By now you have probably seen one of the funniest moments in baseball history. The Texas Rangers third baseman. Adrian Beltre, was tossed out of a game in the 8th inning of a 22-10 Miami Marlins victory. Beltre was on deck, but not in the on deck circle when second base umpire Gerry Davis noticed him. He called time and told Beltre to get into the on deck circle. Beltre responded by going over, picking up the plastic circle and dragging it over to where he had been standing.
Not amused, Davis tossed him. Rangers manager Jeff Banister also was thrown out after coming out to protest. All in all it was hilarious.
Upon further review some comments need to be made. When I saw the video, I could not believe where Beltre was standing. You could see him from the centerfield camera and he was some fifteen feet from the on deck circle and nearly directly behind home plate. I can understand why the umpire thought he should move. Beltre suggested after the game that he had been standing in that spot for the last twenty years and had never been asked to move. He also smilingly said he was just following orders because he was told to get in the on deck circle. Again, funny.
Here are some thoughts on the subject. 1) Why did the umpire wait until the 8th inning to enforce the rule that says the on deck hitter must be in the on deck circle? Was it because that’s the first he noticed where Beltre was standing? If Beltre was being honest about it being a 20-year habit, then it’s hard to believe that no umpire had seen fit to enforce the rule before.
2) Bannister thought the whole thing was shameful because Beltre is approaching the 3,000 career hit milestone. Indians announcer Rick Manning suggested the same thing the next night when discussing the ejection. Now that I believe is wrong. It should not matter who the player is. If you show up the umpire, you should get run – rookie or veteran. Davis was not completely out of line. Beltre has to share the blame.
3) No hitter should be allowed to stand where Beltre was if for no other reason than his own safety. He also gets a much better look at what the pitcher is throwing and thus has a bit of an advantage before he goes to the plate. For his part Beltre suggested he has gotten hit while IN the on deck circle. I think though, that there is a scientific principle that suggests the closer you are to the plate the more dangerous it is.
The view from my seat suggests that this whole incident would not have happened in my day. We did not have movable on deck circles!