Former major league outfielder Quintin Berry, who most recently appeared with the Boston Red Sox during their World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals last October, is attempting to make it back to big show in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He's currently one step away with the Triple A Norfolk Tide, but his bizarre actions on Thursday night may not help his case.
After singling with two outs in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate against the Syracuse Chiefs, Berry was ejected after apparently engaging home plate umpire Tom Honec in a verbal dispute. What his beef was exactly is unknown. The video and commentary don't really give a clear picture of what happened on that end, and Berry didn't comment after the game.
Berry's reaction to the ejection was very clear, however, and it may be the first of its kind. Rather than continue his argument or return to Norfolk's first base dugout, Berry protested the order by circling the bases as if he'd just hit a home run, and then finished it off by sliding into home plate. At that point, he left the field without any further incident or protest and went right into the team's clubhouse. No further theatrics. No ceremonial tossing of bats or water coolers. Apparently, he'd made his point with his protest lap around the bases, and he was satisfied to call it a night.
Unique and bizarre don't really begin to cover his behavior. It was strange enough that both managers agreed they'd neither seen anything close to it on a baseball field, and neither really had an explanation for why it happened.
"That was a first for me,'' said Syracuse manager Billy Gardner Jr. "Obviously, he said something to the home plate umpire he didn't like, and he got rid of him.''
"I didn't really have a perspective on it,'' said Tides manager Ron Johnson. "I was more concerned about the ball game.''
And had Johnson ever seen anything like that before?
"I can't say I have,'' he said.
Was it an attempt at humor? An act of defiance or frustration? Did he lose track of where he was for a moment and realized he'd already committed so he'd better finish circling the bases? Only Berry knows for sure, and perhaps we don't want to know.
As for the game, Syracuse would hold on for a 5-3 victory in the first of eight consecutive games against Norfolk. In other words, they'll get to see plenty more of Berry over the next week, assuming of course a suspension doesn't come after he refused to leave the field in a timely manner. But the good news probably is Berry didn't violate any unwritten rules (that we know of) with his actions, so at least for now those games will be played in peace.
Whether that can hold up for eight games is another story.
BLS H/N: For The Win
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