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08/01/08 1:22 AM ET
Gardenhire ejected out of Twins game
Fans throw objects onto the field after manager was tossed
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Thursday's series finale between the Twins and White Sox was suspended for a short period of time in the seventh inning, after fans at the Metrodome began throwing objects onto the field of play. With hats and various other objects being tossed from the stands after Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen raced onto the field and pulled his players off it. The incident began when Gardenhire went out on the field to argue with third-base umpire Marty Foster about what he felt was a missed call. With the White Sox leading 4-3, in the bottom of the seventh, outfielder Denard Span appeared to have been struck in the right leg by a pitch from White Sox starter John Danks. Home-plate umpire Bill Welke awarded Span first base for being hit, but Foster overruled the call and said that that because Span was squaring to bunt, he went far enough to constitute a swing. Gardenhire immediately jumped out of the dugout and started arguing with Foster. He was tossed quickly, earning his fifth ejection of the season and 41st of his career. "[Foster] said he bunted at him and I just wanted him to check and see," Gardenhire said. "Span got hit with a ball and I didn't think he bunted at him. But Marty was right to throw me out. You can't argue balls and strikes." Before leaving the field following his ejection, Gardenhire argued with Foster for several minutes to get the entire crowd of 31,493 at the Metrodome on their feet. The announced crowd of 31,493 started shouting chants of "Gardy! Gardy!" On his way off the field, Gardenhire then threw his hat into the air and punted it 15 feet high in protest. "It was probably a little too much emotion," Gardenhire said of his kick after the game. "It got a little nuts out there. I felt bad it stopped the ballgame. I don't like that ... I'm just out there arguing for my team. That's all. Kicking the hat was probably a little much." Although he kept apologizing for his actions, the Twins' skipper tried to lighten the situation a bit. "I hope [Vikings head coach Brad Childress] saw that," Gardenhire added. "If he ever needs a kicker, I got good height on it." The kick caused a ruckus from the crowd. Immediately after Gardenhire's action, fans began throwing hats of their own onto the field. "I don't want anyone hurt," Guillen said. "I think the umpires do a good job and take control of the situation. I was not worried about hats. I saw a couple of balls flying on the field and it was a dangerous situation." "What did I see get thrown? You name it," Danks added. "Everything from a hat to a beer bottle to a football, a Nerf football. It was different. It was something I had never seen before. I'll leave it at that." The public address announcer at the Metrodome warned to fans that if objects continued to be thrown on the field, it would lead to the Twins forfeiting the game. After approximately a five-minute delay with the PA announcer pleading to fans to calm things down, Guillen finally sent his club back on the field and the game was resumed. Despite the seriousness of the incident at the time, both sides could laugh a little about it Gardenhire's tantrum. "I knew Gardy was going to throw his hat eventually," said White Sox catcher and former Twin A.J. Pierzynski. "That's his go-to move. He usually doesn't kick it. That was kind of entertaining."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.