Given that it happened on April 24, we can't really declare something the best of the season, right? Call this more of a prediction than a declaration, in that case, because we doubt there will be a more fun ejection of a Major League Baseball player. Our champion here would be Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber. The offending party would be home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez.
Background: Both sides were unhappy with Hernandez due to his, um, we'll say inconsistent strike zone throughout the game that aired nationally as ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Schwarber himself was rung up on a pitch outside the zone in his previous at-bat, so there was plenty of baggage here.
Also realize this was the ninth inning of a 1-0 game in which the Phillies trailed and it was a 3-2 count (it would end 1-0 as well).
Take it away, Angel and Kyle.
Let's break it down.
- Schwarber correctly goes to take his base, but he's rung up by Hernandez.
- Schwarber immediately knows he's getting ejected and plans to get his proverbial money's worth. He slams down his bat and helmet, but seemed careful to make sure they didn't go in the direction of Hernandez at all. It was pretty damn calculated for being a heat-of-the-moment ejection. Hernandez held up his end of the bargain here by immediately tossing Schwarber.
- Schwarber then gives us the show we deserve, theatrically pointing out that Hernandez has missed pitches ... on THIS side of the plate ... and THIS side of the plate ... and ABOVE the zone ... and BOTH TEAMS AGREE. Seriously, that has the be the best part of the ejection. While Schwarber was indignant at the fate of his last two plate appearances, he still had the presence of mind to point out, "hey, this isn't a selfish thing. You have been awful for both teams!"
It's rare to see a player hit all these notes in such a short period of time. Bonus points for it not being contrived or extra over-the-top. Just a short-and-sweet, epic performance.
The only let down was Phillies manager Joe Girardi being so subdued,. I guess he thought Schwarber did enough to speak for everyone. No argument there. It was quite the effort.