Mike Napoli of the Boston Red Sox says an umpire ejected from Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay because he dropped his bat and didn’t take it with him after striking out.
The burly first baseman said first-year umpire Tripp Gibson added insult to injury by misunderstanding basic big-league protocol after calling him out on a 3-2 pitch from George Archer that crossed the plate outside.
Napoli asserted, “First of all, it was a ball. I thought I walked. That’s why I dropped my bat. And I had a conversation with him, told him I thought it was a ball. He said it was a good pitch, so I started taking off my batting gloves and started walking back toward the dugout.” As Napoli headed for the dugout, he recalled, “He told me I forgot my bat. I stopped a little bit, and [then] he told me to come back and pick up the bat. I pointed at the bat boy, who picks up our bats, and he tossed me. So then, when he tossed me, I told him how I felt.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell chimed in, “When he was ejected for not picking his bat up, to me, I don’t know—we all have an issue with that. That’s why we have bat boys.”
Napoli continued, “I was walking away, I was going back to the dugout, and he was telling me to come back and pick up my bat when it was over. It’s kind of embarrassing [for Gibson]. I don’t know how you can throw someone out for that. I’m not trying to get thrown out in the second inning. We have a short bench.”
Napoli, whose beard appears more trimmed than in the 2013 pic shown above, struggles in Samson-like fashion this year with a .203 average and 70 strikeouts in 237 at-bats. Before the game on Sunday, he had visited his grandfather, who lives in Tampa. Napoli posted on Instagram:
On Friday, Napoli came close to being thrown out of the game after firing his helmet and bat at the ground after a strikeout, but veteran umpiring crew chief Brian Gorman tuned away, allowing Napoli to vent his frustration without triggering an automatic fine.
Napoli said after Sunday’s game, “I don’t know, maybe it’s a rookie mistake, a young-guy mistake, but for me to get thrown out in that situation, for him telling me to pick up my bat, is embarrassing.”