As Turner ran down the baseline, Chicago catcher Willson Contreras’ throw sailed past the base, which -- in the Nats' eyes -- should’ve meant Turner was safe at first. But Turner was ruled to have run inside the baseline, impeding the throw, and he was instead called out for runner interference on the play.
“The first-base umpire told me I was out, so I didn't realize until I was walking back to first base and I heard the first-base umpire basically tell me to go to the dugout,” Turner said. “So I was a little confused.”
Martinez was not having any of it.
The fourth-year Washington manager came out to argue the call and was quickly tossed from the game by first-base umpire Pat Hoberg. He then channeled his inner-Lou Piniella -- the former short-tempered three-time Manager of the Year, who managed the Cubs from 2007-10 before retiring over a decade ago -- as he ran over to first base, pulled the bag out of the ground, and then tossed and kicked it into foul territory.
“Honestly, I am beside myself now with this whole out-of-the-baseline thing, I really am,” Martinez said. “I mean, I think it's awful. And there's two parts to the rule, I get it. The second part of the rule is a judgment call. For me, it's a bad judgment, plain and simple.”
The call mirrored a similar one from Game 6 of the 2019 World Series, which also involved Turner being called out at first for runner interference and Martinez being ejected. Despite the ‘19 call coming in a bigger situation, Turner would argue Wednesday’s call was worse.
“Oh, by far, I don't even know where to start,” Turner said. “... It's bad, it's just bad. I know they're trying out there and this and that and they're trying to do their job, but that's just, it's terrible. It's bad, and I think that was worse than Game 6.”
“I mean, running in a straight line to the base, I don't know why I would bother doing anything different,” Turner added. “It comes down to a bad throw. If the guy makes a bad throw, then you're out, and if he doesn't, then you're either safe or out. So he might as well just pick it up and throw it in the stands, and then the umpire gets to call you out.”
In the next at-bat, Nationals right fielder Juan Soto lined a single to left field. On replay, Soto appeared to make it a point to stay on the baseline, which at least helped avoid any more confrontations over runner interference.
Martinez’s display got a loud reaction from the crowd at Wrigley Field, where he previously served as the Cubs' bench coach, and he got his money’s worth before heading back into the clubhouse for the rest of the night. It was the sixth time he was ejected as Washington’s manager and the first since he was tossed four times in 2019.