We officially have our first Umpire Freaks Out for No Good Reason Other Than a Brittle Ego moment of 2019! Ladies and Gentleman, baseball is officially back!
Umpire Ron Kulpa was not having a terribly great day behind the plate. His strike zone was all over the place, and Houston who hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts this season wasn’t happy with it. Eventually Kulpa exploded after complaints over a particularly horrible low strike call. Kulpa yanked off his mask, and stopped the game to approach the Houston dugout and yell at manager A.J. Hinch. Hinch attempted to calm down the umpire and defuse the situation. Kulpa was still steaming, so much so that after he returned to his position behind home-plate, he was too distracted staring into the dugout as opposed to watching, you know the pitcher about to throw a pitch.
Hinch had to point out this fact to Kulpa and remind him that he should be watching the game instead of the dugout. “Don’t look over here”, this isn’t want you need to be looking at, “look over there at the game”. This only further incensed Kulpa who again stopped the game, removed his make and called out Hinch pointing at him saying “You. You.” Kulpa then decided to go ahead and toss Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron, I suppose as retribution for daring to contradict his authority. He was literally laughing in Hitches face after the ejection.
Following the ejection, and after Hinch returned to the dugout, and just one pitch later, Kulpa continued to stare into the Houston dugout and at that point tossed Kulpa, all while yelling “I can do whatever I want.” Hinch had to be restrained by bench coach Joe Espada.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Kulpa wasn’t done looking for a fight. In the 4th as Gerrit Cole was warming up, Kulpa stepped in front of the plate, cutting Cole’s warmup short. After the inning ended Kulpa again instigated an argument, chasing down Cole to yell at him for something. After Cole walked way, Kulpa then went after catcher Max Stassi pushing him away. Kulpa after the game claimed he was enforcing MLB’s pace-of-play guidelines and Cole was late warming up.
“It was all because of the dugout complaining on pitches,” Meals said of the ejections.
This is not the first, nor the second time that Kulpa’s ego had made himself the center of a game.