In the fourth inning of yesterday’s Cubs/White Sox tilt, Kris Bryant was tossed from the game, arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire Lance Barksdale – we discussed the ejection immediately after it happened.
And in that discussion, we decided that A) it was a pretty terrible call – ESPN Stats and Info suggests that a pitch in that location and in that situation has been called a strike exactly ZERO percent of the time this season – and B) Bryant probably should’ve had a much longer leash considering how infrequently he “has words” with officials at all. Not only was that his first Major League ejection, it was just the second of his entire baseball career with his first coming at Triple-A in 2014.
“[I’m] actually kind of surprised [I was ejected]. It was a disagreement, but I don’t think it was too animated,” Bryant said. “It’s frustrating. I know he’s trying to do the best job he can. I’m trying to do the best job I can. … I don’t want to be that guy that gets thrown out of games. I try to be professional on the field, but like I said, I have to stick up for myself sometimes.”
The Cubs’ manager, Joe Maddon, was even more surprised by the tossing once he learned that Bryant didn’t even swear at Barksdale. Indeed, when Maddon asked Barksdale what Bryant said, Maddon was shocked by how “awkwardly benign” it all was, adding “I’ve clearly said a lot harsher than that.”
Bryant echoed that sentiment and added that he’s often wondered how some guys get away with the things they say and do to umpires, but his best guess is that he’s still just too new to the league. Although, even that is maddening, considering that he’s a well-liked, mild-mannered, former Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Chicago Cubs World Series champion … but I digress.
In any case, Bryant still believes he was right, and knows that he has a good understanding of the strike zone. And in the end, while I don’t hope he gets thrown out of many more games, I don’t think anyone will take issue with Bryant standing up for himself again.