Nationals manager Davey Martinez got so mad over a losing no-call he printed a visual aid

Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez, right, argues with home plate umpire Jeremy Riggs after the last play in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 in Houston .  The Astros won 5-4.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Dave Martinez disagreed with how the Nationals-Astros end was handled. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

One of the most beautiful facets of baseball is the vast spectrum of managerial anger.

There is a mad “laconic question of a height selection”. There’s “yelling at a guy for not missing a ground ball” I’m crazy. There’s “the red face screaming at a belligerent umpire” mad.

Then there’s ‘you’re so frustrated losing a game to a bad no-call that you print out a visual aid and show it to the media’ in anger, as the Nationals manager showed on Wednesday Dave Martinez.

The play in question occurred in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Houston Astros. The Nationals had rallied after three runs in the top of the inning, but were in danger of a loss when the Astros loaded the bases against reliever Hunter Harvey.

With one out, Harvey appeared to get the play he needed when Astros center fielder Jake Meyers grounded a fly ball to shortstop CJ Abrams, who sent off Kyle Tucker at home. Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz went for the double play with a throw to first base, only for the ball to bounce off Meyers’ helmet and give the Astros the winning run.

Martinez was not happy. He believed Meyers was running outside the base path when the pitch hit him, which should have meant he was out. Plate umpire Jeremy Riggs disagreed, and because it’s not a contestable play, the Astros won and the play was charged with a pitching error on Ruiz.

That wasn’t the end, as Martinez apparently spent the precious time between the end of the match and his post-match press conference sitting by a printer preparing a photo for reporters. The photo very clearly showed Meyers running on the indoor grass as Ruiz threw first:

Martinez’s reaction to the piece:

“There he is, right there. Take a good look at him. Is he on the line? I don’t think so. I’m over this game. They have to set the rule. That’s what the refs see, that he Runs down the line? Tired of that. Tired of that. Fix it. We lost the game and he had nothing to say about it because he can’t make the right call. Brutal. Brutal.

You may remember why Martinez said he was tired of this piece.

Four years ago, in Game 6 of the World Series, the same two teams were playing when Nationals shortstop Trea Turner hit soft ground while leading 3-2 in the seventh inning. First-time pitcher Brad Peacock’s pitch went past Turner, who clipped first baseman Yuli Gurriel’s glove as it ran through the base.

The game ended with runners in second and third place, but referee Sam Holbrook ruled out Turner for interference. The replay showed Turner running on the indoor grass for a few steps before running directly over the base.

The Nationals ultimately won the game 7-2 after rallying later in that inning, but it was still a hugely important call.

So the Nationals have now been on both sides of a potential interference call at Minute Maid Park, with umpires ruling in favor of the Astros in both cases. Turner ran too much on grass for the umpires’ liking, while Meyers did run completely on grass. Luckily, this one at least wasn’t likely to cost them the World Series.

The loss extends the Nationals’ tough times past 2019, as the team’s record now stands at 26-40, good for last place in the NL East. The Astros improved to 39-29, just behind the Seattle Mariners in the AL West.

Leave a Comment