Noah Syndergaard was ejected from a Dodgers-Mets game way back in late May 2016 after throwing behind Chase Utley in the top of the third inning. It was a 1-0 pitch, and it was 99 miles per hour, and it sailed behind Utley by a good eight inches:
The context is important. Utley’s notorious takeout slide in Game 2 of the 2015 National League Division Series nuked the right fibula of Mets infielder Ruben Tejada. Utley was suspended for the next two games of the series, and ultimately MLB instituted what has come to be called the Chase Utley Rule, essentially banning (but not eliminating) takeout slides. Syndergaard’s pitch in 2016 was assumed to be an effort at retaliation, even all that time later. Possibly it was just a wild fastball? Either way, as you can imagine, Terry Collins was quite pissed.
Maybe you have seen this next video before. I have not, and I find it absolutely fascinating. It shows the same sequence, but this time with clear audio of crew chief Tom Hallion interacting first with Syndergaard, and then a fuming Terry Collins:
I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, Hallion is refreshingly frank and decisive with Syndergaard, and I very much enjoy him racing over to intercept Collins and absorb his wrath, presumably so that Collins will not behead the home plate umpire or kick dirt on the plate or whatever. He’s not super articulate, but he stands up for himself and the decision of his crew mate, and his actions seem to successfully defuse the situation before it becomes a ridiculous manager meltdown. Nicely done!
On the other hand, probably there would be fewer of these big dumb temper tantrums if umpires—all umpires, as a hard and fast rule—refused to engage with enraged managers when they leave the dugout. By engaging, don’t you encourage managers to approach in the first place? Make the call, get back to business. A manager leaves the dugout, he’s ejected, and that’s that. Probably over a relatively short period of time managers would realize it’s not worth it. And besides, the extent of Hallion’s defense is to shout the “asses in the jackpot” line over and over again. Not super persuasive!
So what do we think, other than that this is a very cool look at what’s being said in those blustery manager-umpire showdowns? I’ll admit, I always imagined the umpires saying shit like DON’T YOU FUCKEN RAISE YOUR FUCKEN VOICE AT ME I’M FUCKEN IN CHARGE HERE TERRY! This is very much not that. What say you?