DETROIT — It did not take long for Mike Everitt to become persona non grata at Comerica Park on Saturday night.
The plate umpire issued four ejections to the Tigers during the team’s 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, leaving players and their manager perplexed and a belligerent Detroit crowd in an uproar.
After the loss, which snapped a five-game winning streak for Detroit, Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez was still trying to make sense of his first career ejection — one that came, he felt, after a fairly innocuous comment in the sixth inning.
“I don’t know, man, he had a short leash today, I guess. I just told him he’s having a bad day. Honestly, that’s what I said. ‘You’re having a bad day today, huh Mike?'” Martinez recalled.
Martinez said that Everitt asked him to repeat what he said; after he complied with the request, he was tossed. The mild-mannered 28-year-old outfielder almost didn’t believe it.
“I was shocked,” Martinez said. “I really was. I’ve never been ejected in a game. I’ve always treated the umpires with respect. I’ve never disrespected one. By me saying that you’re bad today, I don’t feel like that’s really an insult. I told him afterward, I was like, ‘Everyone has bad days, Mike. I have bad days. Everyone has bad days. The least you could do is just man up to it.'”
Martinez was the last of four ejections on the night — which began with designated hitter Victor Martinez being tossed in the bottom of the third inning for arguing balls and strikes.
Both Cameron Maybin and Miguel Cabrera were punched out in the bottom of the third by Angels left-hander Brett Oberholtzer — Maybin went down swinging and Cabrera looking — before Victor Martinez expressed his displeasure on a strike call from Everitt.
Martinez exchanged words with Everitt, placing his hands behind his back, presumably to take a nonaggressive stance while arguing his case, but the theatrics only intensified from there.
Martinez grew enraged during the heated exchange with Everitt, prompting Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and second-base umpire Tim Timmons to intervene. Ausmus had to practically drag Martinez back to the dugout after the ejection, but the 37-year-old veteran continued to yell in Everitt’s direction even after leaving the field.
According to Martinez and Ausmus, frustration had been mounting from a number of called strikes earlier in the game.
“If he’s going to call those pitches on our hitters, we need those pitches called on their hitters. That’s really the gripe. Simple as that,” Ausmus explained.
Martinez also threw his helmet from the dugout, and Everitt made a note of that before resuming game action.
Ausmus would not speculate on whether Victor Martinez, who was replaced by Tyler Collins as designated hitter, could be facing any supplementary discipline for the action.
Everitt later tossed Detroit hitting coach Wally Joyner for arguing the strike zone in the fifth and then ejected Ausmus for arguing on Joyner’s behalf. It was the 10th career ejection for Ausmus as a manager and the second for Joyner as a coach.
Bench coach Gene Lamont took over as Tigers manager.
“I think there was a number of players in the lineup that were frustrated with some of the pitches that were being called. It’s part of the game. Umpires have off nights too. But we felt that it affected our offense tonight,” Ausmus said.
However, the Tigers manager said he was not worried about Everitt working Sunday’s series finale against the Angels or any subsequent games this season.
“No, no. Mike Everitt’s a professional. I’ve known him for years. I thought he had an off night tonight, but I am in no way concerned about him going forward.”
According to ESPN Stats Information research, Everitt has ejected six people in 2016, tying him with Dale Scott for most in the majors this season.
After the game, Everitt declined to speak with a pool radio reporter but did provide one comment to a pool print reporter.
“All of the players, as well as the manager and coach, were warned, and sometimes more than once or twice,” he said. “I will be filing my report with the commissioner’s office in New York.”