Mets coach tossed after close call
Foul call of apparent Delgado homer spurs Manuel's ejection
NEW YORK -- Hours after the fact, it didn't matter much. The Mets would have won with or without Carlos Delgado's would-be home run. It was unnecessary offense.
Still, some Mets took offense. Replay cameras clearly showed that Delgado's ball, hit in the fourth inning on Sunday off Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang, hit off the black base of the left-field foul pole -- good for a home run. Third-base umpire Mike Reilly called it such, waving his finger in a circle to usher Delgado home. But moments later, his three colleagues gathered on the infield dirt, broke their huddle and reversed the call.
"I messed it up. I'm the one who thought it was a foul ball. I saw it on the replay [later]," home plate umpire Bob Davidson said. "You've just got to move on. No one feels worse about it than I do."
Reilly, despite standing closest to the play, was outnumbered.
"My three partners were adamant that the ball was foul," Reilly said. "Very, very tough call. You got all the fans down there, standing around the pole, hands up. Actually, sometimes you can almost get blocked out. We want to make sure we try to get it right."
The umpiring crew ruled the ball foul, Mets manager Willie Randolph jumped out of the dugout to argue and play stalled for a moment. Having stated his case -- he didn't have much of one, considering he couldn't see the foul pole from his vantage point in the dugout -- Randolph returned to his seat on the bench. But only moments later, Davidson whirled on Mets bench coach Jerry Manuel and threw him out of the game.
"The ump told me to shut up, and he was looking to bait someone," Randolph said. "I wasn't going to argue with him, but Jerry took the bait. Thanks, Jerry."
Manuel's contention came from his perspective. Having seen the replay, Manuel was one of the few people on the field or in the dugout who knew with conviction that the ball was fair. Delgado didn't -- "I was kind of running to first base," he said -- Randolph didn't and if any of the Yankees did, they weren't about to admit it.
But Manuel knew what had happened, and he knew what his team deserved.
"I felt at that point that we were still kind of frustrated with the call," Manuel said. "[Davidson] appeared to be very frustrated as well. He came over and said something, and I said something back. There were no magic words from me, just a couple pointing of the fingers, and that was it."
The incident underscored one of the main reasons why Randolph, who remained in the game, has been incurring criticism over the past six months. Calm and quiet by nature, Randolph did not argue as boldly or as vocally as Manuel did. He didn't want to.
"I don't think that's necessary," Manuel said. "He's his own man. He does whatever he wants to do. That's up to him. Sometimes, I lose my cool with situations like that."
Randolph, generally, does not. He didn't on Sunday night, and he considers that a virtue, not a vice -- despite the calls of those fans who would rather he be more vocal, more outgoing.
"I don't believe in trying to appease the fans over something silly like that," Randolph said. "If you've got a reason to protect your players and go out and do that, you do it. What was I going to do, get thrown out of the game? I'm the leader of this club, and I don't believe in moaning about calls. It was obvious that they blew the call, so what are you going to do? You keep your composure and you play the game."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.