Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon wasn’t long for Saturday’s game. In the third inning, he was ejected by home plate umpire Marty Foster after taking his second called strike three in as many at-bats. But all Rendon and his teammates were left to wonder is what exactly Rendon did to incur the umpire’s wrath.
Along with manager Dave Martinez, Rendon was one of several Nationals who didn’t appear happy with Foster’s strike zone the first time through the order. However, his reaction to both strikeouts hardly seemed to warrant this reaction from Foster.
Anthony Rendon got ejected for this? pic.twitter.com/2moGgjPOWK
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) April 7, 2018
Upon first look, the only plausible explanation is that Foster believed Rendon was showing him up with the bat flip. Crew chief Joe West, who himself has been in the middle of numerous controversial exchanges, added that he felt Rendon wasn’t cooperating with Foster throughout his second at-bat.
Crew Chief Joe West on the Rendon ejection, in full: pic.twitter.com/4B9993xmkf
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) April 7, 2018
If you read the responses to that tweet, it’s clear Nationals fans aren’t buying West’s explanation.
Neither was Rendon. After the game, he Foster on blast.
“I don’t even think I opened my mouth to chew gum,” Rendon told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. “It’s sad there’s no accountability for them.”
Regardless of whether Rendon intended to show up Foster, the veteran umpire should have shown more restraint here. The fans still aren’t paying to watch the umpires, after all.
It’s not as though Rendon has a history of showing up umpires either. In fact, he’s regarded as a quiet and respectful player who never hesitates to exchange pleasantries with an umpire or an opponent.
Rendon’s ejection immediately brought out Martinez, who quickly earned the first ejection of his managerial career. The rookie skipper made sure to get his money’s worth, throwing his cap and kicking dirt over home plate in a meltdown that would have made Lou Piniella proud.
Tensions between the players and umpires may have been at an all-time high last season. For a brief weekend in August, the umpires even wore white wristbands in protest of ‘escalating verbal attacks’ from players.
We’re pretty sure Rendon’s reaction won’t lead to a similar movement. If anything, now might be a good time for the umpires to get their own house in order.
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