At the start of the series finale with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, MASN analyst FP Santangelo said he did some quick research/Googling to see what, if any, information he could find out about home plate umpire Jeremie Rehak.
“There’s so much talk about umpires and their zones lately, I’ve been Googling them before the game as part of my lineup card,” Santangelo said as they introduced the umpiring crew in the top of the first, “and I Googled Jeremie today and it was, ‘Ejects this manager, ejects this manager, ejects this manager, ejects this player ... so heads up, short fuse behind the plate according to my Google search.”
In the second at bat of the bottom of the first, Adam Eaton stepped in against Dodgers’ right-hander Walker Buehler and got ahead 3-1 before Buehler fired a high fastball that ended up out of the zone but was called a strike by Rehak.
MLB.com’s GameDay had the pitch (No. 5) clearly high, just above the zone:
Baseballsavant.com provides a general and personalized strike zone for each player, and it has the pitch a strike in the generalized zone, while it’s a ball in Eaton’s personalized strike zone:
Eaton, who felt the pitch was high, made his way toward first, walking halfway down the line before he turned around and returned to the batter’s box, a show of defiance/disbelief that probably didn’t sit too well with the ump.
One pitch later, in a 3-2 count, Eaton K’d swinging over a slider inside, and he had some words for the umpire as he headed back to the dugout, turning back once to give him a piece of his mind before he was abruptly ejected.
Eaton came back to keep the quickly escalating conversation going, until his manager, Davey Martinez, hustled out to get between his player and the ump.
Martinez got his money’s worth after getting ejected himself...
Adam Eaton and Davey Martinez have been ejected from today's game. pic.twitter.com/rO5myUT5EQ— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) July 28, 2019
Following the completion of the game, an 11-4 win for the Nationals, Eaton shared his own thoughts on the ejection, and his reaction after strike three.
“Once the next pitch came, I just told him: That was on him,” Eaton said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“That at-bat was on him. That’s my own personal opinion. I still have my bat in my hand, yes. But it just felt like that pitch was up. And then we had a misunderstanding. I think he believed I said something that I didn’t, and I think that’s why he threw me out as I was walking away. I think he heard something that I didn’t say.”
“I’ve always said this,” Martinez explained in his own post game press conference, “I don’t like arguing about balls and strikes, but I’m going to go protect my players, I am.
“Adam turned around and that’s what really ignited everything is that he was walking away and he started coming after him, so that was my cue.”
Asked if it was a moment of anger for Eaton or an accumulation of frustration with some of the calls over the course of the series, Martinez acknowledged it was likely the latter.
“I think it had a lot to do with the way things happened over the last few days, yeah, like I said, I watch all the games, and I question some of the calls, but they do their job, and I’m not going to ever say anything during the games and stuff, but after a while, enough’s enough.”