During Sunday afternoon's game between the New York Mets and the Texas Rangers, the Rangers had a lot of problems with a lot of calls made by the umpires on the field. I'm not here to talk about the calls. I'm here to talk about the aftermath. In the top of the sixth, many Rangers were incensed when a Derek Holland 2-2 fastball to Daniel Murphy in the center of the zone was ruled a ball. On the next pitch, Murphy doubled home Ronny Paulino. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher started hearing it from the dugout and was confronted by manager Ron Washington, and so home plate umpire Andy Fletcher took action. Writes Art Garcia:
Fletcher threw out both Washington and Elvis Andrus, who sat out Sunday with a sore wrist. Mets manager Terry Collins was given a choice to throw out one of the Rangers because of the constant complaining coming out of the Texas dugout.
Collins chose Andrus in an act of sportsmanship. Young, apparently, was the one voicing his displeasure the loudest and before his next at-bat shared a knowing smile with Collins.
An unusual circumstance that ends with a spot of good sportsmanship. I've never before heard of a manager being given the option to eject any individual member of the opponent. And where Collins could've had Michael Young ejected, or Adrian Beltre ejected, or Nelson Cruz ejected, he instead chose to have Elvis Andrus ejected, knowing that Andrus was unavailable due to injury. By ejecting an unavailable player, Collins allowed the Rangers to remain at full strength, perhaps in an acknowledgment that he agreed with their complaints. Terry Collins is a good sport.
But wait! What's this? From Gil LeBreton:
[The ejections were] a pretty cheeky thing to do, after the kind of day Fletcher and his crew were having. Ditto for Mets manager Terry Collins, who said he was trying to get Fletcher to eject the real dugout complainer, Young, instead.
And from the AP:
Mets manager Terry Collins was surprised that Andrus was also thrown out. Collins thought Young was doing most of the yapping from the dugout.
"I wanted (Young) out," Collins said. "I was tired of watching Young hit the ball out of the ballpark. And that's who it was, too."
Now we have our stories crossed. According to one source, Collins selected Andrus, presumably because he didn't think the Rangers should play shorthanded. According to other sources, though, Collins wanted to have Young get tossed, and was surprised when Andrus got the boot. So Collins was either being a good sport by keeping everything even, or he was being a good manager by going after one of the Rangers' better players. One notices that "being a good sport" and "being a good manager" would've led to opposite actions.
Collins' expression after everything lends no clues to the truth:
I can't tell if that's a man content with his act of good sportsmanship, or a man who can't believe the one Rangers player who wound up getting ejected was the one Rangers player who was unavailable to play in the game. Just his luck!
Ultimately, this doesn't really matter. Either Collins was being a good sport, or he was being a good leader of his ballclub. Both are noble in their own way. I suspect there's more truth to the latter than the former. It's just perplexing that we've been given both sides. Without knowing whether Collins is compassionate or ruthless, we can't be sure how to construct our false narrative.