After clawing back from a deficit to take the lead, the Los Angeles Dodgers saw a ninth inning unlike most others this season. Kenley Jansen failed to retire the first two batters faced, and Chase Utley was ejected by second-base umpire Ramon De Jesus.
Trouble arose when Utley approached De Jesus at second base and asked that he move his positioning by the bag. “I asked him to move a few different times through the course of the game,” Utley later said.
De Jesus declined Utley’s request, the two appeared to briefly exchange words and Utley was ejected with one out in the inning. “In my opinion, and I wasn’t part of that exchange, it was a quick toss,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Utley was careful not to criticize De Jesus over the incident, seemingly in effort to avoid a fine, and the veteran second baseman certainly had a sound argument for his case.
“Through the course of my career it’s happened to me a few times where I get blocked out by an umpire and it turns out to be a tough play,” Utley said. “I wanted to try and avoid that. Most umpires oblige.”
Utley acknowledged he felt his request was ‘fair.’ A similar episode took place in June, when Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy asked umpire Alan Porter to change his positioning in the infield.
Porter not only declined, but shouted expletives at Murphy. There was not an ejection in that case, and Murphy said he and Porter reached an understanding by game’s end.
Saturday’s exchange further flummoxed Utley considering he holds what’s believed to be a positive relationship with umpires. “I feel like I have a pretty good rapport with a number of guys throughout the league, but clearly not Ramon,” he said.
“I am a little surprised. I’ll learn from it, and I hope Ramon learns from it, too.”