Homeplate umpire Lance Barrett talks to Cleveland Indians' Jason Kipnis after Kipnis argues his ejection after striking out during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Thursday, April 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
DETROIT — Jason Kipnis accomplished a career first on Thursday but it is one that he wishes might have taken place a little further down the road.
The Indians second baseman was ejected during the third inning of a 7-5 loss to the Tigers after expressing his dismay over home plate umpire Lance Barrett’s expanded strike zone. Kipnis, who went down on three pitches in the at-bat, was still miffed about a called strike on the first pitch that appeared to be low.
Kipnis’ strikeout ended the inning and left the Indians with the bases loaded in what was a scoreless game at the time. Prior to that at-bat, Kipnis was 6 for 14 with 14 RBI with two outs and the bases loaded.
"It was still fresh in my head. At that point it was a short at-bat and we had a chance to get him (Justin Verlander) on the ropes," Kipnis said. "I didn’t think I showed him up. I was walking away and I told him that the first pitch changed the entire at-bat and you don’t need to be helping a guy out like that. Obviously I used a couple words to express my dissent. He tossed me and has every right to do that.
"I don’t think he (Barrett) is a bad guy or a bad umpire. He was expanding a little bit there even before my at-bat and helping him out. Emotions were running high and it was unfortunate how it turned out."
After the game at least Kipnis still had a sense of humor about it and said that there would be a celebration in Cleveland after the team got back. He also added in a joking matter that it was good to get the first one out of the way and that he can now go play and relax.
Kipnis also said that he has said worse to umpires and not been tossed, so this might have been some cosmic sense of payback. Not only is it Kipnis’ first ejection in the majors but he thought his last one might have been in little league.
"It’s going to happen from time to time. Sometimes some good can from it and you can learn from it but it also isn’t fun to be in the locker room watching it and not being able to help your team out," he said.
When asked about Kipnis’ ejection, Terry Francona said he was surprised that the ejection happened that quickly and that he also thought the called strike was a little low.