ATLANTA — Davey Johnson was ejected for the first time this season Saturday afternoon. His arm-waving tirade at Marvin Hudson earned him the honors after Hudson called Braves outfielder Martin Prado safe at first base, ruling Adam LaRoche’s foot had come off the bag.
LaRoche’s foot did in fact not come off the bag and the throw from pitcher Edwin Jackson beat Prado easily. Johnson pleaded with Hudson, who was positioned to the left of the first base bag, to get help from the other umpires. Hudson refused. Johnson fumed. He was tossed.
The Nationals lost the game 5-4, losing their two-run lead one batter after the blown call when Jason Heyward hit a two-run homer and allowing the Braves to go ahead in the eighth when Ryan Mattheus walked the bases loaded and then hit Andrelton Simmons with a pitch to force in the winning run.
Here’s what Johnson had to say about the ejection:
On what he saw on the play: “Well you know it’s a critical point in the ballgame. It’s my pitcher, it’s probably the last inning and the meat of the lineup is coming up. If I can see it from 150 feet that the throw beats him and he’s on the bag, he was out of position and I wanted him to get help. Those are critical points in games. I’ve got old eyes and I can see that.
“He’s a good umpire. I felt like the object is to just get this right. We don’t need to give them a little added momentum here. Get some help. Obviously he was blocked off or something. That’s it, really. I probably overreacted but it was really a critical point in the ballgame. My pitcher pitched a heck of a ballgame, we had a lead, we don’t need to give them any gifts.”
On if Hudson gave him a reason why he wouldn’t ask for help: “He wouldn’t. He wasn’t going to get no help. I just said ‘We just need to get this right. This is not the time.’”
On if he was surprised at Hudson’s reluctance given the fact that the umpires had convened and reversed a call earlier in the game: “Yeah, and maybe that had a little more, I thought maybe they’d get together again and get it right. It wasn’t meant to be and I think it was a big run. That was a big run. But it’s like crying over spilled milk. It’s over.”
On if he felt Heyward’s home run played into the team being distracted or deflated after the blown call: “It’s all about momentum in ballgames. Here my pitcher is really throwing a great ballgame and the only thing he’s given up are extra-base hits but other than that he’s really pitched a great ballgame. We’ve got a lead and the middle of the lineup is coming up. We don’t need to give them a gift. That’s what was concerning me. He gives me that inning, our bullpen’s set up, we win the game.”
On if he’d prefer they had instant replay in that situation: “I don’t like the replay. I just wish they’d get help. We’ve got all this technical stuff, they don’t need to do that. Some of these ballparks you really need to it, but in certain plays if they get out of position — and obviously he was out of position, he was in a line — and that’s why I wanted him to get some help. When you get out of position, get help. It’s simple. Although they’ve been in position and I’ve been thrown out when they were right there and they missed it. But that’s part of the game.”
On if he expected to get ejected when he was arguing the way he was: “No, it’s just wanting them to get it right. I mean, I hadn’t been ejected all year long. That’s the first one. And I like Marvin. I think he’s a good umpire. But it was really a situation where we need to get it right. That’s what got me.
“And when he wouldn’t get help because he was out of position, that’s what really got me going. Then I knew I was probably going to get thrown. I knew I was over-arguing. But I knew, even with these old eyes, I knew I was right. I didn’t need a replay. And I’m thinking: Here’s a young man, right on top of it. Obviously he had to be out of position. But that’s part of baseball. That’s why you get thrown out. I didn’t think I was going to get thrown out this year. I was trying to be on my best behavior.”
– Here’s what Adam LaRoche had to say about the play:
On if he was sure he was on the base: “I was sure. For whatever reason, he couldn’t tell. He couldn’t see it. It cost us a big run.”
On if he was surprised Hudson didn’t check with any of the other umpires: “No, I’m not surprised anymore. I used to be. I don’t know how they determine whether they ask for help or not. Some guys don’t mind doing it. Most of them don’t.”
On if it was upsetting given how critical a spot it wound up being: “Yeah. If that happens and we get a double play or something, nobody talks about it, it’s no big deal. It’s just a shame that they ended up scoring on it. It didn’t help Edwin at all.”
On if that was the turning point: “No, we had our chances. We put some runs up early and then got shut down. We didn’t do anything after that. Two runs didn’t help, came at a crucial point, but we could’ve done a better job getting guys on base.”
– And here’s what Edwin Jackson had to say:
On what he saw on the play: “I thought he was out. At the end of the day, he called him safe. Once he makes the call, at that point, it really doesn’t matter. He’s still on first base. The game has to continue.”
On how tough that is to shake off: “I was just trying to come back and be aggressive. Just try to come at him, and he hit the ball out the park. A pitch down the middle.
“At the time, I was (affected by the call). By the time I get on the mound, I don’t feel like that distracted me where I walked someone or I was super-erratic all over the place. I missed one down. I missed one up. Then tried to come back at him. I was still ready to pitch.”
On if that’s a tough sequence to stomach when Heyward then homers: “Any time you get a lead like that and you’re the starting pitcher, and you come out the game and that lead isn’t there, that’s always tough. My job is to go out there and secure the lead, regardless of the calls being made. I can’t really control that. I have job to go and get outs.”