NOTE: The views expressed in this EDITORIAL do not necessarily reflect the views of Detroit Sports Nation or a majority of its writers and should not be misconstrued as such. The views contained within are the views of the author and the author alone.
When fans purchase tickets to a ball game, they do so to see their favorite players and future Hall of Famer’s. Last night at Comerica Park, there was the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Mike Trout, and rookie sensation Michael Fulmer. Those four alone are worth the price of admission to any game. Add fan favorite J.D. Martinez in and you have yourself quite an exciting night of baseball. By the end of the night, only Cabrera and Trout would remain in the game.
Home plate umpire Mike Everitt decided to give his arm a little bit of a workout and flex his power by tossing both Martinez’s for arguing balls and strikes. Manager Brad Ausmus and hitting coach Wally Joyner also were victims to Everitt, whose strike zone was anything but consistent. After multiple low pitches being called for strikes, Victor Martinez decided that enough was enough and started commenting on Everitt’s strike zone. Everitt wanted no part of it and tossed Martinez. As things escalated, and Martinez kept getting hotter and hotter, it was apparent that would not be the last ejection of the night. After the ejections of both Ausmus and Joyner, Everitt made J.D. Martinez his final victim.
What J.D. got tossed for, is pretty ridiculous:
— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) August 28, 2016
Dialogue between J.D. Martinez and umpire Mike Everitt, as told by J.D. Martinez (using his exact words): pic.twitter.com/kKFhtuVhtn
— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) August 28, 2016
Everitt is just another example of umpires making the show all about them. They have the power to eject players and coaches, and they take it to the extreme in some cases. Everitt is not the only ump to do this either. Time after time, we see players ejected for extremely minimal things, just like J.D. Martinez was last night. Understandably, it is an unwritten rule that players are not supposed to argue balls and strikes, and doing so is grounds for ejection. The problem is that players can’t make any type of criticism on an umpires actions, even when it is clear that the umpire is performing poorly. Also, the umpire is not held accountable for his actions, and doesn’t have to justify it to anyone if he doesn’t want to.
Disappointing to hear ump Mike Everitt wouldn't allow radio (@riger1984) into intvw. Player/mgr would get crushed if they did the same
— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) August 28, 2016
It was clear that Everitt was being influenced by the catcher pulling the ball back into the strike zone, yet Everitt continued to call the low strike. He knew what was going on, yet continued to keep status quo. He did not like the players and managers taking a shot at his power, and he made them pay for it. It was even thought that Everitt had a grin on his face after he ejected J.D.
Everitt’s moves weakened the Tigers lineup considerably in a close, big game during a pennant chase. All for some mild criticism that was justified on the part of the Tigers.
Fans do not go to games to see the umpires throw players and managers out. They go to see the best that baseball has to offer, but instead they end up seeing the umpire show on some nights. If players and managers are held accountable for their actions, umps should be as well.
This will not be the last time that an umpire is the center of attention during a game, and it will take a major mistake on the part of an umpire in a big game, likely a World Series game, for any change. Don’t expect any major change though, as the major sports protect their officials actions even when the actions are the wrong ones.