We have our first masked manager/umpire dust-up of 2020
The opening weekend of the 2020 MLB season is in the books, and although it looked a little different—cardboard cutouts in the bleachers, no thrilling mound visits, oodles and oodles of baserunners in extras—it was still definitely baseball and that is still definitely a good thing. We witnessed plenty of firsts—DHs in the NL, ESPN calling games from Bristol, Bryce Harper being likable—but nothing stuck out quite like the MLB’s first ever masked manager tirade. Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the future.
It all began in the third inning when home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejected Pirates pitcher Derek Holland while Holland was sitting in the left field stands. Enraged by Baker’s apparently superhuman hearing (some ITK Pirates sources speculated that Holland was doing a unflattering impression of Baker), Pirates manager Derek Shelton charged up the dugout steps to give Baker a good old fashioned hiding . . . but not before calmly flipping up his mask. Baker responded in kind and the two went at it as if it was all business as usual, which it pretty much was because wearing a mask requires the minimum amount of human effort and cooperation.
Oh and speaking of firsts, Holland was ejected before throwing a single pitch this season. Not sure Statcast tracks that one, but if that’s not another new baseball benchmark, it’s gotta be close.