Showalter and Markakis question the umpiring; Umpires refuse comment
After Friday’s game, a 2-0 loss to the Texas Rangers in which both Buck Showalter and Nick Markakis both were ejected by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, both the Orioles manager and right fielder had pointed comments about the frustrating night.
Nelson and umpiring crew chief Jeff Kellogg refused to comment when asked after the game.
Here’s what Showalter had to say about his and the club’s frustration: “It was just an accumulation of a lot of things. It’s unfortunate. Obviously, (Nelson) was having a tough night and you’re just looking for a sense of fairness and emotions take over. That’s one thing that can’t happen. You can’t get emotionally involved as an umpire. Ninety nine times out of 100, I come in here and tell you we had a chance to make it not matter. It was really tough tonight.”
Showalter stressed that he felt Nelson let his emotions get the better of him, and that’s what really angered the Orioles manager, whose ninth-inning ejection was his first as an Oriole. It was the club’s seventh this season.
“It got kind of emotional there for him and just not a good situation there at all,” he said. “We’re trying, we’re grinding, just like they are. We’re trying to keep the field level.”
Showalter said he wasn’t surprised that the sixth-inning ejection of Markakis was the first of the mild-mannered right fielder’s career. That spans 747 games.
“You guys know him better than I do as far as confrontations and anything like that,” Showalter said of Markakis. “Certainly, umpires, I’m not sure if they’re aware of anything like that. You see him complaining, you might want to consider the source.”
Showalter said Markakis’ quiet nature may have hurt him in the situation – and in making the point, Showalter also took a parting dig at his old team, the Yankees, too.
“Unfortunately, sometimes the people who seem to be a little more squawky get some of the benefits,” Showalter said. “That’s unfortunate in our game but we see it a lot when we head up toward the Bronx.”
In parting, Showalter said he doesn’t believe he bumped Kellogg when he tried to get around the crew chief to continue yelling at Nelson. If he did, it would be an instant suspension.
“It’s not something I’ll go back and watch the tape of. I don’t think so. I don’t know.”
Markakis said he has no previous history with Nelson, but felt like after he argued the first strike call in the third at-bat, he was doomed to be called out. Markakis was called out on strikes all three at-bats, but he didn’t have as much of a beef with the first two plate appearances. It was the third, when he though all four pitches thrown to him were balls.
“I got down in the hole. The second pitch, I said something to him and he didn’t agree with me and I didn’t agree with him,” Markakis said. “I think it kind of led up to that third pitch. You just got to bite your tongue and move on.”
What did Markakis say that set off Nelson?
“I didn’t use any words against him, I didn’t use any profanity. He may not have liked the tone in my voice, but I didn’t like the strike zone in the last at-bat.”