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Aaron Boone doesn’t want problems with umpires amid Yankees ejections

2019-08-18

The roof in the Yankees dugout and dented and scraped. Brett Gardner’s habit of banging his bat against the metal covering is apparently taking a toll on more than MLB umpires’ nerves. Gardner was ejected Saturday for it, the second time in eight days it has been cited by umpires as a reason for him being tossed.

Yet, the Yankees have not demanded, nor has MLB issued any directive on whether it is against the rules or not.

“I don’t think we’ve gotten a real clarification of that. It’s something that I’ve talked to Gardy about, will continue to talk to him about. We’ll try and not escalate situations, especially when there’s some contention, different than when we’re rallying or getting guys excited,” Aaron Boone said Sunday. “When there’s an area of contention in the game we’ll try and not be a part of escalating it. But I have not talked to the league about, no you hard and fast cannot. Clearly there seems to be some sense of them looking for that and on the lookout for that.”

Hopefully, however, they have learned that it will cost Gardner and the Yankees if he continues to do it.

Sunday, veteran umpire Phil Cuzzi, who ejected Gardner and CC Sabathia, was behind the plate for the veteran left-hander’s first start after coming back from the injured list. Boone said he was not worried about any prejudice.

“To me, the slate is wiped clean. We all have a job to do. I always try to be mindful of what I’m saying or responsible in the way that I conduct myself,” Boone said. “Sometimes you do a better job than others. But I think the umpires do a really good job of being professional as well even when there obviously has been some angst or stuff that has boiled over. They’ve got a job to do, too, and they are getting evaluated and judged each and every day. And knowing Phil Cuzzi, he’s a pro and he’s going to want to get back there and call a great game. That’s my expectation.”

But while the Yankees continue to accuse umpires of targeting them, or at least Gardner, there is a growing opinion among umpires that Boone and the Yankees are targeting young umpires to try and intimidate them. The last three incidents the Yankees had involved younger umpires called-up from Triple-A to fill in for vacationing or injured veteran umpires.

Brett Gardner (11) de los Yanquis de Nueva York discute con el umpire de tercera base Todd Tichenor tras ser expulsado en el juego ante los Indios de Cleveland, el sábado 17 de agosto de 2019. (AP Foto/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer/AP)

“Not necessarily,” Boone said when asked if he had an issue with the young umpires. “I don’t think Ben (May) handled necessarily anything wrong yesterday. I was never that irate. I was more trying to take the attention off some of our players. I only felt like it was an inning and a half in there where I just felt there were some big pitches that didn’t go our way. I was just voicing that and trying to put the attention on myself a little bit. He was within his rights to probably run me. Unfortunately it got escalated in that and after I left.

“I don't think he had a short fuse or anything like that,” Boone said of May. “I thought he tried to defuse the situation as best he could and unfortunately it got a little away.”

After May ejected Boone, Gardner began banging his bat and Cuzzi, who was at first base, tossed him. Sabathia, who was still on the injured list, came out of the dugout to argue and was ejected.

They are both likely to be fined by the league, a source said Sunday.

But Boone realizes the Yankees can’t win a constant argument with the umpires.

“I don’t want issues with umpires. Sometimes there is going to be the inevitable disagreements and there is going to be some angst here and there, but I think hopefully everyone can do a better job, us included, of doing our best to defuse certain situations and keep from things getting escalated like they did yesterday,” Boone said.