By Scott A. Rowan
Ozzy Ozborne deserved to be ejected for his muttering version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame“ in 2003. Jeff Gordon ensured that he would never be invited back after flubbing the lyrics in 2005. But neither performer “topped” Chicago Bears defensive lineman Steve “Mongo” McMichael, the only person ever ejected during the seventh-inning stretch.
On August 7, 2001, the Chicago Cubs defeated the visiting Colorado Rockies 5–4. But in the bottom of the sixth inning, plate umpire Angel Hernandez called third baseman Ron Coomer out in a play at home plate. When McMichael took the microphone in the middle of the following inning, he shared his opinion about the call, saying: “Don’t worry, I’ll have some speaks with that home plate umpire after the game.” (GeoVerse™210) The crowd of 40,266 raucous fans loved it, but Hernandez did not: he deemed McMichael’s words a threat, and ejected him from the game.
While McMichael’s theatrics were entertaining (except to the officials), Cubs manager Don Baylor was angered because of the risk he felt it had posed to his team. “I worried about a forfeit,“ Baylor said in Bill Jauss’ Chicago Tribune story. “A lot of people do not realize that was a possibility. I told the umpire we do not condone what [McMichael] did.”
History, of course, proves that Baylor was correct. In 1995, the Los Angeles Dodgers were forced to forfeit a game to the St. Louis Cardinals when fans threw promotional giveaway baseballs onto the field. In 1979, the Chicago White Sox were forced to forfeit the second half of a doubleheader to the Detroit Tigers when the infamous “Disco Demolition Night” caused a riot with fans storming the field. And in 1974, the Cleveland Indians were forced to forfeit a game to the Texas Rangers when fans fueled by dime-beer night got out of control.
Jauss’ story revealed that years earlier a general manager had been ejected for cursing at officials, but that exchanged happened in a minor league game. That gives McMichael the rare distinction of being the only press box guest ejected from a major league game for what he said rather than anything he physically did.
Bill Jauss, “Cubs to McMichael: You’re out!” Chicago Tribune, August 9, 2001, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2001-08-09/sports/0108090252_1_umpire-forfeited-cubs.
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