Following the New York Yankees 5-1 loss to the Astros on Friday night, umpire Adrian Johnson, Chase Headley and Joe Girardi explained the ridiculous seventh inning ejection.
When New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley was ejected in the seventh inning during Friday night’s loss to the Houston Astros, the sequence of events left the 41,150+ at Yankee Stadium wondering: what the heck just happened?
Headley re-entered the box after manager Joe Girardi checked on the status of his hand — which was hit by a 91.4 mph cutter from Astros reliever Will Harris on a bunt attempt — it seemed, at first, as though home plate umpire Adrian Johnson took exception to how long it took Headley to get back in.
The 33-year-old then turned toward him, Johnson stepped forward and next thing we knew, there was a screaming match in the Bronx. Fingers were being pointed, helmets were slammed and Headley ended up getting tossed from Friday’s contest before Girardi could intervene.
Again, we didn’t know exactly what caused the switch-hitter and umpire to go at it, but following the final out, Headley, Johnson and Girardi all described their side of the story.
“The understanding that I have is that [Brian McCann] asked if it hit [Headley],” Girardi said during his postgame press conference. “He kind of snapped and told [McCann] that it hit him and Adrian thought he was talking to him and Adrian said something to Headley and it escalated.”
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“McCann asked me a question,” Headley said according to North Jersey.com. “He asked me if I was OK. I said, Yeah.’ He said, ‘Did it hit you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, it hit me in the hand.’ [Johnson] apparently didn’t like that.”
The Yankee third baseman didn’t think he should have been awarded first base from being hit on the hand, but once he got the opportunity to bark at Johnson for his previous calls, he apparently took the chance.
“He made some bad calls on me earlier in the game,” Headley said. “I told him. But in that at-bat, I didn’t say a word to him.”
Then, Johnson gave an explanation that made it seem like this whole circus could have been avoided with no ejections handed out.
“Okay, Headley gets back in the box and Brian McCann asked him if he was OK,” Johnson said via Astros’ reporter Jake Kaplan. “He says ‘yes’ and then McCann asked him if the ball hit him and he looks directly at me and he says, ‘Yeah, it [expletive] hit me. So I stepped towards him and say, ‘Why are you upset with me when you guys can replay that?’ He starts to argue, he starts to yell, I start to tell him that I’m not going to listen to it anymore. He kept yelling so I ejected him.”
To be honest, the video looked like Headley didn’t direct any words at Adrian Johnson. Quite frankly, Johnson should have been composed and instead of step in front of McCann or point in Headley’s face during the argument, should have left Headley, who was clearly voicing frustrations from a 90+ mph pitch that hit him in the finger, alone and continued to call the game.
The game is never about the umpire — despite their ever-lasting need to showcase their presence to the crowd. This game was about the two best teams in the American League going at it, not about the umpire’s feelings being hurt over comments that apparently weren’t directed at him.
It had nothing to do with the outcome of the contest, but it certainly made for some interesting talking points as the Yankees dropped their third consecutive ballgame.