Yanks' Boone ejected, says fan berated umpire

NEW YORK — The New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics opened their four-game series with a rare Monday matinee at Yankee Stadium, and manager Aaron Boone was in the dugout for all of one batter during a 2-0 loss.

The Yankees manager was ejected five pitches into the game by home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt in an unusual sequence caught on the television broadcast.

It began when Athletics leadoff hitter Esteury Ruiz was hit by a pitch on an 0-2 count; the pitch clearly plunked Ruiz on the foot, but the Yankees’ dugout thought Ruiz swung at it. As a result, Boone communicated his disapproval — until Wendelstedt replied.

“You’re not yelling at me,” Wendelstedt yelled at Boone, clear as day on the broadcast. “I did what I was supposed to do and checked. I’m looking for him to get hit by the pitch. You got anything else to say, you’re gone.”

One pitch later, Boone was ejected.

Wendelstedt gave Boone the hook after hearing someone’s objection from the direction of the Yankees’ dugout. The YES television broadcast had its camera on Boone, who was looking away and not saying anything.

Boone sprinted out to protest to Wendelstedt, insisting that a fan behind the dugout — not him or another Yankee — spoke up.

“You’re done!” Wendelstedt said. “I don’t care who said it. You’re gone!”

“What do you mean you don’t care?” Boone screamed as he rushed out onto the field. “I did not say a word. It was up above our dugout. Bulls—! Bulls—! I didn’t say anything. I did not say anything, Hunter. I did not say a f—ing thing.”

The broadcast then hushed the audio on the broadcast as Boone continued to argue, as his animated protest went for naught. Boone watched the remainder of the game on television while bench coach Brad Ausmus took over as acting manager in the dugout.

After the game, Boone, still stupefied, again emphasized that someone behind the dugout had said something that derided Wendelstedt.

“It’s embarrassing,” Boone said.

Wendelstedt hadn’t yet seen a replay of the episode when he spoke to a pool reporter after the game. He explained he thought the “cheap shot” came from a player at the far end of the Yankees’ dugout.

“So instead of me being aggressive and walking down to the far end and trying to figure out who might have said it, I don’t want to eject a ballplayer,” said Wendelstedt, a major-league umpire since 1998. “We need to keep them in the game. That’s what the fans pay to see. Aaron Boone runs the Yankees. He got ejected.”

Boone said he was more upset with first-base umpire John Tumpane’s ruling on appeal that Ruiz didn’t swing at the pitch. The manager said his only issue with Wendelstedt was that he believed Wendelstedt could’ve ruled that Ruiz swung. When Wendelstedt responded with his reasoning, which concluded with warning of an ejection, Boone said he backed off.

“I was standing down and I heard, ‘You’re gone, Aaron,'” Boone said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Boone said he didn’t know what the fan shouted at Wendelstedt. He said he only heard somebody yell from that direction. He said he plans on reaching out to Major League Baseball about the situation.

“This isn’t my first ejection,” Wendelstedt said to the pool reporter. “In the entire of my career, I have never ejected a player or a manager for something a fan has said. I understand that’s going to be part of a story or something like that because that’s what Aaron was portraying. I heard something come from the end of the dugout, had nothing to do with his area. But he’s the manager of the Yankees. So, he’s the one that had to go.”

It wasn’t the earliest ejection in MLB history.

Baltimore manager Earl Weaver was ejected by Ron Luciano while exchanging lineup cards before the second game of a doubleheader against Texas on Aug. 15, 1975, still upset over a call that led to his getting tossed in the fourth inning of the opener.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher John Lackey was ejected by plate umpire Bob Davidson on May 15, 2009, after his first pitch of the season sailed behind Ian Kinsler and the next hit the Rangers’ leadoff hitter in the ribs.

Toronto hitting coach Guillermo Martínez was tossed by first base umpire Lance Barrett after exchanging the lineup card before a game against the Chicago White Sox on June 22, 2022, a carryover from action the previous night.

It was Boone’s second ejection of the season. His 35 ejections since 2018 are the most in the majors among managers.

“I feel like I am treated fairly by umpires and have a good relationship with a lot of them,” Boone said. “I’m obviously a little more vocal and fiery than some, so I’m sure it gets some people perked up. But, overall, I feel like I’m treated fairly.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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