CLEVELAND (AP) — Aaron Boone felt his Yankees were mistreated.
Upset over the umpires’ handling of a confusing play, Boone was ejected in the first inning Wednesday and New York’s manager spent the rest of the game watching from his office as the Yankees rallied for a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Guardians in a wild series finale.
More than two hours after being tossed, and despite getting a detailed explanation from Major League Baseball officials on what transpired, Boone was still dissatisfied with what resulted in the Yankees falling behind 2-0.
“I disagree,” he said. “Still.”
Cleveland had runners at second and third with one out in the first when Josh Naylor hit a sinking liner to center that Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks appeared to catch with a sliding grab. Hicks, who had two other similar plays in the strange inning, popped up and threw to second for a force-out and an apparent inning-ending double play.
However, as both teams left the field, a replay was shown on Progressive Field’s giant left-field scoreboard that appeared to show Hicks failing to make the catch. It wasn’t immediately clear if Guardians manager Terry Francona had requested a challenge in the allotted 15 seconds.
Crew chief and second-base umpire Larry Vanover, who was later injured when he got struck in the head by a relay throw, huddled with the other umpires for several minutes before speaking to Francona, who appeared to be satisfied with what he was told.
That brought out an angry Boone, who felt the Guardians had taken too long to request the challenge. After some gesturing and finger pointing, Boone was thrown out for the first time this season and the 27th time in his career.
Following the review, and a nearly 10-minute interruption, the umpires ruled Naylor’s ball dropped in for a base hit and an RBI. When play resumed, Guardians first baseman Josh Bell hit an RBI single to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.
Boone felt the scoreboard replay prompted the umpires to conference.
“It gets thrown up on the scoreboard,” he said. “I’m not saying they looked at the scoreboard, but obviously you could feel the emotion in the building and then it’s them getting together to get it right and then going to Cleveland and I think in the end bailing them out.
“I took exception to it. They got the play right, but there is no way in my opinion that the environment didn’t create the end result.”
Complicating matters was that the Guardians’ initial challenge was whether the run scored before the third out was recorded, not Hicks’ catch.
“We determined when we got together as a crew that the run did not score,” said plate umpire Chris Guccione. “So, once we got all that figured out, we went over to Tito (Francona) to tell him what had transpired. We told him, ‘Guys, we have a catch, out at second, no run scores.’ And he promptly told us, ‘OK, I’d like to challenge the catch in the outfield.’”
“He promptly did it. He was already ready. He didn’t have to check or anything. He promptly did it. So, we did all the rest, radioed up to New York and they came back with a decision that it was no catch, guys at first and third and they scored a run, obviously, because it was no catch. That was the huddle part of it.”
Boone, who spent several minutes pleading his case and returned to the field three times before finally departing, said he appreciated Vanover’s calm.
“Larry threw me out, and by the way, I hope he’s doing well,” Boone said. “That looked pretty scary. I was pretty animated and pretty emotional and I thought he did an outstanding job of not meeting my anger and kind of understanding and being real under control and certainly respectful and I appreciate that and I wish he’s well.
“But that said, I think they did not get it right or handle it right.”