Umpires tight-lipped over ejections


Umpires tight-lipped over ejections

By Maureen Mullen and Danny Picard

BOSTON -- After Saturdays 14-inning Red Sox win over the As at Fenway Park, umpiring crew chief Brian Gorman declined to discuss home-plate umpire Tony Randazzos ninth-inning ejections of Jason Varitek and Jonathan Papelbon.

We cant comment right now because the reports not written, Gorman said, when asked if he could provide some clarification on the ejections. So, we still got to write the report and any comment should be made after the report is filed with the league office in New York. Any ejection, we have to file a report to the league within the next two hours after the game.

Asked if there was any way an explanation could be given as to what Varitek and Papelbon were ejected for, Gorman replied:

Not until the report is written.

Varitek was ejected first, immediately after Oaklands fifthrun of the game crossed the plate. He admitted after the game that he wasarguing balls and strikes from a previous at-bat.

Actually you can't really do that and I lost my coolthere, said Varitek. Weve still got to maintain our poise out there and Ilost mine today.

It's hard to go into detail, but I just felt like therewere a few pitches with Papelbon that changed the course of that entireinning, added Varitek. I could've handled things a little different.

Conor Jackson tied the game in the next at-bat, and afterthat, Papelbon was ejected after comments he made about a called strike againstRyan Sweeney.

Papelbon liked the call, obviously, but said afterwards he was confused with the strike zone, and that his comments were directedtowards new catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, not Randazzo.

Randazzo walked out from behind home plate, and saidsomething to Papelbon, who then came off the mound, yelling at Randazzo whilewalking towards him. That forced Randazzo to eject Papelbon.

From my perspective, I had my back turned and then I turnedaround and Randazzos got his hands up, said Papelbon. I wasnt eventalking to him. I was talking to Salty. I said Salty, hey, come out here. Ineed to know where thats at. Because I felt like some of the pitches that Iwas not getting were strikes, and then I threw one that I felt like was a ball,and then he called it a strike.

Pap said he was talking to Salty, said manager Terry Francona. Thatswhat set him off. I thought Tony got a little aggressive there, and Pap, oncehe charges him . . . I cant get out there quick enough. I wish I could.

Asked if there would be an opportunity for some clarification Sunday, Gorman said Major League Baseballs executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre, who oversees disciplinary matters, wants the umpires to withhold comment.

We believe that Joe Torre wants us to reserve all comments, and questions should be directed to the league, Gorman said.

It was the first ejection of Papelbons career. For Varitek, it was his fifth ejection, and his first since May 28, 2009, in Minnesota.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.