“Those pesky grounds crews are ruining hitters’ concentration and what not! AHHH! They make me sick!”
That’s probably what umpire Tim Timmons was thinking last night when he ejected the entire Orioles’ grounds crew during the ninth inning of the Yankees-Orioles game last night. I’m joking of course.
Over the years, Major League Baseball has seen dozens of wacky umpire ejections from fans to mascots to stadium organists to anything involving Bobby Cox, but never before had we seen an entire grounds crew told to hit the showers.
However, per Timmons, the grounds crew was not “ejected.” Rather, Timmons just did not want the entire grounds crew behind the tarp “especially with the infield in.” Now, what does the infield being in have to do with the grounds crew? I have no idea. The crew was just trying to do its job. A storm was rolling in, and they were ready to pounce on the opportunity to cover Camden Yards and protect that beautiful infield dirt. In fact, moments after Timmons told the grounds crew to vamoose, rain started downpouring hard, so I don’t blame the grounds crew at all for being out there when they were. After being told to leave, the grounds crew made like a well-oiled machine and promptly vacated the field in almost a single-file line. They looked like a squad of well-trained personnel. I just want to give props to the person in charge of that team.
At the same time, I understand why Timmons wouldn’t want the crew readying the tarp. However, I’m assuming it’s not for the reason he stated. The Orioles were up 3-2 in the top of the ninth while the Yankees had runners on second and third with one out. Brett Gardner hit a single, driving in two, probably much to the dismay of Timmons, who like several other people, just wanted to go home. That meant the bottom of the ninth had to be played, and while the rain was coming down hard, it wasn’t going to stop that game from finishing. I mean, come on, it’s the ninth inning of the game. Nobody knows how long the rain is going to last. If you cover the field, that means everyone would potentially have to stay an extra hour or so, in order to play out the last half-inning. Nobody wants that. Obviously, that’s just an assumption. Umpires are normal people, too, who just want to go home after a long day’s work, just like the rest of us.
With about two weeks left in the season, it was probably the right move for Timmons to demand the game keep going. Sure, the Yankees and Orioles play again today, so the two teams could’ve just finished the final inning prior to the final game of their three-game set, but that’s a huge hassle that didn’t have to happen. There was no incident in the game last night, and if you think the rain affected the Orioles’ chances at mounting a comeback as the added weight of a water-logged ball could potentially stop a baseball from leaving the yard, I think the bigger issue lies with the pitcher, who would have had to throw a water-logged ball. That can actually be really dangerous. Trying to throw a heavier ball with the same throwing mechanics can really mess up a pitchers’ elbow. Not to mention that it would be much harder to throw a strike. Basically, it was the Yankees carrying the burden of finishing that game in the rain, and they got the win, so good for them.
The first pitch for today’s game between the two teams is set for 5:05 pm ET. According to The Weather Channel, there is a 58 percent chance of precipitation with scattered thunderstorms starting at 5 pm. Therefore, tonight we could see the grounds crew get their moment to shine. Hopefully, Timmons doesn’t stop it from happening for the second night in a row.