Mike Napoli

Mike Napoli ejected for not doing bat boy's job

Rob Bradford
June 28, 2015 - 2:42 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Mike Napoli's overall relationship with the umpires this year has not been good. Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field, it hit it's boiling point. Napoli was tossed from what would ultimately turn into a 5-3 Red Sox win over the Rays in the second inning for what appeared to be for arguing a called third strike on Chris Archer's 3-2 slider. But, according to the first baseman, the actual ejection by home plate umpire Tripp Gibson was only in part due to the initial disagreement. "I mean, first of all, it was a ball," Napoli said. "And I thought I walked, so that's why I dropped my bat. I had a conversation with him and told him I thought it was a ball and he said it was a good pitch. Started taking off my batting gloves, starting walking back to the dugout, and he told me I forgot my bat. I kind of stopped a little bit, and he told me to come pick up my bat. I pointed to the bat boy who picks up our bats, and he tossed me. So when he tossed me, I told him how I felt." He then added, "I mean, I was walking away, I was going back to the dugout, and he was telling me to come back and pick up my bat when it was over. It's kind of embarrassing. I don't know how you can throw someone out for that. I'm not trying to get thrown out in the second inning. We've got a short bench. Enough's enough. I've been getting pitches that have been called off the plate. It's frustrating. I'm the type of hitter that sees a lot of pitches, and that's the way I hit. I'm not going to change the style of how I came up and the player I became because they keep calling pitches off the plate. It's frustrating, and I'm going to keep battling, but something's got to give." The ejection clearly was not what Napoli, or the Red Sox, were banking on with just two position players (catcher Sandy Leon and infielder Deven Marrero) on the bench. Once he was tossed, Napoli would be replaced at first base by Brock Holt, whose second base position would be occupied by Marrero. "I wasn't saying anything," he noted. "I'm not just going to sit there and keep taking it. I'm going to let them know how I feel, but I don't do it in a way where I'm going to get tossed. I didn't do anything wrong to get tossed there. Maybe it's a rookie mistake, young-guy mistake, but for me to get thrown out in that situation for him telling me to pick up my bat, it's embarrassing." The dispute was just the latest issue Napoli has had with umpires and their strike zones. The righty hitter has been extremely vocal in his displeasure with how he views a widening zone. "I'm waiting for the borderline call to be called a ball one time," he said. "But that's where my frustration's coming from. I try to get into hitters' counts, and people want to say it's just one pitch. But it swings an at-bat, and people don't understand that. With the stuff guys have today - Archer's throwing 98 with a 90 mph slider - I mean, I can't do nothing with the slider off the plate. He's too good to be able to get those pitches. I don't know. I mean, I'd like to get those pitches. It seems like I haven't really all year."