Donaldson weighs in on post-homer ejection
Josh Donaldson has no regrets about his ejection from Thursday's series finale against the White Sox as a result of kicking dirt over home plate at the end of his home run trot following a disagreement with home-plate umpire Dan Bellino.
He made that clear in a Saturday call with reporters, during which he defended his actions and asked for greater accountability.
"I felt great about it," Donaldson said.
"I think I nailed it, actually," he later added. "I heard [television analyst Justin Morneau], you had a lot of people texting you and saying they were embarrassed. Well, I'm not. This is my livelihood and this is part of what makes me the player I am. And at the end of the day, if I have something on my chest, that's going to be what it is."
One pitch before the homer, Donaldson took a 2-0 offering for a called strike that he felt was off the outside corner. He appeared to ask about the call, and manager Rocco Baldelli had to emerge from the visitors' dugout to mediate the conversation between Bellino and Donaldson.
According to Donaldson, he asked three times where Bellino felt the pitch was, and he said that Bellino made a remark to Baldelli that Donaldson felt was belittling.
"At the end of the day, it gets reflected toward me," Donaldson said. "I saw him right by home plate, he was wanting me to do something, and so I gave it to him. I made it a point."
Donaldson said that the issues began before that at-bat, and he also cited several stats pertaining to the outcome of a 1-1 count, including expected batting averages and slugging percentages involved with a called ball or strike. In Donaldson's first at-bat in that game, he took a borderline 1-1 pitch that he thought was high but was called a strike by Bellino.
"Whether those pitches go my way or the pitcher’s way, whatever that may be, the umpire consistently isn’t doing their job correctly. That’s affecting our careers, that’s affecting our success," Donaldson said. "At the end of the day, there’s no reprimand, no accountability for the guys that are making the decision.
"Fortunately for me, I have a contract. But at the same time, I want to win and compete. But for a lot of these guys who do not [have a multiyear contract], the difference between consistently bad calls against one individual can definitely affect their career one way or the other."
Baldelli said he had several conversations with Donaldson about the incident but wished to keep the details private. Baldelli and Nelson Cruz had both been ejected in Tuesday's loss earlier in the series for arguing balls and strikes.
"He also knows that he was beyond frustrated with what was going on out on the field, and frankly, didn't and doesn't feel like there's much that can be done about it, and that angers him and frustrates him," Baldelli said. "He's not sure what to do about it, frankly. And that's the way he chose to handle it, and I think he, in some ways, probably understands that it wasn't something that helps our team, but also something that I don't know if, bigger-picture, he's totally regretful for it."
Crew chief Angel Hernandez's umpiring staff, including Bellino, is also working the ongoing series between the Twins and Cubs at Wrigley Field. Before Donaldson's comments, Baldelli had said Friday that he didn't believe the issue would linger between the Twins and the umpiring crew.
"When you have good umpires, you can talk about pretty much anything you want and it becomes a good conversation, so I’m not worried about that," Baldelli said Friday. "The last thing I’m worried about is going out there on the field and anything having to do with the umpires. We’re getting ready for the Cubs. We need to focus on playing well and executing out there and playing our best baseball."