One day after July 4th -- on Pyrotechnics night here at Citi Field -- Met Manager Jerry Manuel supplied the fireworks a little early, as he was ejected from the game in a six run Red fifth inning. But it was without a doubt justified, as Manuel threw perhaps his biggest tirade during his time as the Met manager because... The umpires reversed what was an initial ruling of Scott Rolen striking out swinging. The man who gave the deciding input on the reversed call -- second base umpire Dan Iassonga -- ejected Manuel from the game after the manager argued when the call was over-turned into a hit by pitch.
For all of the details on every side of the argument, be sure to check out Anthony Rieber's gamer either online or in tomorrow's print edition. But for now, here is the unabridged version of the session I and multiple other reporters had with the umps after the game.
A group of about eight reporters met with Iassonga, and the crew chief in Third base umpire Dale Scott. Here is what they had to say:
Third base umpire Dale Scott: “Obviously, was it a hits batsman, or was it a foul ball? Jerry came up immediately, his first inclination was a foul tip. But he had some doubts and wasn’t quite sure. He knew it hit something, he wasn’t quite sure. And as we try to do getting plays right as best we can, we consult as a group. And that’s what we did, we got together and we all talked about what we saw, and as a crew we felt that the bal did hit Rolen, and that it was not a swing. And thus we flipped the call.”
“We just got done (looking at the replay) and it appears that we got the play right. Obviously it’s tough out there, because both teams see the replay on video. We’re out there we are going with what we talked about and out instinct the thing about that is, the easy call would be to keep it the same. We are not looking to get the easy call, we are trying to get it right. And in this case it was the correct call. Not a popular call but the correct one.”
Question: I think you guys (as a crew) had something similar at Yankees vs. Blue Jays?
“Yeah we did, and it was a situation where it was similar, but we didn’t have the…”
Second base umpire Dan Iassogna: “… That one we knew it did hit the bat. There was actually, it did hit the barrel of the bat. But we knew that we couldn’t tell in that situation (tonight’s situation) whether it hit or not…”
Third base umpire Dale Scott: “… there was no bat sound tonight. The Blue Jay one, there was a definite bat sound. Now, just because there is sound, doesn’t mean he wasn’t hit (by the pitch) that was where that situation was different than this one.”
Question: When Dusty got out of the dugout, was that what prompted you guys to all get together?
Third base umpire Dale Scott: “Well (Home plate umpire) Jerry (Meals) had the initial call, and if he has a doubt in his mind, and if he is not sure, that is something he has to figure out. I don’t know what Jerry saw or heard or whatever. Obviously, Dusty coming out was part of it, but if he (Jerry Meals) was like 100 percent sure or knew exactly what happened, that’s one thing. He wasn’t quite sure and so, we got together just to pool all of us, to see what we saw. And try and come up, all we are trying to do is get the play right.”
Question: And who saw it hit the bat (the original call) Dan?
Second base umpire Dan Iassogna: “Not the bat. But the batter…”
Third base umpire Dale Scott: “… (First base umpire) Mark (Wegner) at first has got the check swing or the partial check swing. He didn’t go. But he (Wegner) is concentrating on that. I’ve got a body between…”
Second base umpire Dan Iassogna: “… So (home plate umpire Jerry (Meals) has got (Met catcher Rod) Barajas in between. I’m the only one, I have the open shot of that play. Again, very difficult, difficult play to see. But I’m the -- what Dale does, whenever we have a situation like that the chief will get everybody together and takes input from everybody – and in my situation, I gave him my input, because I had nothing in front of me except Rolen, and the ball, and the bat and his body…”
Third base umpire Dale Scott: “… and that’s what, we know how big of a call that is. If we keep it the same, we know how big it is. Again, with all of the information from all four of us trying to do what we could to get it right.”
Question: Lastly, (Met Manager) Jerry (Manuel) came out at you livid…
Second base umpire Dan Iassogna: “… yeah I can take that. I have the utmost respect for Jerry Manuel as a manager. I felt he handled himself entirely within his rights as a manager right there. That is an extremely difficult call, and an extremely difficult situation, and I completely understand and completely respect him as a manager.”
Question: Was his main argument that the call had been reversed, or that he was just complaing about the fact…
Second base umpire Dan Iassogna: “… you know that is one thing – that I will never comment on what is said in an argument…”
Third base umpire Dale Scott: “… He (Manuel) did what he had to do.”