DENVER -- The occasion of Joe West umpiring his 5,000th Major League game on Tuesday night brought to mind a different milestone for Rockies manager Bud Black -- his first career ejection.
On May 31, 2007, Black was managing the Padres and his catcher, Josh Bard, hit a home run in the 11th inning at Pittsburgh's PNC Park -- or so Bard and the Padres thought. Even the umpires on the field seemed to think so. But Pirates manager Jim Tracy spoke to the umpires. This was before baseball used replay reviews.
"Right-center field in Pittsburgh, it sort of hit the railing, and Josh circled the bases, came in, got his catcher's gear on," Black said Tuesday before his Rockies played the D-backs. "And then [Tracy] came out and thought that it wasn't a home run. He thought it was hit off one of the railings and came back into play. So after a long discussion, this is well before replay, after a long discussion, the umpires changed it to a ground-rule double."
"Josh Bard charged out of the dugout in full equipment. Charged, went out to second base, to the umpires. So I followed him out there. And then from there, without getting overly verbal, I was ejected. Because we all thought it was a home run."
Black let go of the argument, eventually.
"I went into the clubhouse and I looked at it and [the video guy] goes, 'Yeah, maybe not a home run,'" Black said.
But it ended well. The Padres won, 4-2.