Anthony Rizzo defends bestie Judge, calls out umpire over his ejection

Anthony Rizzo screams at umpire, who ordered the ejection of Aaron Judge in Yankees vs. Tigers game at Yankee Stadium on May 4, 2024.
Michael Bennington
Sunday May 5, 2024

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Following his walk-off single in Friday’s series opener, Anthony Rizzo once again proved pivotal in the Yankees’ 5-3 victory over the Tigers on Saturday at Yankee Stadium. His three-run homer off Casey Mize in the third inning ricocheted off the side facing the second deck in right field and landed in Judge’s Chambers, setting the tone for the team’s success and setting up New York for a potential sweep on a day that also saw Aaron Judge’s first career ejection.

In a span of just 24 hours, Anthony Rizzo delivered two crucial contributions to the team. However, the significance of the second one was amplified as it served as a response to the ejection of his close friend. Umpire Ryan Blakney ejected Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in the seventh inning for disputing a call that the Statcast strike zone box indicated was just outside.

He openly voiced his discontent with the incident and criticized Blakney for being overly sensitive in that particular instance. As soon as Aaron Judge was ejected, Anthony Rizzo was seen on YES Network screaming, “That’s the softest s— I’ve ever seen.”

Anthony Rizzo noted that the umpire seemed to be overly sensitive in that scenario, expecting him to justify his decisions, as they often do. The Yankees star acknowledged Judge’s visible frustration, attributing it to his competitive nature. He mentioned that Ryan had missed a few calls during the game, both for their team and likely for the opposing side as well.

“Umpire being a little sensitive there. I’m sure he’s gonna say he’s right because they’re always right,” Anthony Rizzo said. “[Judge] there, obviously frustrated, he’s competing. Ryan missed a few calls today on our end. I’m sure on their end too. It’s [Judge]’s first, so thankfully it comes on a win, and we’ll go joke about it now.”

Anthony Rizzo continued his defense of Judge after the game, extolling Judge’s impeccable reputation throughout the baseball universe. He roared that “everyone knows that” Aaron is a consummate professional, a true class act.

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo are after the Yankees' 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday, May 3, 2024.

Anthony Rizzo voiced that a more harmonious relationship between teams and umpires could be fostered if both parties shared a common understanding of the strike zone’s boundaries, lamenting the persistent lack of consensus on what constitutes a strike or a ball.

“We have all of this stuff that they’re testing in the minor leagues … but they won’t let the players and umpires get in sync with what the strike zone is,” Anthony Rizzo said. “They have a completely different system than what we see. They think we’re crazy sometimes. We think they’re crazy. We all agree that if we could see the same sheet of music, that would be beneficial for all of us.

“I think the umpires do their best. I have a lot of sympathy and empathy for them. They don’t have a home. They’re on the road for six, eight, 12 weeks at a time with maybe a couple of days off in between. I think they are all really good at what they do. They have a completely different strike zone than what our eyes are accustomed to, so when we complain and they say they got it right and we say they’re wrong, you’re fighting a dead battle because they’re right and we’re wrong. Their zone is a different sheet of music.”

Anthony Rizzo expressed relief that it was Judge’s first experience with such a situation, particularly pleased that it coincided with a victory, suggesting they would now be able to laugh about it.

Anthony Rizzo carries Yankees to victory over Tigers

Furthermore, Saturday’s offensive output came from the heart of the order, which had been struggling in the preceding days. Anthony Rizzo had entered the game with a 2-for-17 record without an extra-base hit over his past five games. Judge, meanwhile, had a 2-for-16 record. Judge kicked off the game with a single in the first inning and later scored on Giancarlo Stanton’s line drive single over the right fielder’s head, leveling the game at 1-1.

In recent times, the Yankees had been longing for a pivotal hit like Anthony Rizzo’s. However, Saturday’s game unfolded differently. The Yankees also benefited from Judge’s run-scoring double preceding Anthony Rizzo’s homer in the third inning, as well as Stanton’s laser single off the right field wall in the first inning. Judge scored twice, contributing two hits before his unexpected ejection by home plate umpire Ryan Blakney in the seventh inning.

For Clarke Schmidt, this marked his 32nd start of allowing three runs or fewer since the 2023 season, a feat surpassed only by Sonny Gray in that span across the Majors. After Caleb Ferguson managed to retire only one batter to begin the sixth inning, Luke Weaver retired seven of the eight batters he faced, further solidifying his role as a crucial high-leverage option. Weaver, who has not allowed a run over his past 11 1/3 innings, boasts a 2.86 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in his first 12 appearances of the 2024 season. Clay Holmes secured his second consecutive save of more than three outs after earning a five-out save on Wednesday in Baltimore.

Holmes has now thrown 16 innings without allowing an earned run to start the season.

Manager Aaron Boone lauded the day’s performance, describing it as excellent. He highlighted Anthony Rizzo’s contribution, emphasizing its pivotal role in determining the game’s outcome. Additionally, Boone recognized the efforts of several other players, praising the quality of their at-bats leading up to Anthony Rizzo’s game-changing play.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Anthony Rizzo defends bestie Judge, calls out umpire over his ejection

  1. The umpires are Out of Control in MLB & the blame rests squarely on baseball’s WORTHLESS Commissioner, Rob Manfred, and the Owners, who’ve allowed this bull**** to go on for so many years.

    The Fans need to rise up & Really Verbally Abuse these Umpires (relentlessly!) because it’s clear that gutless Rob Manfred doesn’t have the baseballs to stand up & actually do his primary job, which is to protect the integrity of the game, and the biggest offender the last few years have been the Umpires, who arrogantly act like fans are paying to see THEM, rather than the on-field athletes.

    The umps frequently eject players & coaches without real cause, and 60% of them, if not more, have created their own strike zones, which often change from half-inning to half inning, leaving players & coaches perplexed & angry, which leads to justifiable outbursts on their part that, in turn, lead to ejections.

    The umps are bringing these outbursts onto themselves with their inconsistent & egregious strike zones. They seemingly don’t comprehend or, worse, don’t give a damn that their Gross Incompetence is adversely effecting every player’s livelihood.

    And all of this is largely because Manfred is TOTALLY USELESS as a commissioner, and the Owners let him get away with it, even though they’re his employer.

    There’s an easy resolution to this problem: implement the electronic strike zone to eliminate these Arrogant Umpires from calling ball & strikes because they’re only infuriating players, coaches, and fans with their bull**** strike zones.

    And after you implement the electronic strike zone, cut the umpires’ pay by 50% because their workload will be substantially reduced once they no longer have to call balls & strikes.

    And if the Umps Go On Strike over the pay cut, So What? Any AAA or AA with umpire with 20-20 vision is capable of calling players out or safe at given base or on a diving catch, and instant replay is always available to correct any erroneous calls.

    Finally, it would be Hilarious if the Umps went On Strike over a pay cut & NONE of Them were Rehired!

    That would be the best revenge for the arrogance they’ve shown over the past decade. Then the umps can all get jobs at Starbucks as baristas, the only negative being that they won’t be able to eject customers in a childish hissy fit, as they’re accustomed to doing now, without being “thrown out” themselves. Heck, I’d gladly pay $5 for a Hot Latte if I could dump it over Wendelstedt’s head.

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