Umpire Joe West and his crew weren’t happy with him.
Joe West’s crew kicks Mike Rizzo out
During the seventh inning, while Rizzo was watching from the upper deck of the stadium, umpire Hunter Wendelstedt suddenly could be heard on the broadcast saying, “you’re out,” while pointing up toward the stands.
He then asked for security to be called before cameras turned to Rizzo — who was seen standing alone and not wearing a mask in a section of the stadium.
Rizzo, West said, had been yelling at umpires from his suite, saying things like “you’re brutal.” Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of fans in the stadium, everything can be heard down on the field.
“I wouldn’t take that from a player. I wouldn’t take that from a manager,” West said, via the Associated Press. “If it was Donald Trump, I’d eject him, too. But I’d still vote for him.”
Umpire Joe West called security to apparently eject Nationals GM Mike Rizzo for not wearing a mask. pic.twitter.com/9fCYJOWJaI
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 7, 2020
Microphones picked up someone in the Braves’ dugout saying that Rizzo “doesn’t have a mask on.” Though masks are required due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Rizzo should have been wearing one, every shot of him shown on the broadcast showed that he was alone in his section watching the game.
Many speculated that West had ejected Rizzo for not wearing a mask — which would have been extremely hypocritical, as West is on the record for being skeptical about the coronavirus and wasn’t wearing his mask correctly down on the field.
“If this game hasn’t gotten me by now, no virus is going to get me,” West said in July. “I’ve weathered a bunch of storms in my life. I’ll weather another one.”
Major League Baseball has started an inquiry into the incident with Rizzo, who signed a three-year extension with the organization on Saturday.
“We have already been in communication with the Nationals regarding what transpired during today’s game, and we will speak with the umpiring crew today,” MLB said in a statement, via the Associated Press. “We will expect Joe West’s crew to provide a full account of their perspective, and we will follow up with them accordingly.”
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