Baseball is full of pointless indignities, but the fact a player can be ejected from a game he's already, by rule, barred from re-entering is one of the most impotent. With that impotence in mind, here's professional MLB umpire Laz Diaz goading Yankees pitcher Shawn Kelley into getting ejected.
TV Ted Valentine and Joey Crawford, eat your hearts out. You've got nothing on Laz Diaz, the poster child for umpires everywhere who insist they're part of the show's featured cast. Make no mistake: Kelley pitched horribly, and had no business mouthing off himself. Just take a look at the PITCHf/x data for his final batter faced:
It's that second pitch Kelley was whining about. It wasn't a strike, and Diaz called it correctly. But his show of telling Kelley to "keep walkin'" was a pathetic mess—and Yankees fans are rightfully calling him out for a history of taunting and goading players in pinstripes.
Two years ago, it was Diaz who refused to let Yanks catcher Russell Martin throw the ball to the pitcher.
He told me I had to earn the privilege. Even at the end of the game after I get hit in the neck. I'm like, can I throw the ball back now? He's still like no. I'm like, you're such a (expletive). Like for real. Unbelievable. I even told him like when there's guys on base, I like to keep my arm loose. No. I'm not letting you throw a ball back. That's pretty strange to me.
Also strange? Putting on a display of belittling (and, ultimately, pointlessly-ejecting) a struggling pitcher on the way out of the game—especially after a fierce argument with Joe Girardi earlier in the inning left the New York skipper in the showers. Baseball's umpires have long been sport's worst officials (yes, even worse than FIFA referees, who are hamstrung by soccer's byzantine laws as much as they are bribe money) and the leagues' inability or refusal to regulate them almost has us longing for the NFL's weak referee union. But not quite.