Pierzynski, Ventura ejected in third inning Saturday
Catcher, manager tossed for arguing about strike zone
CHICAGO -- Robin Ventura's ejection by home-plate umpire Lance Barrett in the third inning of Saturday's 5-4 White Sox victory over the Mariners stands as the third of his managerial career.
It also might have been his angriest moment at the helm of the White Sox.
"I don't think I was that mad," said a smiling Ventura, who spoke to the media in street clothes in the White Sox clubhouse. "It's just part of baseball. It's what you do."
What Ventura did was stand up for catcher A.J. Pierzynski, starting pitcher Jose Quintana and his whole team concerning a strike zone that they weren't happy with early in the game. It was Pierzynski who was ejected first by Barrett, after a fastball thrown by Quintana to Justin Smoak with one out in the frame was called a ball.
Pierzynski didn't move from his crouch or freeze in the position where he caught the close pitch, meaning he didn't go out of his way to show up Barrett. But Barrett didn't take long to step away and give Pierzynski the sixth ejection of his career, with his last one coming on April 20, 2011, against Tampa Bay.
After the South Siders' fifth straight victory, Pierzynski wasn't inclined to go into specifics concerning the argument.
"You know, when you have an argument over what kind of pizza is better, deep dish or thin crust, it usually leads to an ejection," Pierzynski said. "He said thin crust and I said deep dish, so he didn't like the answer he got I guess."
When pressed about catchers usually getting leeway in arguments, even on balls and strikes, Pierzynski deferred to Barrett for the answer.
"It's over with. It was between him and I," Pierzynski said. "When other people get involved, that's when it gets fun for TV. It was just one of those things that happen, and fortunately for us, we won the game. That's the most important thing right now. But I've never seen Robin get that mad."
Crew chief Jim Joyce stepped in between Ventura and Barrett after Ventura was ejected, and Ventura appeared to put his hands on Joyce's chest as he tried to get back to Barrett to continue the argument. That contact came after Joyce had physically moved Ventura away.
Ventura called his interaction with Joyce fine and part of baseball, while admitting that it was pretty much an automatic ejection once he came out of the dugout. His first ejection since July 18 against Toronto also provided a little spark to Ventura's American League Central-leading squad and left the White Sox searching for the last time the even-keel Ventura was this irate.
"It was nice to see though," said White Sox bench coach Mark Parent, who took over after Ventura's ejection. "I enjoy that stuff."
"That's what teammates are for," said Quintana, through translator and manager of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "A.J. and Robin coming out and sticking up for myself, for the team. I know things like that end up happening but I'm just glad they stood up."