When he spoke after Sunday afternoon’s game about the odd seventh-inning incident in Atlanta’s Truist Park, in which the umpiring crew stopped the game and tried to (or so it seemed) eject Washington’s GM, Mike Rizzo, from the suite he occupied in the Braves’ ballpark, Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said he really didn’t know what happened to delay the game.
“Somebody screamed,” Martinez explained. “Honestly, I didn’t even hear it. They stopped the game, I know [umpire] Joe West went over. I know MLB is going to take a look at what happened, I don’t know the details or anything. They stopped for a little bit, but we resumed play right away.”
The third-year skipper said no one offered him any explanation for what happened.
“No, nothing. I talked to Hunter [Wendelstedt] briefly, and he just said, ‘Hey we want to see what we can do about getting a certain guy out, basically I haven’t heard from MLB about anything.”
That “certain guy” it turns out, was actually the Nationals’ GM and President of Baseball Ops who was apparently voicing his disapproval with the umpire’s work throughout the series in the Braves’ home.
West went down in the Braves’ dugout to call someone after asking for help from the home team with security to remove Rizzo, but play resumed relatively quickly and Rizzo appeared to remain in his suite.
“Mike Rizzo was tossed for yelling at umpires from a luxury suite in Atlanta on Sunday, with longtime crew chief Joe West saying, ‘enough is enough,’” AP writer Ben Walker wrote in an article quoting the umpire.
“I wouldn’t take that from a player. I wouldn’t take that from a manager,” West told the AP’s reporter.
“The crew told the commissioner’s office Friday that Rizzo was hollering at umpires earlier in the Nationals-Braves series,” Walker added.
“We informed the office that if it continued we’d stop it,” West told the AP reporter. “And we did.”
“He was saying, ‘you’re brutal’ and other things,” West added. “We’re in a pandemic situation, you can hear everything.”
Major League Baseball responded to the AP’s request for a comment with a statement in which they said they have, in fact, started an inquiry into the incident.
“We have already been in communication with the Nationals regarding what transpired during today’s game, and we will speak with the umpiring crew today. We will expect Joe West’s crew to provide a full account of their perspective, and we will follow up with them accordingly.”
The Nationals’ skipper said today he still wasn’t completely clear on what transpired.
“I’m actually still a little confused about the whole deal,” Martinez said before the start of the Nationals’ two-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays in the nation’s capital.
“Honestly,” Martinez added, “I didn’t really realize [Rizzo] got thrown out. I saw [West] go to the phone in the Braves’ dugout and talk, and they sat there, and I look up and [Rizzo] is still sitting there and then game went on.
“So until today, [when] I read all the reports, I was kind of shocked to hear that Joe did eject [Rizzo].
“Obviously there’s no fans, so if one person is screaming, they can pinpoint that guy, and they did. It is what it is and like I said it’s kind of part of this crazy year.”
“But when you’re one person in the crowd and you’re screaming they’re going to know where you’re at and I think that’s what’s happening.”