Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
I called Terry Collins this morning, curious if he knew that a video of him fuming at an umpire in 2016 had gone viral overnight. He did not.
"You know when Syndergaard was thrown out of a game in 2016 for throwing at Utley?"
"The ump was mic'ed."
There was a pause of three of four seconds, followed by a lighthearted, "Oh no."
Collins remembered the situation. It was May 28, 2016, and the Mets were playing the Dodgers at Citi Field. Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind Chase Utley, and home plate umpire Adam Hamari ejected him.
What followed was an entertaining, old-school baseball moment that bounced around the internet all through the night. But beyond Collins' high-level cussing, which justifiably grabbed all the attention, the clip was also a uniquely revealing window into the game within the game.
Here are a few moments that made the video so interesting, in the order that they happened.
1. Crew chief Tom Hallion tells Syndergaard, "That was the wrong time to do it."
Hallion is conveying to the pitcher that he understands the need for the Mets to retaliate for an incident during the previous year's division series, when Utley broke shortstop Ruben Tejada's leg with a hard slide into second base while trying to break up a double play.
Pitchers will always say, "The pitch just got away from me" -- Syndergaard said exactly that after this game -- but everyone on the field knows the unwritten rules. It's part of the charade that no one can admit it publicly.
2. Hallion says, "[It's] our asses to the jackpot if we don't do something there."
Hallion first says this to Syndergaard, and later to Collins. Meaning: If we don't eject you, MLB will come down on us for letting a beanball war occur (an aside: Knowing Utley, he would have just taken it and moved on, because he's old-school, too).
The actual phrase was a new one to me, but twitter user @BruceEdards4 did find a quote from the 2000 TV movie Homicide: The Movie, in which Det. Frank Pembleton, played by the great Andre Braugher, says, This is not taking a bullet for you, this is you wanting me to toss your ass in the jackpot! You're confessing to a murder, Tim, do you understand that?"
Wherever Hallion heard the phrase, his implication was clear.
3. Neil Walker calmly says, "Shouldn't there be a warning before that?"
This is a glimpse of veteran leadership in the infield. Walker, surrounded by a silent Syndergaard, Ty Kelly, Eric Campbell, and Rene Rivera, sticks up for his pitcher, and makes a valid point.
When Hallion references the division series incident as an obvious trigger for ejection, Walker says, "But there was no prior knowledge of that before the game started." The most experienced player on the field is speaking for everyone, which is part of Walker's intangible value.
4. Hallion sprints over to Collins as Collins calls Hamari a nasty name.
This sequence, which was the focus of the viral attention, reminds us of Collins' old-school saltiness. He was Jim Leyland's protege, after all. Hallion is trying to protect his home plate ump from Terry's invective, because everyone in baseball knows that when Terry Collins gets mad, he gets really mad. Most people get a kick out of this, and admire his passion.
"Terry, Terry, Terry, come on," Hallion says. "Get a handle."
5. The scene wraps up with a fascinating bit of dialogue.
"That's f--ing bullls--t and you know it," Collins screams at Hallion. "You got to give us a shot!"
Meaning: The ump is supposed to know that the Mets get to send a message to Utley without worrying about ejections.
"Terry," Hallion says. "You know where I stand on that whole situation."
Meaning: Umps know the unwritten rules, and don't mind them.
"Tommy," Collins says, still shrieking. "You're f--king better than that!"
"Terry, our ass is in the jackpot now," Hallion says again, meaning that his hands are tied and that he is just following orders.
Finally, a moment later, Collins runs out of gas, and starts to walk away.
"Okay, you got everything out," Hallion says.
Meaning: Arguments are a beautiful part of baseball, cussing on the field isn't personal, and no one lost respect for Collins for pleading his case.
Doesn't baseball just get more fun, the closer you look at it?