Papelbon ejected after gesture to crowd
Closer tossed after blowing save in four-run ninth
PHILADELPHIA -- After surrendering four runs and blowing the Phillies' three-run lead in the ninth inning of Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Marlins, Jonathan Papelbon kept his gaze above the Phillies' dugout as he began to walk off the field. Midway through his trek from the mound to the dugout, he made a gesture that sent an already fired-up Citizens Bank Park crowd into a frenzy.
Papelbon's suggestive act -- adjusting his groin -- was met with boos, and second-base umpire Joe West had seen enough. After Papelbon reached the dugout, West ejected him.
"He basically came over and said that I did an inappropriate gesture, and I had no clue what he was talking about," Papelbon said. "That is when I got upset. I had no idea what he was talking about. I had no explanation. I was still obviously pretty heated from what had just transpired. Me and Joe we go way back. We don't see eye to eye a lot of times."
Papelbon began shouting at West, and the two men made contact.
"He charged out of the dugout and his head bumped into my hat," West said. "And I grabbed him and I said, 'Get off of me.'"
While West asserted that Papelbon made physical contact with him first, Papelbon disagreed.
"No. We will go video tape on that," he said. "Joe had no right to grab me by any means so I will file a complaint for that for sure."
West explained that his decision to eject Papelbon resulted directly from the reliever's actions walking off the field.
"The whole thing started because the fans booed him and he made an obscene gesture," West said. "He had no business doing that. He's got to be more professional than that. And that's why he was ejected. Whatever happened out of that may have happened in anger out of being kicked out. But that's irrelevant."
Papelbon, meanwhile, claimed that the motion he made as he walked toward the dugout was benign.
"I had to make an adjustment and I did it," Papelbon said.
"I don't even hear the fans out there. When I am out there I am in the moment -- the fans are irrelevant to me. I don't even see them or hear them. To me it's pretty stupid to be totally honest with you. The fans come and pay their money and want to see a good game. They have the right to boo and do whatever they want to do, but an umpire gets caught up in that and starts trying to look for extra things he may think are going on."
It was an aberrant moment in an otherwise brilliant 2014 campaign for Papelbon, who entered the game 37-for-40 in save opportunities with a 1.56 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.