I passed Nick Markakis on my way back up to the press box. We both did the ol’ head nod and “Hey.”
Markakis was leaving the family room, not the umpires room.
Markakis believes that arguing the first strike call with plate umpire Jeff Nelson in the sixth inning led to the next two strike calls and his eventual ejection.
“I was frustrated,” he said. “That’s a one-run game there. I’m up there looking to get in scoring position or tie the game. I’m looking for a good pitch to hit and it didn’t go my way.
“The first two at-bats, (C.J. Wilson) made good pitches It just built up and built up and I feel in that last at-bat, I didn’t get one strike thrown to me and I was on my way back to the dugout.
“Nobody is perfect. People are going to make mistakes. 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. I think it kind of led up to that third pitch. You’ve just got to bite your tongue and move on.”
Here comes my favorite quote of the night, and it’s especially funny because it’s coming from the low-key Markakis.
Asked if he deserved to be ejected, he replied, “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.”
“I knew it was coming,” he added. “It was building up and building up and one thing led to another and I’m on my way to the dugout.”
Manager Buck Showalter was aware that Markakis hadn’t been ejected until tonight.
“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” Showalter said. “I’m certainly aware of it, and unfortunately, sometimes the people who seem to be a little more squawky get some of the benefits. That’s unfortunate in our game but we see it a lot when we head up toward the Bronx.
“You guys know him better than I do as far as confrontations and anything like that. Umpires, I’m not sure if they’re aware of anything like that. You see him complaining, you might want to consider the source.”