Put this guy in the Hall of Fame right now.
With his team trailing 22-8 on Wednesday night in the bottom of the eighth inning, Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre had had enough.
After receiving complaints from Miami Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider that Beltre was moving close to the plate while waiting on-deck, second base umpire Gerry Davis warned the 38-year-old Beltre to cut it out and get back in the on-deck circle.
Beltre, ever the character, decided to comply with Davis’ request but just not in the way the umpire had hoped. Beltre picked up the on-deck circle mat and dragged it to where he was standing. Davis, seemingly with no sense of humor in a blowout game, did not hesitate and tossed Beltre from the game.
Take a look at how far Beltre dragged the mat:
After the game, Beltre told reporters he didn’t think it was necessary for Davis to toss him.
Major League Baseball’s official rulebook makes no reference to the on-deck circle, and as the New York Times notes in a 2010 article on the matter — it’s really just a “suggested area in which to stand.”
As Steckenrider did, the pitcher can ask that the batter on-deck be moved if he’s in his sightlines. And the umpire, just as Davis did, can tell that player to back up.
In that New York Times’ article, former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder DeWayne Wise says he likes to stand outside the on-deck circle to get a better read of the pitcher.
“We want to get in a position where we can see the flight of the ball. Sometimes, you see guys who look like they’re almost behind the catcher.”
Joe Garagiola Jr., Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of standards and on-field operations, is quoted in the New York Times about whether there is a specific rule when it comes to standing on the on-deck circle:
“I think this falls under the general heading of the umpire’s authority to run the game once it has begun. If he becomes aware if a player is edging too close, he’ll certainly tell him to move back. I’ve seen it done many times.”
In the box score of the contest, the reason for Beltre’s ejection is actually listed as “NOT IN THE ON-DECK CIRCLE.”
I guess that, like much about baseball, is open to interpretation.