Boone ejected just 5 pitches into game against A's

April 22nd, 2024

NEW YORK -- Have you ever seen a manager ejected for something a fan said? Neither had Aaron Boone.

Yet that is what apparently happened in the first inning of the Yankees' 2-0 loss to the Athletics on Monday, when Boone was tossed after five pitches by home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

The offending comment seemed to have come from a spectator sitting behind the first-base dugout.

“It’s embarrassing,” Boone said. “Just not good.”

Boone had barked after the game’s first batter, Esteury Ruiz, was hit on the right foot by a Carlos Rodón slider. Wendelstedt appealed to first-base umpire John Tumpane, who determined that Ruiz had not swung at the pitch and should be awarded first base.

“I really didn’t even go after Hunter,” Boone said. “I was more upset at the appeal. I said, ‘Hunter, you can call it, too.’ He came back at me pretty hard, to which I didn’t respond. I just said, ‘OK.’”

After Rodón’s first pitch to the next batter, Tyler Nevin, a YES Network microphone picked up Wendelstedt telling Boone: “Guess what? You’re not yelling at me. I did what I’m supposed to do and checked [with Tumpane]. I’m looking for him to get hit by the pitch. You got anything else to say, you’re gone, OK?”

The cameras remained trained upon Boone, who scowled while silently chomping on a wad of gum. Seconds later, Wendelstedt tossed Boone, who immediately pointed to the seating area while protesting: “I did not say a word! It was above the dugout!”

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

A different camera angle showed that the remark Wendelstedt likely heard had been uttered by a gentleman seated in the first row. Speaking to a pool reporter, Wendelstedt said that he considered Boone responsible for the comment, even if it did not come from Boone himself.

“I know what Aaron was saying, that it was a fan above the dugout,” Wendelstedt said. “That’s fine and dandy. There were plenty of fans that were yelling at me before I called a pitch until the end of the game. What happened was, it wasn’t him, it wasn’t over where it was [bench coach Brad] Ausmus. It wasn’t where the coaching staff and Aaron [were], but Aaron Boone is the manager of the New York Yankees and is responsible for everything that happens in that dugout.

“In my opinion, the cheap shot came towards the far end. 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. We need to keep them in the game. That’s what the fans pay to see. Aaron Boone runs the Yankees. He got ejected.”

The ejection was the second of the season for Boone, who was also tossed on April 10 vs. the Marlins.

“I know Boonie didn’t say anything in that moment,” Rodón said. “I guess there was just a misunderstanding. What are you going to do? Hunter is focused on the game and looking at the field, and hearing stuff out of the side of his ear.”

Added first baseman Anthony Rizzo: “In that situation, Hunter had warned him, and then I feel like his ears are wide open. So anything coming from that direction, you’re on a very short fuse.”

At the time he spoke to a pool reporter, Wendelstedt said that he had not yet seen a replay. Wendelstedt acknowledged that Boone “probably, you know, is not the one who made the comment -- but once again, he’s the manager of the Yankees and he’s responsible for the team.”

Boone has been ejected 35 times in seven seasons as the Yankees’ manager. He was asked if he believes that umpires are showing heightened sensitivity toward him, given his reputation for frequently chirping about calls.

“I don’t think so,” Boone said. “I feel like I am treated fairly by umpires and have a good relationship with a lot of them. I’m sure [there is] human nature and I’m obviously a little more vocal and fiery than some. I’m sure it gets some people perked up. But overall, I feel like I’m treated fairly.”