While there were no fireworks over American Family Field on Tuesday afternoon, Chicago Cubs manager David Ross provided plenty of explosive-chatter after the team’s dramatic 7-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ross, who has been under increasing scrutiny as his team has floundered in the standings, made his frustrations known about the umpiring in the game, going on an expletive-laden tirade.
“They’re closing the roof to get rid of the shadows late. There was just a lot of bulls--- that went on today. I thought it was horses---, I don’t f---ing know,” he said.
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You can watch the clip here. Yes, there is profanity, and no, it isn't bleeped.
The Cubs, who had just blown a six-run lead the previous day, had a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but they came within a whisper of losing the game twice.
It was Ian Happ who provided the heroics, gunning out Andruw Monasterio at the plate in the 10th inning on a single to left field. He then threw out Owen Miller at the plate in the 11th inning on a flyout, capping off one of the more remarkable Cubs games of the season.
While the team was undoubtedly happy about the win, Ross was plenty fired up about the work of the umpires in the game. He argued a call in the sixth inning after it appeared William Contreras strayed out of the baseline heading to first, leading to an errant throw and a run-scoring play for the Brewers.
He continued to argue ball and strike calls for the rest of the game, but the real explosion occurred in the 11th inning. With Nico Hoerner at first and two outs, Dansby Swanson was at the plate with a 2-1 count. After Clayton Andrews threw a strike, home plate umpire Erich Bacchus rang him up as though Swanson had struck out.
First base coach Mike Napoli began yelling toward the plate, and first base umpire Andy Fletcher ejected him from the contest, causing another unfriendly exchange of ideas.
Following Napoli’s exit, which was greeted by a standing ovation from the dugout, Ross came out to have an irrational discussion with Bacchus at the plate, and he too was given the green light to take an early shower.
“There was some frustration,” Ross said. “It was big. I’m trying to balance the emotions and have these guys execute and have good at-bats. It wasn’t very good, and we made that known.”
Ross and Napoli may have had a point. According to the website Ump Scorecards, Bacchus’ strike zone was correct 96% of the time, ranking him in the 78th percentile of games this season.
The overall favor of his calls in the game was skewed toward the Brewers by 0.8 runs, a key measuring stick in a one-run game.
Ross also called into question the Brewers’ decision to begin closing the roof in the late stages of the game. At first, the team closed the left side of the structure, cutting back on the shadows on the field, and then by the end of the game had closed the roof completely.
Under MLB rules, the home team gets to decide whether to close the roof of the stadium or not, and the Brewers opted to start the contest with the roof open.
Once the game begins, the roof can only be closed if there is a chance of inclement weather, and can be done so in consultation with the umpires.
There was a chance of scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, but no rain fell on Milwaukee during the game, according to the National Weather Service.