DETROIT -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has seen his fair share of ejections over his career, having earned a total of 46 of them. Usually his words are measured following an ejection. But that wasn't the case after he earned No. 5 of the season in Friday's 10-8 loss to the Tigers. Gardenhire had strong words for home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, and it wound up being a war of words between the two following the contest.
After being ejected in the second inning for what he said was no reason, Gardenhire didn't hesitate to let his emotions be known. "That's the second time I've run into this, with this guy," Gardenhire said. "He's got an attitude. At home a few years back he said, 'You're just out here for showtime.' He's got a smart mouth, and tonight was ridiculous, really." Perhaps it was the final words that Gardenhire said Wendelstedt spoke to him that got the skipper so fired up. The skipper said that as he was getting ejected, the home-plate umpire asked him, "How do you like that?" "A lot of calls [were] no good," Gardenhire said. "He had a bad night. He didn't probably think so because he's god, as umpires go. ... I was really disappointed. There was no reason for me to get thrown out of that game." Wendelstedt labeled Gardenhire's comments "unfair" when speaking to a pool reporter. After complaints had risen at least five times in the first two innings from the Twins' dugout, Wendelstedt said he warned Gardenhire about them. In the end, Wendelstedt said that the skipper "ejected himself" by coming onto the field to talk to him. "Basically for a manager that has been around for so long, you would think he would understand the way baseball operates -- that a warning is a warning," Wendelstedt said. "I'll give it to you this way. I'm a parent and I have two daughters, OK. When I tell them not to do something, I don't tell them 20 times. They get one or two times. And he was warned numerous occasions." Part of the reason for the Twins' complaints from the dugout was that they felt Tigers starter Armando Galarraga was balking with his "quick-pitch" move to home plate. Wendelstedt strongly disagreed with the Twins' belief that those were balks. "I would challenge [Gardenhire] to sit down and watch the replays," Wendelstedt said. "Because he was wrong on whether the pitcher was balking or not. ... I'm going to invite him to my umpire school. If he wants to learn what is a balk, he can come down in January to umpire school and we'll teach him." After getting face-to-face with Wendelstedt on the field during his ejection, Gardenhire then stormed back to the dugout, stopping at the top of the steps to say something to one of his players and then pointing at Wendelstedt as he paced in the dugout before heading back to his office. Gardenhire had already been upset about one alleged missed call before his ejection. In the first, Gardenhire came out to argue that Minnesota's third baseman, Brendan Harris, had tagged Curtis Granderson on a rundown play between home and third. Third-base umpire Brian Knight ruled that there was no tag on the play and the Twins did not get an out, as Granderson scored Detroit's first run. Still fuming about that call in the first and three calls the Twins felt were missed on one play in the fifth, Gardenhire spoke more openly than usual following an ejection. But at the end of his comments, Gardenhire realized that he likely would be fined -- or possibly suspended -- for what he had said. "Calls are calls," Gardenhire said. "Sometimes they go your way. I just get real disappointed when an umpire has an attitude like that and thinks he's a big shot and throws you out and feels good about it. "That's too bad. Too bad. It doesn't have to be that way, shouldn't have to be that way, but I'll get fined, and he'll be fine. He'll be fine. Anything else before I get suspended here? If I already haven't."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.