08/09/09 8:37 PM EST
Ejectorino: Can't question ump from CF
While in field, Victorino tossed by home-plate arbiter
By David Gurian-Peck / MLB.com
Rapuano said that after he called a ball on Rodrigo Lopez's 0-2 offering to Marlins third baseman Wes Helms, he saw Victorino waving his arms in disapproval. The umpire then stepped toward the outfield and gestured as a warning.
Then he saw Victorino wave his arms a second time. So without hesitation, Rapuano pointed again at Victorino and this time delivered the ejection signal.
"I gave him the chance to not do it again," said Rapuano, who has 18 1/2 years of Major League service time. "He's right in the line of sight and he's out in front of everybody, waving his arms in disgust of a pitch that I called. It is very simple."
Victorino recalled only gesturing once.
"I've got to hold myself accountable," Victorino said following the Phillies' 12-3 loss. "It's not something that you should be doing, but I've done it 1,000 times this year. It's not the first time -- and I'm not trying to show anybody up. Just things got built up from the half-inning before that, and it's just one of those things I let my emotions get the best of me."
In the bottom of the sixth, with runners on first and third, Ryan Howard was rung up on a close full-count fastball that Marlins starter Josh Johnson called the "pitch of the game." Howard -- and, evidently, some of his teammates -- felt it was low. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel also thought it was a ball, but one too close to take.
Victorino, after some initial confusion about the ejection, sprinted at full speed from center field to the area behind home plate. The 28-year-old waved off Howard and violently shoved catcher Paul Bako to get close to Rapuano before he was eventually restrained by Howard and Bako.
"I was like, 'OK, I might as well get my money's worth, I'm gone,'" Victorino said. "I definitely had no intention of touching [Rapuano] or anything like that."
Victorino made that point repeatedly -- that he was never going to bump Rapuano -- and Rapuano said that no contact was ever made. The umpire will fill out a report and turn the matter over to the Commissioner's Office.
Rapuano also said that Manuel agreed with the ejection call.
Manuel said he did not.
"I didn't see where there was no sense in me getting thrown out of the game for it, but at the same time, I didn't agree with him," Manuel said. "You know something? I'll stand up for my players. I always have and I always will. But at the same time, I saw what Shane was doing."
And what he saw, he apparently did not like.
"You're going to get get thrown out of the game," Manuel said. "You don't do things that basically have an effect on the game, that's going to hurt the game."
Jayson Werth replaced Victorino, and in that inning, he made a sloppy two-base fielding error and, on a separate play, a throwing error. Victorino apologized to Bako for their encounter and hugged Werth for having to enter the game.
Through the media, he also apologized to Rapuano.
"I love the guy," Victorino said. "That's why I think I'm more upset. He's just one of those guys you can play [around] with and have fun with on the field. I mean that sincerely. That's why I think it's more frustrating to me that it was him that got my first ejection from a Major League baseball game."
The sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park was less endearing towards Rapuano, serenading him with boos for the rest of the inning. Periodically, fans also chanted Victorino's name approvingly.
For the other players not involved, it was a bizarre sight. Starter Jamie Moyer, a veteran of 23 Major League seasons, said he had never seen an outfielder ejected, in the field, by a plate umpire.
Said Helms, who debuted in 1998: "It actually startled me, when I actually heard Ed yell. I kind of shriveled my shoulders down. ... It was right away. Right after the pitch was called, I stepped out of the box, and I heard, 'Get out of here!' In all my years in baseball, you say you think you have seen it all. You never have seen it all."
Victorino, too, did not think he could possibly get tossed from so far away.
"Never ever in my life would I ever thought that," he said. "Nor would I have thought Ed Rapuano would have done it. And I never ran so fast from center field to home plate."
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.