Detroit — If you jetted off to the restroom or ran to the kitchen to stock up on snacks after the Detroit Tigers took a 1-0 first-inning lead over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, you may have missed some excitement.
Designated hitter Miguel Cabrera was ejected by home-plate umpire Will Little between the first and second innings for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. It was the 11th ejection of Cabrera’s career and second of the season, the first coming in the second game of a doubleheader at Minnesota on May 11.
Cabrera said the frustration resulted from having “three days of bad pitches.” Sunday’s first-inning plate appearance was the third time he’d been struck out looking in as many games.
“The strike zone is the strike zone,” said the two-time MVP. “(It shouldn’t) be different for anybody. I know the strike zone.”
The two-time MVP added that he and Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts had been playing by a different set of rules at the plate.
“The first day, I said to the umpire, ‘Why are you calling a strike (for) me on the same pitch you call Mookie Betts a ball?’” Cabrera recalled.
“And he told me, ‘It’s because you told on him.’”
Tigers manager Rod Gardenhire, meanwhile, saw the storm brewing from a mile away. While there was an attempt to plead with Little and veteran umpire Joe West, it wasn’t enough to save Cabrera from his own antics.
“He was loud in the dugout and waving his arms,” Gardenhire said.
“I said, ‘He’s done this every day you guys have been here. He’s done it every day for the last two months. He’s talking to everybody on the field.’
“But, it didn’t matter. They threw him out of the ballgame.”
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.