandez’s umpiring as much as he suffered. What killed Gregg, really, was his own lack of command; further, that Gaston and pitching coach Bruce Walton allowed Gregg to throw 41 pitches one night after closing out a victory.

Not granting Peña time out was Hernandez's prerogative, but it seemed an odd time to "speed up" the game. Peña did ask for time a split-second before Gregg began his windup. Hernandez, who granted time earlier in the at-bat probably should have granted it again.

"[Hernandez]'s a good umpire, I just thought he made a bad decision there," Peña said. "He could have made a better decision, especially in that situation."

The last word, as always, goes to West (and he's not at all condescending, is he?):

"[Peña] is right halfway — Angel is a very good umpire," West said. "And Joe is just angry because it happened to him. I get that. We understand that. All the calls can't go their way. That's why they have us."

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