The quickest ejection you're ever likely to see - Nationals manager Jim Riggleman getting tossed one batter into yesterday's game with the Orioles - came when one of the more rarely enforced rules in the game got Roger Bernadina called out.
Bernadina led off the game with a bunt single, beating the play out when pitcher Chris Tillman couldn't get the ball to first in time. But home plate umpire Todd Tichenor called Bernadina out, saying the center fielder had stepped on home plate as he bunted the ball.
Rule 6.06 says "a batter is out for illegal action when - a) he hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter's box." And Riggleman admitted after the game that Tichenor's call was correct. He went out to argue, though, because he couldn't believe the rule was enforced.
"I didn't have an argument," Riggleman said. "I was just irritated the call was made. The call was right, but it's a call you never see get made. He got the call right. I don't know what else I can say."
The call came back to bite the Nationals on the next play, when Ian Desmond doubled over center fielder Adam Jones' head. It's likely Bernadina would have scored on the play, and the Nationals wound up losing 2-1.
The Nationals have been irritated for a while, feeling like they don't get their fair share of calls, but after Phil Cuzzi's call at the end of the Mets game on Thursday, the Nationals' frustration became rather public. And in the case of Bernadina's bunt, there are plenty of instances where the rule isn't enforced - it was mentioned to bench coach John McLaren that Nyjer Morgan used to do it all the time.
But when Riggleman got ejected yesterday, it was without much support from the letter of the rulebook. His frustration, once again, came out in public.
"I was just irritated," Riggleman said. "If managers are getting thrown out of ballgames, if that's what it takes to fire up a ballclub, then you're in trouble."
I'm on my way to the airport, and I'll head to Milwaukee from there. Talk to you from God's country.