Last night, in the bottom of the third inning something peculiar happened. There I was, watching the game. Dexter Fowler had just been called out on strikes by home late umpire, Vic Carapazza. In fact, it was the second time in two at-bats that Dexter was called out looking at strike three. Once the game returned from commercial break, the Cubs’ announcers explained that Dexter Fowler had just been ejected from the game. Ok, what?
They showed the replay, I scratched my head, Jason Heyward came on in center field (good to have you back, J-Hey) and the game went on. Oh, and the Cubs beat the Nationals 5-2.
Here’s the replay:
Three things happened that caused Dexter Fowler to thrown out of the game.
First, in the bottom of the first inning Fowler was called out looking at a third strike that was low and in (here’s video). The ball was a borderline strike, one of those that could really go either way. That’s fine, those happen. Dexter was out.
Next, in the bottom of the third inning Fowler was again called out looking at a third strike. This time the pitch was high in the zone. Again, those things happen and yes, Dexter was frustrated by the call.
The third thing is that Dexter stopped to ask the ump where the strike zone is. That’s a fair question, especially since different umps have different zones. It’s also important to know for a Cubs team that leads the league in walks with 141 with the next closest team at 118. If they don’t know where the zone is it becomes difficult to draw a walk.
Apparently, Carapazza didn’t feel like Dexter Fowler and the Cubs deserved to know where the strike zone was. In a post-game interview (Tribune) Dexter said, “I was curious where the strike zone was and he threw me out for asking a question and he never answered my question.” That’s a very fair question that the ump really should at least answer.
This felt like an ump trying to exert himself in a situation that didn’t require it. Dexter asked a question. The ump didn’t like it and tossed him. It was one of those calls that had you cringing but it’s something that happens in the game. Fortunately for the Cubs, the game progressed without further incident and they won. Case closed. And next time, Dexter, I guess you just don’t get to know where the strike zone is…