Davey Martinez earned the distinction of being the first manager tossed from a World Series game since Bobby Cox in 1996 when he got ejected for arguing with the umpires at the end of the top of the seventh in Game 6 this past October in Houston, TX’s Minute Maid Park.
Martinez, in a continuation of an argument which started when Trea Turner was called out for interference while running to first base, got his money’s worth, and had to be [sort of] held back by Chip Hale, who was the bench coach last season and will be coaching third base for the defending World Series champion Washington’s Nationals in 2020.
The skipper declined to talk much about the ejection immediately following that game, telling reporters repeatedly that he didn’t want to take away from what his club did with their season-extending win over the Astros that night, but he has joked about it since, telling Chuck Todd in a Town Hall on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio this past winter that though he’d done it before to light a spark in his club, that wasn’t an instance of trying to get ejected to fire up his club, but an actual, genuine expression of frustration and anger over the call.
Hale, who tried his best to hold Martinez back that night, revisited the incident during an MLB Network Radio interview with Eduardo Perez and Steve Phillips last week, telling the show’s hosts he’s gone back and watched it numerous times since that night.
“When he went out, I knew nothing good could come from it,” Hale explained, “... because we had dealt with it, we had been frustrated, we bailed ourselves out a little bit with a home run, kind of put some distance, so everything was okay, but when the two umpires came over and kind of called Davey out of the dugout to talk to him, I felt like, ‘Oh, man, this is not going to be good.’ So I was ready. I got up there, and [First Base Coach] Tim Bogar was actually coming back from first, so he was out there also, and so we kind of heard what was going on, and then all of a sudden it erupted, and as soon as I heard the umpire throw him out, my back was to the umpire, so I heard it, and Tim kind of whispered to me, ‘Oh, let him go, they threw him out,’ and I said, ‘We can’t let him go,’ because I was worried about Game 7.”
Hale knew he would have to finish up Game 6 with Martinez ejected, but if things escalated further, he said, it could turn into a bigger issue for everyone involved.
“I’ve never seen Davey this upset, and I was afraid he would bump [the umpires] and [Chief Baseball Officer] Joe [Torre] and [MLB’s Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations] Peter [Woodfork] and everybody in charge would not let him manage Game 7. I said, ‘This isn’t right. He’s our skipper. He deserves to manage Game 7,’ so my only worry was just getting him not making contact with these umpires after he was thrown out.”
As Hale joked/noted, holding Martinez back, hard as he tried, was not an easy task, and he said it took him a while to calm down and catch his breath after the ejection.
“Now, once we got him off the field, it took me a good 2-3 hours just to get my wind back,” Hale laughed. “I was tired, and I work out every day guys, and I was beat. So luckily we had a nice lead and the only decision we had to make was were we going to let [starter] Stephen [Strasburg] finish the game, and for us, we were good letting Stephen finish the game. He just felt like he didn’t have a whole lot left, so we asked him can you go out and get the first out of the ninth and then we’ll bring [Sean] Doolittle in to face the lefty, so it wasn’t that tough and it ran kind of smoothly, but honestly it took me a good 2-3 hours just to get my wind back.”