Banter Gets Ballplayer Bounced
Rolen Run After Ragging on Reds
(St. Louis, MO) -- Third-baseman Scott Rolen of the St. Louis Cardinals was ejected in the third inning of yesterday's Major League baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds for allegedly refusing to stop loud comments he was making on the field and from the Cards dugout between innings.
"We told Rolen he was causing a distraction and that he needed to basically shut up," said Third Base Umpire Harvey Wendelstadt. "Before every pitch in the top of the second inning he was screaming in this loud, whiney voice, 'Hey batter, batter, hey batter, swing, batter--sweeeeeeng!" It was distracting to the hitter, and I'm not sure even his own pitcher liked it. So we told him to knock it off."
Rolen did discontinue that call, but from his own dugout in the bottom of the inning, he again began to loudly chant at the opposing pitcher. "It was something about wanting a pitcher, not a belly itcher, or something stupid like that," said Wendelstadt. " It made no sense, it was loud, obnoxious and irritating. Rolen was getting on everyone's nerves. So again we told him to shut up."
When Rolen returned to his position at the top of the third and immediately began yelling at the opposing batter, "you're gonna miss it! you're gonna miss it!," the umpire crew had had enough and promptly ejected the All-Star third sacker.
From his New York office, Commissioner Bud Selig supported the umpires' decision.
"The eradication of performance-distracting commentary from all of professional baseball is my top priority," Selig said. "Moreover, I can assure you that this is a priority that is shared by the owners of all 30 Major League Clubs. In fact, just last week at a Major League meeting in New York, all 30 owners endorsed a resolution supporting my on-going efforts to rid our game of taunting, mocking, and other performance-distracting comments.
"We have an obligation to our fans, especially youngsters," Selig continued. "Our players need to set a positive example in their behavior, both on and off the field. Major League baseball players are known as exemplary role models off the field; now, it's time to behave that way between the lines and in the dugout as well." Selig then excused himself to attend a planning session on Major League Baseball's upcoming commeration of Barry Bonds' home run record.
"I'm not sure what they were all upset about," said Rolen in the clubhouse after the game. "I was just playing the game the way I was taught to play." Cardinals management refused to confirm the rumor that they had called Rolen's mother to come pick him up after she gets off work.