After botching multiple calls throughout the afternoon, umpire Will Little achieved very little success Saturday, to borrow a phrase from Yankees announcer Michael Kay.
Little’s escapades as the third-base umpire began in the bottom of the second inning of the Yankees’ matchup with the A’s in Oakland. He called a balk on New York starting pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. during a pickoff attempt.
“At first I didn’t know what I did,” Cortes told the New York Daily News. “I was very surprised that the third base umpire was the one that gave the call. I feel like he had a rough first three innings at third base.”
The bad calls were only just beginning.
The next inning, Little called Oakland’s Starling Marte safe on a stolen base attempt even though replays showed Marte had been caught stealing. The situation then quickly escalated with Yan Gomes at bat. Gomes lined an 0-2 pitch toward Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who caught the ball and promptly threw to third baseman Rougned Odor to double up Marte. As Marte was lunging back into the base, Little called him out.
The call was so ridiculously wrong that both local broadcast teams mocked the replay review that upheld it.
Upon replay review, it was clear that Odor’s foot came off the base before he had control of the ball and Marte should have been called safe. A review that should have taken seconds ended up taking minutes.
The combination of events was enough to set off A’s manager Bob Melvin. He abruptly exited the dugout to dispute Little’s call and the review. He was ejected by home plate umpire Tony Randazzo.
The A’s added a run in the fourth inning to take a three-run lead and ultimately took down the Yankees 3-2.
“I just got emotional,” Melvin said of the ejection when asked by the San Francisco Chronicle. “I actually wanted to talk to the replay crew, but they wouldn’t let me do that. There are certain times you get a little too emotional. I didn’t go out there with the intent to get thrown out. As I sit here right now, I know Tony had to basically throw me out.”
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