During Sunday’s afternoon game against Toronto, the Brantford Red Sox saw two of their players and their manager ejected for arguing calls with the umpire in the ninth inning. It was tied 5 – 5 and came at an important point in the game for the Red Sox made even more critical by the fact that they’ve started slowly this year with a 2 – 9 record. Unfortunately, the team’s discipline eroded, and it may have had a hand in costing them the game.
The implosion began after a strike three call in the top of the ninth inning. After the strikeout, [erhaps showing inexperience or lack of discipline, the batter, Chris Dennis, threw his helmet and bat towards his team’s bench and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Mitch Broser.
This was a questionable call by Broser who had neglected to throw out a Toronto player earlier in the game for similar behaviour after a strikeout. So, understandably, down from third base trotted Red Sox manager Romeo Shanelley to argue the ejection. It made sense for Shanelley to defend his player for showing what seemed to be reasonable anger after striking out. However, this is where Brantford’s wheels began to fall off.
After a minute or two of arguing Broser tossed Shanelley who was continuing to complain about the poor officiating before saying something to the effect of: Well, what can you expect? It’s the Pit. I’m paraphrasing, but this could be taken as a shot not just at the umpire, but at Toronto baseball and its fans in general. Shanelley did not say this that loudly, but it was audible to the fans seated in the bleachers around home plate.
This decorum was then mimicked by players on the Red Sox bench who continued jeering the officials. One more Brantford player was ejected by the first base umpire, but I’m not even sure if they actually left.
The game moved on. It was then Toronto’s turn to bat and Julian Johnson ended the night abruptly by hitting a walk-off home run to opposite field to seal the game.
So, are Brantford’s actions defensible? Yes and no. Earlier in the inning, a close out at first had been recorded after the third baseman scooped up a chopper that appeared to have bounced foul. I had a perfect view of the ball as I was sitting behind home plate and to the right and it did appear to be foul. Home plate umpire Broser had the same view and let the play continue. Shanelley, who was acting as third base coach throughout the night, also had a great view of the play and saw differently. This probably led to a lot of the anger he decided to unleash on Broser at the end of the inning.
However, this doesn’t excuse Shanelley’s comments against Toronto baseball and “The Pitt” in general. It most likely led to his team losing composure and may have had a hand in fueling Toronto towards hitting their homerun in the bottom of the ninth.
Shannelley was right to defend his batter after the ejection, but may have revealed some deep-seated loathing of Toronto and its baseball team last night, and that is hard to forgive. ICBL managers must treat the game and its fans with respect if they want to see the league grow and attract more people to the park.